Saturday, 20 June 2020

Is this a new photo of the Loch Ness Monster?




A week ago on the Facebook group, Anomalous Universe, a photograph purporting to be of a strange object in Loch Ness was posted by a person from the south of England. The group was founded by fellow cryptid believer, Steve Patrick Carrington and the thread that started this can be found here. The person added the comment "Took this in Loch Ness last September but I don't know what kind of fish it is" to this intriguing image. A zoom in on the object raises an eyebrow.




What we see is a large hump like object making its way up the loch past Urquhart Castle. Naturally, people started to ask questions and making comments. The CGI comments came in to which the person said "No it's just a fish but not sure what sort. Love the idea of cgi but I'm not that good at it... Lol". I chipped in and asked him if had taken any other photos in a sequence to which he said yes and I requested to see them. I got those by email four days later as he said he was away from home in Devon looking after his mum. There were two taken before the image with the object and one after as shown below. These extra images also led to another thread.







The photographer added he was on the wall at the castle and the object was only there momentarily and it was a fluke shot. There were "loads of other tourists" there as well as his brother, but he says his brother saw nothing or the tourists. He says the picture was taken on either the 15th or 16th September 2019 and estimated it was 30 feet away and about 8 feet long and could even be a catfish. All in all, the potential for a great photo, but as we have learned in the past, a probation period had to be initiated. So I first found out more about our photographer and discovered on his LinkedIn page that he was a 3D graphical artist and he had a portfolio of images of various constructions such as the one below. To be clear, he earns a living creating CGI - computer generated images.




Naturally, this raised a big red flag and I put it to him that this monster picture would not look out of place in his CGI portfolio, to which he said "I didn't say I didn't do cgi I just said that I'm not that good. The photo is genuine and it was taken at Loch ness last September. Will happily show you the rest of the images when I get home next week". Well, if he makes a living from this, he must have some skill in the matter. So let's get on with some analysis.

I asked him to email me the original images from the SD card and was sent some jpeg images of about 1Mb in size each. That was curious as I expect any half decent camera to deliver images a lot bigger than that for size. I ran a jpeg quality check which came out at 80% which is too low. It should be near 100% for a virgin image. In general, when a jpeg image is opened and saved in an application, this leads to a degradation in quality each time.

Nevertheless, I extracted the EXIF data which is metadata describing parameters such as camera type, aperture, resolution, exposure time, etc. It was taken with a Sigma SD1 Merrill, which is a decent camera which came out about nine years ago. It can take images up to 45Mb in size or as low as 1Mb, but I doubt that was the default setting. However, the EXIF also said the image had been through Adobe Photoshop version 21.1 for the Macintosh. Moreover, the date of the photo was created was January 1st 2011, not September 2019, though this could be explained as the factory reset date if the date was never manually set.

However, there was also a modify date of the 16th June, which was suspicious. So, I raised this matter with him suggesting this image was not the original file. He replied that the image file had been opened by Photoshop and then saved as a jpeg file, the original files were too big to send by email. That being said, a day or so later he sent links to download some larger files in TIFF format which he said were from the original card and were bigger at about 15Mb each.

This presented a problem to me as the specification for the Sigma SD1 Merrill camera does not list TIFF as a native format. It produces images in only one of two formats, raw format or the smaller jpeg format. As an explanation, raw format is a kind of digital equivalent of an undeveloped frame on a silver nitrate film. All the information is there, but it is "raw" and is not processed for human viewing. The jpeg format is there to provide a human viewable image in the camera display, such as one might use for reviewing images for deletion or retention.

In fact, Sigma uses the raw "x3f" format to store its images. I replied to the photographer on the 18th June pointing out this problem and will consider any reply I get on this matter. Meantime, I extracted the EXIF metadata from the TIFF image and compared it against the JPEG metadata. The TIFF data said it had also gone through Photoshop as well, not what is to be expected of an original SD card image. Indeed, the "History Parameter" field of the EXIFs revealed more. The JPEG list was:

History Parameters from image/jpeg to application/vnd.adobe.photoshop, converted from image/jpeg to application/vnd.adobe.photoshop, from application/vnd.adobe.photoshop to image/jpeg, converted from application/vnd.adobe.photoshop to image/jpeg

While the TIFF parameter was:

History Parameters from image/jpeg to application/vnd.adobe.photoshop, converted from image/jpeg to application/vnd.adobe.photoshop, from application/vnd.adobe.photoshop to image/jpeg, converted from application/vnd.adobe.photoshop to image/jpeg, from image/jpeg to image/tiff, converted from image/jpeg to image/tiff

In other words, the TIFF file had the same history but had an extra stage at the end - converted from jpeg to tiff. Other parameters such as "History Software Agent" and "History When" also demonstrated this TIFF image was likely just an upscaled image derived from the JPEG via Photoshop. By upscaling, I mean an image that is converted to a larger file size, but without any additional information being added. Indeed, when the 1Mb JPEG and 15Mb TIFF files are zoomed in, there is no visual difference in the images, suggesting a zero-information upscale as shown below (jpeg first):







I could have performed further analysis, but at this stage, there are discrepancies which need to be answered first and which currently render this photograph unusable as evidence for a large creature in Loch Ness. However, I am in still in communication with the photographer about the issues raised.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com









48 comments:

  1. Hopefully this will prove to a legit photo, but if true, Nessie looks like a really big fish!
    Either that, or some type of strange whale looking beast!

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  2. That's very clearly a grey wale

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  3. It is a fake for sure.
    it is an absolute fraud. look at the outline between the water and the animal. the gradient is lousy

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  4. He was right, he's not that good at CGI.

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  5. Can clearly see the blending, I'm no good with photoshop but have a good eye for it, I was a video encoder back in the day so I know how filters work ��

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  6. I'm on the fence here..hopeful but on the fence

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  7. Ok,I'd like to strike my last comment from the record,If this photo is a fake I think the perpertrator probably got the idea after seeing all the evidence that suggest Nessie maybe a giant salamander because in my opinion that's what the animal in the photo looks like as far as the general shape and coloration goes....was very happy to see this post on your blog GB and am anxiously awaiting the next one,keep up the great work..

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  8. As a photographer/Photoshop artist (and not a professional one) I would say this photo is fake. I zoomed in and the blurring at the bottom of the object looks weird and off. Also looks as if there was some serious blending going on between the back of the object and the water behind it. I'd also like to point out that there is no V shaped wake, nor is there a hint of this object in any of the other pictures. Photographers usually take more than one photo in a matter of seconds. Especially if the subject is of water, you need a fast shutter speed to freeze moving water. Meaning if this were real, there should be at least a hint of the object in the before and after photos.

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    1. If your camera is fast enough at taking the photo, rather than just the shutter speed. Many photographers just have their cameras left to the default half press focus / shutter, which is inefficient for quick shooting, since the camera tries to focus every time you shoot. Apparently this camera has an extremely slow card writing speed, and it's fps shooting rate was tested at about 4 fps rather than the stated 5.

      Having said all that, I could have done much better with my old SLR which was rated at 3.5 fps, and I certainly would have been prepared for quick shooting at Ness. And I think the discrepancies Roland has pointed out with the file sizes etc are enough to cause major concern.

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    2. You do make a great point. I have a nice DSLR, so I usually take a few photos in a matter of seconds. But I'm not a professional like I stated before.

      Anyway, I agree with you. Something is not right here.

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  9. In my opinion this is fake. You can clearly see the blending of two pictures, one being the water and the other being the 'animal'. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions and what they think is true or fake. I would love it to be true!!! Hope everyone is doing well.

    A.R

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  10. Good afternoon Roland,
    A friend has asked me to cast an eye over the latest post on your site, this one.
    I have been aware of this photo for a few weeks now, I had examined it and like most people dismissed it as yet another photoshop fake, I have received a few in recent months, I think lockdown may have given some people a bit too much spare time.
    So, I left it there and moved on from this photo... until this afternoon.
    Having read most of what you have to say about it, and all of the comments here, I notice that nobody seems to have pointed out one damning piece of photographic evidence that is clear as day when you look at all 4 photographs.
    It is clear that they are all taken in quite quick succession, all showing the same wake.
    Please look closely at the 4th photo.
    You can easily see the 'wake' continuing off up the loch into the distance, ahead of where the object is supposed to have surfaced this should not be there.
    And yet, in the main photo, taken seconds earlier there is no white wake stretching away towards Inverness.
    The 4th picture clearly shows the disturbance for what it is, that natural phenomena we see all the time on the surface of the loch.
    He has been careful enough to paint it out on the main picture but not on the last one.
    Good old photoshop.
    Your welcome.

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  12. As someone with an Honours degree in animation and a Masters in film who works in the film industry this is flat out a fake and a pretty dreadful one. But apart from the visuals, which I'm not even gonna bother to address: who on earth takes a photo of a large creature in Loch Ness and doesn't immediately publish it? Or pretends to be unsure about what they might have captured?

    For someone who takes the mystery seriously, whether it's real or not, poor, untalented fakers like this are pretty easy to dislike. If you're gonna take the mince out of a subject I enjoy I will quite happily give a professional point by point outline of why your fakery is awful... except that Roland has already quite expertly done this without even having to address the image itself.

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  13. It looks a Ee-normous pink salmon!!

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  14. Skipping the detailed analysis, as most have already done. I'll go with my gut feeling. As to the proposition: A big fat NO! Looks too good to be true. Or is it too fake to be true?

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  15. Thanks for all the info always the best place when a photo 📸 comes out of nessie appreciated fake was my first impression much luv

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  16. This reminds me of the feeling I get when I watch slightly off CGI in a movie. It ruins the immersive experience.

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  17. I recently have seen this on facebook and it immediately struck me as a photoshop fake. Decent if this is for an elementary school project or perhaps a party invitation gag image.

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  18. it could not more obviously be a seal's back surely?? that's what they look like swimming around Inchcolm island, and that's what the guy said a fish or a seal. seals have been known to appear in the loch. like this with the back breaking the water: https://theecologist.org/sites/default/files/styles/inline_l/public/NG_media/393271.jpg?itok=83GJtM54

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    1. I did consider seals which can have mottled skin, but the shape of the object doesn't look seal like to me.

