This is only a quick post, just as a warning. Some time ago I wrote a post about a website called Alihashop which turned out to be a big scam.
The “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” is a fairly solid motto to live by, so please do keep an eye out for these kind of things.
This morning I was checking my site and site statistics and my eye fell on a Google ad for Admreshop. Not putting the actual link up, so they won’t get any Google rating boost from me, but it’s a .com site, so if you’re curious you can check it out. DON’T BUY FROM THERE THOUGH!!!
The first thing I saw was an ad for Nikon D700, for only €780. Too good to be true, yeah? Second thing I saw was that the layout of the pages were EXACTLY the same as those from the Alihashop I remember. Dubious, yeah?
I bet if you go through the order process you’ll find that you can pay only by money transfer or Western Union. Dodgy, yeah?
I haven’t kept track of IP numbers or domain registries, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the registrar / company behind the domain name is the same.
I’m not totally happy that these kind of sites appear next to my blog in the advertising space, but unfortunately I have no say in what Google shows in their ad space. And you can’t of course blame Google (not completely, at least), because these sites are paying customers and it’s impossible for Google to check everything.
But with your own common sense you get a long way, so if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
In addition to the previous post in this blog I also wrote NG a mail in which I noted this particular picture. To be honest I hadn’t really expected any reply to it, so I was positively surprised when I found not one, but TWO mails in my inbox this evening (GMT+2). One from Public Relations (see below) and one from Chief Researcher Marilyn Terrel (see her two comments in the previous post).
They both basically had the same content:
I read your blog post about the National Geographic photoshop story. I work with National Geographic wanted to provide you with the official statement on the matter:
The International Photography Contest from National Geographic has sparked unparalleled interest from photographers around the world, with some 220,000 submissions this year worldwide. The rules of the competition clearly state that no altered images can be submitted. It has come to our attention that one of the Viewers’ Choice Award winners of the English-language competition might be an altered image. When we asked our panel of photography experts to review it, they believed it to be questionable. To give the photographer the benefit of the doubt, we asked him to send us the source negative, which we have not yet received. For now, we will remove the image from the Web site until the matter is resolved.
Here’s a link to Rob Covey’s blog post on the issue as well. Rob is SVP of Content Development and Design, National Geographic Digital Media.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
So… It’s gone… For now.
Until the photographer can dig up the original negative or the original RAW file.
Let’s see. I’m gonna be kept posted (or so they said), so maybe this will be continued.
So there I was, paging through the winners of the 2008 National Geographic photography contest and when I came across this one I started wondering…
National Geographic Places winner
Something just wasn’t right, but it took me a while to put my finger on it. And then it struck me: the reflection is not a reflection. The clouds continue in the water, they don’t reflect in the water!
Here’s a reputable institute like National Geographic, organizing a yearly reputable Photography contest with reputable photographers as participants and judges. And they allow a photograph made in Photoshop to win a category? How wrong is that really?
The photographer just shot a picture of a sky (I hope, at least, pictures of a sky are so easy to come by through other means these days, I surely hope he won’t be caught on both cheating AND copyright infringement…) and a picture of some water with some boats on it and combined them in Photoshop.
It’s a gorgeous image, you have to give him that, but National Geographic should never have allowed this to go through in this category. As per their rules for entry:
Minor burning, dodging and/or color correction is acceptable. Hand tinting is acceptable, as is cropping. Fish-eye lenses are acceptable. High dynamic range images (HDRI) and stitched panoramas are acceptable only if the combined parts are all made around the same time. For more information, please read Director of Photography David Griffin’s comments on image manipulation. Any changes to the original Photograph not itemized here are unacceptable and will render the Photograph ineligible for a prize.