National Geographic is receiving criticism online after posting images of some of the world’s oldest trees under the stars. One of the photos featured within the gallery is being called fake, namely due to a number of the stars in the Milky Way appearing to have been cloned.
An article posted on April 26th to the Nat Geo website includes images by photographer Beth Moon. Featured, are some of the oldest trees in existence. The photos are part of a project titled Diamond Nights. The description reads as follows:
For Diamond Nights, Moon made the transition from film photography to digital capture. It’s a more light-sensitive technique, she says, and results in incredibly vivid images. Planning all her shoots around moonless nights, she wanted each tree to be primarily bathed in starlight, with additional glow from flashlights, for example, as necessary.
Because of the dark conditions, Moon set her camera on a slow shutter speed. This meant standing by for wind, and pausing during gusts. “With a 30-second exposure you don’t want the branches shaking,” she says. “So there was a lot of downtime.”
The post was well-received on social media too, with the Facebook post acquiring over 23,000 likes. But one image, captioned “Baobab trees are silhouetted against the Milky Way galaxy in Botswana,” has been the subjective of much criticism.
Despite being presented as long exposures, it appears a portion of the image was cloned, so as to enhance the number of stars, and create a false Milky Way.
Neither National Geographic nor Moon have commented at the time of writing.