Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Is Nessie Back?





Has the Loch Ness Monster put in an appearance for the camera for the first time this year? Sceptics will scoff and believers will mull it over. I reproduce the story below which you can read here. The Sun newspaper also adds some eyewitness testimony:

I had stayed in a backpackers’ hotel and on my last night decided to go for a walk through the woods and ended up on the banks of the loch. It was lovely and at dusk. Then about half a mile away I saw this dark shape sticking up – like a neck. I thought at first it was a tree, but it was very strange. I took a picture. It was there for a couple of seconds, but when I looked back it was gone. I was shocked.

Thanks to Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register, I have more information on the event, so we can proceed a bit further. The witness, Hayley Johnson, was at the part of the bay near where the rivers Enrick and Coiltie empty into the loch at Urquhart Bay. The date was yesterday (1st May) and the time was about 8:30pm. 

The viewing conditions were good under a cloudless sky (see accompanying photograph). The length of the sighting was about 30 seconds before the object disappeared and it was about half a mile away as the Sun recounts. The camera was an iPhone 6 and she was the only person present. Hayley emphasised to Gary that the object was not there this morning when she went back to check.





But what was it? A log or a bird or something else? My inclination is not to accept a log purely down to the shape of the object. As I pointed out in a short article last month on deceiving logs, these things tend to grow in straight lines and not undertake curves as this object appears to do. I sketch a general outline below, but if it is a log, it will still be around, so let's see if anyone produces a picture. In that light, I will let this lie for a week to see what happens on that score.





This was another picture Hayley took at the time. note the log on the beach showing a rather more straight configuration.




POSTSCRIPT: Apparently this was photographed in the vicinity on the 7th May (six days later). It has a very papier-mache look to it and one wonders if an Adrian Shine type experiment is going on?




A tourist has captured an image she believes could be the famous Loch Ness Monster - the first reported sighting of the creature in eight months.

Hayley Johnson, from Manchester, noticed a strange and dark shape at dusk in Urquhart Bay, near Inverness, Scotland. 

Nessie's official recorder, Gary Campbell, had became 'worried' that there had been no sightings of her for almost a year. 

Fans from Adelaide, Australia, and Moscow, Russia, called Mr Campbell - who records every reported sighting - to voice their concerns.

The Home Office recently rejected a cheeky bid by a group of artists from Glasgow to grant the Loch Ness Monster permanent UK residency after Brexit.

But Mr Campbell, keeper of the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register, had said it had appeared Nessie had left the country already.

However today he was relieved after Ms Johnson's sighting on May Day.

The 51-year-old, from Inverness, said: 'She was taking pictures on her iPhone at dusk when she spotted a dark shape in the water, higher than the waves.

'There have been sightings of Nessie there before. This a credible sighting but is obviously unexplained.

'I was quite worried that there had been an eight month gap since the last sighting and so was the whole world it seemed. 

'I fielded calls from around the world - from Moscow, Adelaide and California, everywhere, asking what had happened to Nessie?

'I am relieved and delighted with this sighting - and so will the planet.

'Last year was a record year for the 21st Century with eight sightings and then she seemed to have disappeared.

'Nessie is seen in the winter but she's much more common in the summer - this is why it was unusual that nothing was seen after August 21.'

Mr Campbell added: 'The reason for the summer sightings is twofold - there are more people around in the summer but more importantly, there are much longer daylight hours and the weather tends to be better.'

Mr Campbell said 2016 was a 'fantastic' year for Nessie sightings - which he put down to the growth of smartphones and webcams.

He said two of the sightings were by webcam, including one from an online watcher in America.
Mr Campbell said: 'It means that there are more people than ever before are looking for Nessie - which would explain the rise in last year's sightings.

'In fact, you have to go back to 2000 when there were 11 sightings, for more appearances of Nessie.'
The last previous sighting was on August 21 when Ian Campbell, a government worker from Argyll, was cycling along the west side of the loch near Drumnadrochit.

He was with his son and a family friend when he pictured two creatures in the loch about 33 feet in length just out from the shore.

On the same day a Mr Smith, visiting the area, also saw something very similar.  

It was in 1996, Mr Campbell saw something resembling a 'mini whale' - with a black shiny back - at the south end of the loch.

