2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 1-9
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM-10:45 AM

GEOPHOTOGRAPHY AS A SUBFIELD WITHIN THE GEOSCIENCES

MAGLOUGHLIN, J.F., Department of Geosciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, jerrym@cnr.colostate.edu

Although good reasons exist to be conservative about designating subfields of a scientific discipline, the recognition and designation of ‘geophotography’ is long overdue, in part because the naming and delineation of a subfield helps promote the sharing of best practices and the recognition of and solution to commonly faced problems. In the geosciences, photography has long been, arguably, the most important means by which information is recorded and shared, other than the written word itself. Nevertheless, rarely is any training afforded or forethought given to the photography of geologic features and processes. By analogy to the field of astrophotography, ‘geophotography’ is some 150 years overdue.

Reasons for recognizing and fostering the subfield of geophotography include 1) geoscientists visit and study earth’s most spectacular features, but are commonly disappointed by their photographs; 2) the explosion in the variety and capability of photographic equipment, techniques, and software has in many ways made it more challenging to obtain the highest quality results; 3) the rapid development of techniques that produce images or sets of images similar to photographs, which presently share no common umbrella; and 4) identification and promotion of techniques and equipment specific to geophotographers.

I propose this initial definition: Geophotography involves realistic recording (commonly using visible light, UV, or IR radiation) and processing of images of geologic features and processes or their experimental equivalents, motivated by a scientific understanding or question, in order to accomplish a specific, useful goal. Thus, the geophotographer has some scientific understanding of (or at least a question about) the subject, a specific reason for the exercise (research, education, or sharing with the public), and captures and processes the image in a way that does not significantly alter the realism of the image.

Many existing practices and techniques can be collected under the rubric of geophotography: mineral specimen photography, photogrammetry, repeat photography, time-lapse photography, photomicroscopy, panorama photography, field geophotography, paleontological photography, etc.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 1
Geoscience Education I: Field and Place Based Approaches to Geoscience Education
Minneapolis Convention Center: Room 208AB
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, 9 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 25

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