Earth Day Encore Episode - The Ethics of Landscape Photography: The B&H Photography Podcast


(This episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was originally published on January 20, 2017.)

We are living in a Golden Age of landscape photography. Digital cameras and improved software enable the kind of imaging that, until recently, was only possible via the budgets of large publications and the talents and ambitions of a few select photographers. Ambition and talent remain, and with enhanced dynamic range and color algorithms, higher sensitivity settings, simplified stitching and compositing software, and a network of websites to display work, impressive landscape photography is abundant. However, there are new masters, and the skill set of current practitioners includes not only those of the photographer, but also of the savvy digital graphic artist.

With the ability to pull details from shadows, augment colors, and combine distinct files into a single image now being easier than ever, we must ask—is it acceptable to represent nature without natural characteristics, to merge photos from different focal lengths into one image, or add a blazing sunset to a foreground taken hours or days apart? Can images composed in such a way even be defined as photography and does an ethos, akin to that in photojournalism, apply to nature photography?

These are some of the questions we pose to two incredible landscape photographers, Adam Burton and Ryan Dyar. We spoke with them separately, but prepared a similar set of questions, and asked them to walk us through their in-camera workflow and post-process techniques. We spoke about their approach to a scene, their use of “grad-filters” and plug-ins, acceptable degrees of enhancement, and strove to understand if there is indeed an ethical aspect to landscape photography.

Guests:  Ryan Dyar and Adam Burton

Above photograph © Ryan Dyar

Photograph © Adam Burton
Photograph © Adam Burton
Photograph © Ryan Dyar
Photograph © Ryan Dyar

Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner