Can two photographers take the same identical picture?

Huntington Beach Katin Pro-Am 2011Can two photographers take the same identical picture? What if the subject being photographed is moving? The answer is yes.

In January of this year, the Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge surfing competition was going on in Huntington Beach. On the Friday of the event, I was photographing the competitors from the north side of the HB Pier for a new website I was starting called OCSurfPix.com. The weather was gloomy but that didn’t stop the surfers from doing their thing, nor did it stop me from capturing some good photos of the event.

A few days after the competition I did a google image search to see some of the photos taken by other photographers. Then I saw it, an image that looked a lot like my photo, in fact it seemed identical. For a second or two I was upset, thinking someone had stolen my image! I followed the link and it was part of a photo gallery on the OCWeekly website, (a local weekly publication in my area).  I figured an established weekly publication wasn’t going to bother and take an image from a small site like mine, so I started to compare the images.

We’ve all seen identical pictures taken by different people, but its normally a building or location, not something that has so much motion. In surfing, everything is constantly changing, the waves, the color of water, the surfboard and of course the surfer. So how can two photographers capture the exact same moment in time? My image is the one shown above, with the OC Surf Pix watermark on it. The identical image on the OCWeekly site can be found below.

After further inspection of the images, especially the tip of the surfboard, one can see that they are indeed two different images captured only milliseconds apart. The other photographer, Chasen Marshall from the OCWeekly, must have been right next to me on the pier.

I don’t know Chasen, nor what camera/lens he was using. An interesting comparison would be the lens and camera settings used to take both images. My gear that day was the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon 80-200mm 2.8D AF-ED lens, image shot at ISO-400, 1/1600s, f/5.6 and a focal length of 155mm (233mm on my DX D7000 body).

Chasen is a very good surf photographer and writer, he has his own site called Keep Chasen, plus he writes for the OCWeekly.

3 thoughts on “Can two photographers take the same identical picture?

  • avatar
    August 25, 2011 at 3:21 am
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    Just stumbled on this post. Pretty wild coincidence. I promise you on all that is good and holy that I didn’t rip off your photo. We must have been side-by-side or very near by one another. I was shooting with a Canon EOS 40D, a 300mm, 1.4 fixed-length lens, and the image was shot at ISO-100, 1/1250th, f/4.0 at 1:25:11 p.m.

    Reply
    • avatar
      August 25, 2011 at 4:51 am
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      Yes it was a complete coincidence, there were many photographers there, we must have been shooting right next to each other at this exact time. Pretty cool I think!

      Reply
    • avatar
      August 25, 2011 at 4:51 am
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      Yes it was a complete coincidence, there were many photographers there, we must have been shooting right next to each other at this exact time. Pretty cool I think!

      Reply

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