He added: 'I have spent the last 21 years trying to explain it. Like most sightings I only saw it for a few seconds. When I went to record it, I found there was no register, so I started one, the following May.'

Since then Mr Campbell, a chartered accountant, has logged 1082 sightings. 

Among the most famous claimed sightings is a photograph taken in 1934 by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson.

The image was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged.





The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com


65 comments:

  1. It's a shame the article isn't more focused on the lady and what she saw and photographed. I'd say that's the real story of interest to us all, rather than the sightings register which takes up the majority of the article.

    Strange photo. I'm unsure what to make of it, and I can't work out what's what in the shape against the background. I hope we hear more from the photographer.

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  2. Looks like it could be a wild swimmer, of which there are a few in the loch these days (me being one).

    Certainly looks like one.

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  3. It's already been dismissed as a log by a group who clearly have far better eyesight than I do. However much I expand the picture I can't see enough detail to dismiss it as a log, but curiously some are able to.

    More info needed, certainly by me anyway.

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  4. Article updated based on new information.

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  5. The shape does look to me like a swimmers arm in a wetsuit and wearing gloves (as most of the swimmers have in the loch at this time of year).

    I do know people swim at that location. I've asked around and can't find anyone who was swimming at that time though, and it does seem a bit late in the evening for a dip.

    I'll be over that way later. I'll have a look and see what I can see.

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    1. Thanks, perhaps a comparison picture would be handy?

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    2. Swimming in the loch in early May? What is the current water temperature?

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  6. It does resemble a swimmers arm. I think this sighting goes down to the lady's integrity, if it was a log or a swimmer she would know, if she is honest and says it vanished and there was no log there the morning after then we could be looking at something.

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    1. Looks too thick for an arm.

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    2. Looks like the neck and head of professor Tucker's Elasmosaurus,a.k.a,the lochness monster.
      Not to be confused with the water bull,( grey photo),which also resides in the loch.

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    3. John, you could be right but I think it looks ambiguous when I expand the photo. I just don't know what it is. Certainly could be Nessie, but also might not be.

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  7. It does look like a swimmer's arm, but if it was a swimmer I'd think the eyewitness would've noticed the swimmer doing what swimmer's do - swimming!

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  8. Always nice to see and discuss new material, get a bit bored with the old surgeons photo now lol. Bit blurry this one but if the woman is bin honest it's interesting!!!

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  9. Looks pretty close to the 'shore'. Consequently seems to be about the same height as the fence posts behind, maybe 4ft? Certainly a fair bit thicker than the fence post. Judging by the background, the area is well illuminated with direct light, yet the article remains black. I don't think it's a person, even one with a darker skin than the white European.

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  10. If she was near the mouth of the Enrick, and structure in the background is the pier at Urquhart Bay, the distance would be around 1/6 of a mile rather than half. Also that's much too small a field of view to be the full image from an iPhone camera. It must be considerably cropped or use digital zoom - I don't know the limits of that, not having an iPhone.

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  11. The more I look at this photo, the more I'm convinced it's not the arm of a swimmer. The object appears too large for that. It would be great to see the original version blown up to enable maximum analysis.

    I have no doubt that the unfortunately unclear nature of the image in the published version will cause the same old negative arguments to be trotted out against it. Rather like the tired old "found footage" genre of film which is long past its sell by date, it would be good to see a fresh approach to analysing new Loch Ness images in 2017.

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  12. Something occurred to me: the shape of the object is similar to the shape of the drawing of the head-neck Tim Dinsdale briefly saw off of Foyers in 1971.

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  13. The main point this sighting highlights is to counter the assertions of some that the proliferation of mobile phone cameras should result in a positive identification of the creature if it exists. They are simply not up to the job.

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    1. Good point. Dave above estimates the object is closer to 1/6 mile than half a mile, giving us perhaps 300 meters distance - yet we can't tell if this is a swimmer, log, bird or something else!

      And this is a top of the range iPhone 6.

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    2. At the moment, camera phone sensors are too small to be able to resolve the details needed. 300m is a decent distance, and one would need a more professional camera and lens setup to make any sense of this.

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    3. I agree with this. I'd also question whether sufficient clarity will ever be possible, due to the fact that phones will always require tiny lenses, so the zoom function will always be digital.

