How to deflate a ‘hippo’ in 5 easy steps!

Recently, I was served up a plate of irony-flavoured humble pie which had me looking quite the hypocrite. These are the five steps which occurred which you may take note of in order to avoid the same situation.

Step 1: Make a frivolous post on facebook about how you think someone else may have directly copied your composition in an image. Poke plenty of fun at the vanishingly small possibility that the so called copycat may have done it purely by chance.

(See facebook status update from September 28)

Step 2: Post an image with a story indicating just how awesomely innovative and original you were in achieving ‘your’ shot from a commonly shot location. The description as follows :

“This is the classic view of Mount Cook from Peter’s Lookout about 30km from the national park. On this morning, I was hoping to capture some car trails in one composition but there were no cars driving by at this hour! I had taken my desired composition from the centre of the road but knew that it would be too dangerous to be taking light trail images from that position. I moved everything to a traffic island in the slip lane and set the camera up for 1 minute exposure time lapse sequences. Then, it was a question of synching with my watch so that I could drive by at the right speed (which ended up being 60km/h) to maximise my lights in the frame but end up just out frame at either end. In the end, I was lucky to get this on the first go and took many more frames with changing light as the clear dawn approached. I hope you like this result which is a blend of three images (one without the cars, one with the car approaching , one with the car departing)”

Winding to Aoraki

2b :Post the image on multiple social media platforms with the same caption too.

Step 3: Have it pointed out that someone else has potentially shot the same scene in the same way! Even the title of the image is almost the same! Even the description of how it was shot was almost the same!!! Start feeling like a hippo.

Road to Mt Cook

Step 4: Look at the image in question and realise that a) it looks like you’ve pretty much ripped off the concept and execution from that person b) at some stage you’ve even liked and faved the image on 500px so you must have seen it before or done it during a button clicking frenzy ….c) realise that the image in question is from a high profile shooter , none other than Elia Locardi! d) you are now possibly the biggest, fattest hippo that might be found in the southern hemisphere.

Elia’s link to capture and processing

Step 5: Contact Elia in embarrassment but fortunately, Elia is a complete and utter champion about the whole incident and it’s all water under the bridge. Big fat hippo deflated, phew!

So here’s my take on the theme of ‘comp stomping’. With the number of images online being displayed these days, photographers with a high profile can almost expect that some of their photographs containing unique compositions and locations will be attempted by others. While in many cases, the act is a direct attempt to copy, in many instances stars will simply align and two (or more ) photographers may well spot the same composition from a same scene and record the scene in a similar fashion. In this instance, it was pretty much a freak occurrence since I had only arrived at this spot after a preferred location failed. I started shooting here without any preconceived ideas but when shooting the scene as a light trail scene entered the equation, I subsequently noted almost the same obstacles as Elia which needed to be overcome in the same manner! So if you ever suspect a comp-stomp moment, perhaps take the chance to reflect upon whether it may be by chance and what it would gain to ‘call out’ the alleged copycat even if you think it was an attempt to recreate ‘your’ photograph. Remember, there is no copyright on composition and you should probably have enough faith in your ability that the scene was impactful enough for people to even attempt a repeat.  If you’re on the other side, perhaps a little credit to the photographer with the original idea might not hurt . Big thanks to Elia for being such a pro about this and to the person who pointed out Elia’s shot who would probably rather remain anonymous in this context! I am now back to being skinny 60kg me rather than a two tonne hypocrite.


Another image from that morning : (which by the way , was inspired by an old Kah Kit Yoong shot!)

Shot from the middle of the road


Posted on October 5, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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