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  19. I'll go along with "fake" for now, but can you see a hint of flippers, fore and aft, just below the surface on the near side?

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    1. I'm glad someone mentioned that...thought I was seeing things!

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    2. Yes I kinda noticed this also in the closeup. Could be just a wave effect. Look at the wide shot and you'll see a similar pattern in the surrounding waves. Looks like whoever photo shopped this placed the “Nessie” over a wave.

      I hate to say this, but aren't we just seeing what we wish or want to see?

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  20. I've aligned all of the images with Photoshop photomerge into one panorama and I think it's most likely fake.

    The foam seem to be moving in a logical way, so it could be done with Houdini or most likely Blender + Mantaflow or Flip Fluids simulation. Similar to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyfMQ6RX6nA

    So I thing the foam is generated and the object is most likely seal (which can have exactly that kind of dots) that is added in Photoshop.

    https://primamedia.gcdn.co/f/main/1412/1411813.jpg?fc1343eb77f8f9005855affecc72fe29

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Arman.

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    2. It wouldn't be mantaflow. Mantaflow in Blender has a bug in the foam bake that locks the particles to a grid. It is really visually obvious. This would HAVE to be flip fluids plugin. That said, I have seen these sort of foam drifts on rivers behind buoys or polls. This could simply be a stationary object creating the foam pattern and he photoshopped something over it. Seems more likely as the other images don't actually have the creature in it. But on has a perfectly circular wave around a central area where the foam seems to be emanating from. It looks like it was created with the clone stamp tool.

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    3. We have now found it was an image of a catfish used, I would be interested in you guys' opinion on that:

      https://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2020/06/nailing-latest-nessie-photograph.html

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    4. Yep. The case seem to be very clear now. There is no doubt that this or image from the same catfish series were used here.

      Why I was expecting Blender, is because the guy seem to be a 3d-artist himself. In his portfolio there is Lightwave images, so now during this corona pause, he might have used time to learn Blender tools.

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    5. Thanks, I like to hear from seasoned users of photoshop etc. We can all say "photoshop" without any of us ever having used the such programs!

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  21. The extra images that led to another thread are out of sequence with the green foliage in the bottom of the pictures.The bright green foliage in image 2 and 3 shows that the pink object could not have submerged and still viewing that same green foliage.By the time it submerged it should have passed the same green foliage in the bottom of the frame.Eoin O Faodhagain.

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  22. Well, does anyone think this is a photo of the Loch Ness Monster? I haven't finished talking and looking at the image, the door is not quite closed yet. In fact, has any image in the last 20 years been proven beyond doubt to be photoshopped and has anyone confessed to such a deed?

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    1. Ha ha! Are you serious Roland?
      7th july I disproved a photoshop photo that was sent to me, not the one you are discussing here, a different one, but taken by the same guy steve chalice, and he confessed.
      I will post the picture and the emails over on my Facebook page. I will be interested to see your response.
      Oh, and google will give you dozens of photoshop nessie images.

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    2. Not quite what I was saying. There are plenty of photoshop images on google, but how many get touted as the real thing by hucksters in the media? When people "disprove" something, it often is just their opinion rather than irrefutable evidence. Anyway, I want a debate not a show trial before we dispense with this and move on.

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    3. I note you say this on your facebook page:

      "If you are in search of someone to take your efforts seriously than can I suggest that you send this photo to Roland Watson At the loch ness mystery blog, he has much lower standards in critical analysis and may well declare your photo to be the greatest evidence hes ever seen."

      Then you add later:

      "Looks like you are getting better mileage out of your second photoshop nessie, I told you that Roland would take you much more seriously than me, I was right."

      I get the impression there is a bit of Nessie politics going on here. I have already said in this article that this photo is not suitable as Nessie evidence, so what makes you think I think it is the greatest Nessie photo ever? We should be working together on these things, not looking for opportunities to snipe. Please leave your ego at the front door when it comes to analysis, Steve.

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    4. Well said Roland, and all this off a guy who said a 3 foot fibre glass hump was the best evidence he had ever seen. Dear me you couldnt make it up.

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  23. If this is a photo of the Loch Ness Monster, when did it go to the salon and have a make over, and change its distinct black colouring to pink.

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    1. ....7th June, not july.
      Lockdown blurs the months.

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  24. The image looks like the size of a bus but no one notices it? Next....

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  25. My guess - dolphin or grey whale and bad cgi

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  26. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8451857/Tourists-photo-showing-creature-rising-water-sparks-online-claims-Nessy.html

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  27. There is a photo on Google images of a guy holding a huge cat fish. If you compare the spots on its back you can see it is the same fish. I found it by chance looking for a cat fish photo. https://www.anglersmail.co.uk/news/huge-catfish-77819

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    1. Thanks, Franco. We actually picked up on this picture a few days ago and ran with it - see article at

      https://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2020/06/nailing-latest-nessie-photograph.html

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