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    4. I was about to say just the same thing. Not to mention the physical (and financial) limits of a larger sensor. The bigger the sensor, the further away the lens has to be to be able to focus, making the camera bigger. I doubt that sensors in phones will get much bigger due to this fact, combined with the prohibitive cost of larger sensors (which increase exponentially with size due to manufacturing constraints). So, we maybe have what we have and there might not be a huge leap forward in phone cameras any time soon. As long as we have a sighting within a few hundred metres at most, all will be well......

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  14. Glasgow Boy, there seems to be quite strong evidence that the object is a branch. If you take a look at the dreaded skeptical Facebook page, they've posted up a picture which does support the idea this is a piece of tree. It might be a different object, but it bears a strong resemblance to the one in this unclear photo. Sometimes hardened sceptics can get things right I suppose.

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    1. If it is the same jagged, shorter log I am looking at, I don't think it is the same object.

      The Bay is a well known source of tree debris running down from the two rivers, finding a log to photograph is almost guaranteed, especially after a wet spell.

      That doesn't mean the object is not a unusually shaped log, it's just that no one has conclusively snapped it (yet).

      The other possibility is that even iPhones are so bad at photographing objects beyond a certain distance that they are not fit for this purpose.

      Photos of friends? Great.

      Photos of grand vistas? Wonderful.

      Conclusive pictures of even everyday objects hundred of meters away? Useless.

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    2. Having looked at the "other" photo again, I think you're right Glasgow Boy. The objects in the two photos are different. The plot thickens.

      Wholeheartedly agree regarding mobile phones. I'm sure tourists take photos and videos now and then but don't go public with them due to the lack of clarity. Anyone arguing that the prevalence of phone cameras at the loch somehow strengthens the sceptical case is living in a fantasy land. They should stop basing their views on faith alone and get more scientific about things. Only the Nessie believers seem to be employing objectivity, logic and science these days. Most peculiar!

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    3. Well, clearly now that everyone has a teeny tiny camera in their pocket, Nessie will start to pop up really close for a great photo oportunity. Stands to reason.

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  15. You'd be surprised Paddy. Swimmers at that range are hard to discern which is why many use brightly coloured tow floats to help themselves be seen.

    I now don't think this is a swimmer given the range. As Roland says it seems a bit too thick to be a swimmers arm at that distance, albeit the shape fits.

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    1. If it's a swimmer RP then where's the head? And why wouldn't we get a sequence of shots showing each arm arcing out of the water as the swimmer moves progressively forward?

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  16. If it is a branch Henry we might be really clever enough to come up with something like " The Log ness monster".

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    1. I'm still confused as to why some have a daily need to "disprove Nessie". It really doesn't make any sense to me at all. I wonder if it feels like a personal victory to prove it was just a branch. It makes no difference to the overall facts of this incredible mystery either way. The presence of a branch in the loch won't bother the large creatures swimming out of view of the cameras.

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    2. I don't think sceptics like leaving things unexplained, they think it leaves a Nessie door open. Everything requires an explanation, even if it is dubious.

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  17. Henry dont read too much into that lot on the facebook page. " read it and weep followers"" is the latest off clever dick, whilst nobody has actually said they thought it was a monster lol Have you seen the arguments on there and the made up names? It really is sad but worth a visit for a giggle alone.

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    1. I did notice that stuff Gezza. Internal warring factions in the sceptical camp. Normal service for that lot in my experience. I think it's because they don't have the purpose and drive that the believers do, so there's a degree of frustration involved with them. Trying in vain to prove a negative must cause a lot of soul-searching.

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    2. Now I do like to stick it to the sceptics now and again, but you guys need to stay away from that group lest you end up like them!

      I realise their bile will wind you up and want you to put the boot in, but I prefer these comment sections to not look like a mirror image of theirs.

      Do you engage them on their own turf?

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    3. I don't personally. I'm considering it though. Do they block believers though?

      Point taken about descending to their level. In fact it's probably exactly what they're trying to achieve. I'll just focus on the positives now, and respond to the sceptics who have the nerve to post here rather than hiding away in their own group.

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  18. I dream of one day visiting Loch Ness and snapping THE photo of the LNM. :) In my opinion, this doesn't look like a swimmer. Definitely intriguing, though.

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    1. I hope this happens for you Ashley. I've made about 50 trips to the loch over the years, have twice seen something I couldn't explain. Unfortunately both times were back in the days when my girlfriend and I shared a single camera and she didn't respond quickly enough to my shouts. I have the same goal though, and that is to obtain some good footage. It's about staying positive and never quitting.

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    2. Excuse me, Ashley ... So "Huntin Henry", you've been to Loch Ness about 50 times and seen something twice? Fifty trips is quite a feat, I am not even sure Tim Dinsdale managed that.

      Given you're prsenting yourself as a dedicated monster hunter, I am sure you have no qualms about revealing your identity. Send me a Facebook friends request and we can talk. Gievn you have frequented the Sceptics Forum, that won't be difficult to find.


      Either that, or you're talking bullshit.

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    3. That's fine, just send a friend request. I use this as one technique to verify anonymous witnesses. I won't confirm the friend request and won't reveal your name.

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    4. Still waiting for that Facebook request, Huntin Henry.

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    5. You're not the only one I have asked in the past. If it's a problem for you to do this, just move on.

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  19. All these observations about camera phones are highly relevant, and they do demolish sceptical arguments. But truth be told, it's also very difficult to create decent quality films even with expensive cameras. A friend of mine called Chris was encouraged by his wife Lorna to get the very best camera in the hope of getting a game-changing film in the can. The results were rather disappointing to put it mildly. Initially he felt he'd captured something that would really make people sit up and take notice. He and his wife were over-excited at first, but after a couple of viewings we all realised it was yet another run of the mill piece of video. It's since been completely forgotten about by all. The point I'm making is that throwing money and technology at this doesn't guarantee any kind of success, the quality of the footage is dependent on several other factors, and if the ingredients for success aren't there, no amount of expensive camera technology will save the day.

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    1. Very interesting. They thought they had a game changing film, but it was crap when they looked at it? Can you put me in touch with them so I can have a look at this film and judge for myself?

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    2. At the end of the day you can throw all the money you want at this issue, but if the money isn't spent wisely and the operator is not practiced in what they're doing, you can forget it. I have worked as a fast moving event photographer, and I can tell you it takes years of practice to be able to freeze a momentary event. Clearly, the only reason I have this skill is because I practiced it. And I would say that outside the photographer world, not many people have the skill necessary to catch a fast moving, once in a lifetime image. I realise that I may not be successful either.
      If one technology push can be welcomed, that might be the advent of 4k and later 8k, video recording. 4k is significantly higher resolution than HD, which means you can take high res stills from it, and crop in a lot more than you can with HD. 8k will be another big leap forward, to approximately the resolution of 35mm film, and more than the resolution of my high end camera. So any recording at that level will be able to be investigated quite thoroughly.

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  20. What the hey...we got trump and you got the Loch Ness monster...want to trade?

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  21. Agreed about mobile phone cameras, it's like asking a Bontempi to sound like a Bosendorfer.

    However, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the LNIB have an array of state of the art optical hardware trained on the loch for many years in the 60s ?
    Results were a bit meagre if I recall.


    BTW who has the rights to this [ any ] footage, has it been lost ?

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  22. Yet another ambiguous photo that could be almost anything.It does strike me as odd that the photographic evidence in no way reflects the eyewitness testimony.Eyewitnesses tell us of 30 foot long 'upturned boats', long necks,large animals surging through the water and so on but the photographic evidence we see is predominantly vague and un-animate looking. Surely you would expect there to be greater correlation between the eyewitness testimony and what is actually presented as photographic evidence.The one exception to this is the MacNab photo which does at least look like a large animate object moving across the Loch,The only other photo in this category is the surgeon's photo and we know what became of that. I try to keep an open mind but after 80 years of being the most observed body of water on the planet the paucity of even half way convincing photographic evidence tells it's own story.

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    1. http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/concerning-mobile-phone-cameras.html

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    2. http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/the-sightings-problem.html

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    3. "Eyewitnesses tell us of 30 foot long 'upturned boats', long necks,large animals surging through the water and so on but the photographic evidence we see is predominantly vague and un-animate looking. "

      The most striking example would be the semi-recent photo taken by Joline Lin, showing a square silhouette that she described as having a "snake-like head." What she saw had nothing in common with what she photographed.

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    4. There is in fact photographic evidencce that fits eyewitness accounts - the first portion of Dinsdale's film clearly shows the upturned boat often reported, the surgeon's photo cannot be classified a fake based on the flimsy, inaccurate, Boyd story so that is still in play until proven otherwise, the Mansi photo of Champ shows both the hump back and the long neck. Among the photos I discount but many accept are the upturned boats of O'Connor and Macnab, and the "Adams" photo fits in here too. Photos that only show huge wakes are discounted altogether. Capturing any type of motion in a photo is hard enough for an amateur in the best of situations; doing so without notice, probably at great distance, is not a recipe for success; escpecially if they are using their telephone...

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    5. The Joline Lin picture is certainly nothing to write home about. Even if it was a large creature, it would be at best inconclusive.

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    6. What is your opinion on her description versus the object in the photo?

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    7. hopkarma - I agree that the Boyd story re The Surgeon's Photo is flimsy and I have grave doubts about the 'submarine story' but, for different reasons, I still am convinced it is a fake - check out my YouTube video 'Loch Ness Monster - Surgeon's photo - real or fake?' on my TYSONGREER channel https://youtu.be/-XqaB7__NwY and see what you think.As for the MacNab photo I'm inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt as I've yet to hear a convincing argument as to how it was faked and it certainly does not look like a wave to me.I only wish there were more photos like it.

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    8. I watched your video David - interesting theory, but I don't know it really fits all that well. Why do you think Wilson did not want/was not interested in the other photograph? I've never really heard it described that way before. One thing regarding the amount of fish in the loch - there are several ways of "counting" fish in a lake/loch, but regardless which one you use the "Nessie Consumption Factor" is always looked at this way: "There are x number of fish in the loch, and that is not enough to sustain a population, even a small one, of large fish predators". That is pretty close to it, right? One problem with this line of thinking - they are starting from zero Nessies. But there already is a small population of fish predators in the loch (well, maybe. This is for the sake of discussion), and what we are counting is the number of fish that remain in the loch with them. One more thing on fish and your point about surfacing - it has been established that there is in fact a deep water layer of fish in Loch Ness - I want to say arctic char or something - so they do not have to surface to eat. Other than that, just hold those photos up a bit longer; even knowing all of them it was bit hard to see them as you flashed them so fast...

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  23. David, while I agree with your basic point the idea that Loch Ness has been for 80 years the most observed body of water on the face of the planet is, to say the least, an overstatement. The LNI's decade of photosurveillance work was seasonal and weather-dependent. The mobile camera units didn't go out on days when the weather was bad, and the main rig had a panoramic but relatively limited field of view of the Loch. And Dick Raynor has stated on his site that long-range photography is inadequate to solve the mystery. The lone-wolf investigators such as Steve Feltham need to be at the right place in the right time to get a good, close-up film which comes down to pure luck. Tim Dinsdale had an opportunity to film what he described as a head-neck, but by his own admission he was caught off guard and the episode was too brief for him to capture it on film.

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    1. Serious question: how much "monster hunting" is Feltham actively engaged in?

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    2. Well, that's a good question, Erik. When his converted mobile library was on the go around the loch, I guess his monster hunting was at its peak. He is also married now, and if my wife is anything to go by, that has an effect. :)

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  24. Steve Feltham reads this blog so im hoping he will answer that question.

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  25. Article updated for another photograph taken in the area just this Sunday past.

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    1. Who took that second photo (the one in the postscript)? Weren't they able to get any closer?

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    2. Check it on Steve Feltham's facebook page:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/141086595460/

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  26. That looks like the object in the original photo unlike the other log that has been shown on other forums. Case dismissed!

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  27. Not that I think the original photo shows much to get excited about - Six days later? No one noticed that for six days? Six days would be enough time for someone to make that and take a picture of it, though...

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  28. "As for the MacNab photo I'm inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt as I've yet to hear a convincing argument as to how it was faked and it certainly does not look like a wave to me"

    Easy in this age of photoshop and stuff, but still, not that difficult in the 1950s for a dedicated amateur darkroom faker.
    Take a snap of Urquhart Castle, develop neg, make large print of neg, draw or adhere cut-outs of " humps " on the print, take snap of print, develop second neg, make print of second neg, and presto-hey, Nessie is bad in the news.

    It's not that difficult, while the McNab fake is not bad, the " humps " are way too big and unfeasibly black, plus there is the sticky problem of there being more than one version of the snap.

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