Thursday 31 August 2023

Some Noteable Photographs from Loch Ness


I thought this week would see a general winding down from the Quest monster hunt last weekend as I wrote up my own views on the event and moved onto the next thing. But the next thing arrived rather quickly when Steve Feltham received a visit from a local by the name of Chie Kelly who said she took something like sixteen photographs of an object in Dores Bay five years earlier and the weekend hunt motivated her to come forward. The story is related by the Scottish Sun:

THE "most exciting" photographs ever of the Loch Ness Monster have been revealed after a woman too scared to show them before came forward after last weekend's massive search for Nessie. In startling images, Chie Kelly captured an unidentified large eel-like creature slowly spinning on the surface of the legendary loch.

Translator Mrs Kelly, 51, was taking photographs of the area at Dores when she and her businessman husband Scott, 68, saw a strange creature move right to left over a distance of about 100 metres. It then disappeared and never re-surfaced. Mrs Kelly was so shocked by what she saw on August 13, 2018, that she feared public ridicule and did not share the images.

But she was inspired by the biggest search for Nessie in over 50 years at the weekend, in which hundreds of volunteers took part. It was then that she plucked up the courage to show her startling photographs to veteran Nessie hunter Steve Feltham, who has set a world record for the longest vigil of looking for the Loch Ness Monster - now over 30 years long from his Dores base. He was astounded. Mrs Kelly was on holiday with her family from Ascot in Berkshire at the time of the sighting. The family have since moved to near Fortose on the Black Isle.

"My husband was originally from the Inverness area and Dores beach is a very special place to me as it is where he used to take me when we first met, We had lunch in the Dores Inn and then started walking around. I was just taking pictures with my Cannon camera of Scott and our daughter Alisa, who was then five, when about 200 metres from the shore, moving right to left at a steady speed was this creature."

"It was spinning and rolling at times. We never saw a head or neck. After a couple of minutes it just disappeared and we never saw it again. At first I wondered if it was an otter or a pair of otters or a seal, but we never saw a head and it never came up again for air. It was making this strange movement on the surface. We did not hear any sound. There were these strange shapes below the surface. I could not make out any colours - the water was dark. I could not accurately assess its length, but the two parts that were visible were less then two metres long together. I don't know what it was but it was definitely a creature - an animal."

"At the time I did not want to face public ridicule by making the photographs public. But I met Steve Feltham at the weekend and showed him the images and he said immediately that they were 'very interesting'. I have always believed there was something in Loch Ness. There is something unusual there, but I don't know what it is. What I saw looked like a serpent. It was definitely a creature and it was moving."

Mr Feltham said: "These are the most exciting surface pictures (of Nessie) I have seen. They are exactly the type of pictures I have been wanting to take for three decades. It is rare to see something so clear on the surface. They are vindication for all the people who believe there is something unexplained in Loch Ness. They are remarkable. I have studied them and still do not know what it is. We are lucky the Kellys have decided to go public at last. I have met the Kellys twice and they are absolutely genuine. I persuaded them that these pictures were so important they should make them public. They warrant further investigation. It is not driftwood - it is a moving creature and totally unexplained."

So much for the story, but the photographs I have found required more than just a cursory examination. In fact, all sixteen need to be examined in sequence. From my initial search of the Internet, I think I have found five of the sixteen photographs as newspapers and media sites take their choice of images from the agency handling Mrs Kelly's photographs. The one at the top looks to be getting the most coverage as it shows two hump like objects close together in the water. One's initial impression is that they are two rocks in shallow water, but the wider view of the photograph below suggests this is way further out into the bay.

The estimated distance given by the witness was 200 metres which on a nautical map of the loch is a depth of at least 20 to 30 feet, depending on the location. The size of the object or objects was further estimated to be 2 metres. The length of what was not visible below the surface is a matter of speculation. I do not know the precise location of the witnesses, but the distance and size of the object  could be calculated if one had an uncropped image, some camera details and the location. At this time, I do not have all the required information to do this.

The line of water disturbance to the right of the object does indeed suggest it is moving from right to left. The second of the five images I found shows a water disturbance which is further to the right than the previous image. You can line it up with the opposite shoreline to confirm this (assuming the witness did not move very far). The third image I found is (I think) an enlargement of this wider view and is shown further down showing perhaps something solid or just troubled waters. Mrs. Kelly stated the object moved about 100 metres and it was observed for two minutes which would give us an average speed of less than two miles per hour.

To this we can add another image which just shows a single hump below, though it is unclear whether the two humps are one overall object. The images going from two to one or one to two humps may suggest separate objects, but I would not dogmatic on that. Indeed, the chronological order of the images is difficult to determine at this point. I would say though that the single hump is likely the larger hump of the two hump image. 

The final two images just made me that bit more perplexed when I found them. The fourth image I found is shown below and the rough dark humps have given way to a couple of smooth lighter coloured  objects. I thought, am I looking at the same thing here? The answer would appear to be yes as I examined the testimony of the witness and the images further.

Mrs. Kelly said "It was spinning and rolling at times ..." and if you look at the first image at the top of the article you may notice that behind the rough textured humps is the hint of rounded and lighter surfaces behind them. That is certainly suggested to the left side of the larger right hump and maybe less so on the left of the other smaller hump. So perhaps there was a degree of rotation that moved the object from a smooth side to a rough side? That would seem to be the case to me and there is also a hint of this smooth and rough combination in the single hump image.

The final image I found looks again somewhat different to what gone on before and is below with a zoom into the object. One may presume again that this is another single hump image but it looks decidedly more head-like to me with that bright spot suggestive of an eye. But then again, it may merely look like head and the witness did say she did not see a head or neck, but perhaps that meant a head on top of a long neck. However, I would say that this object in view does look somewhat different in appearance to the humps.

So, all in all, these handful of the images from the larger unseen total are a fascinating collection. I suspect that the other ten or so images may not be better than these as the media do tend to pick the best ones for publication. Nevertheless, it is important to evaluate these images in the context of the whole and I appeal to Chie Kelly or her agent Peter Jolly to release the set for serious study by those on either side of the debate as to whether a monster does indeed inhabit Loch Ness.

What do I conclude from these images? Simply that what we have motivates one more to see the complete set and no final or tentative conclusions can be made without them. I used the word "humps" because that is exactly what they look like, but what could they be? A perusal of comments from readers on the Internet offered up various opinions such as waves, bin bags, otters, dogs, a sturgeon, seal, a bear, plastic debris, a deflated dinghy being towed by an out of sight boat, rocks, a lump of peat, a fake stunt by divers or just divers and, of course, the Loch Ness Monster. 

A lot of these comments were based on viewing only the picture at the top. Most can be dispensed with although the bin bags theory got quite a few mentions which reminded me of the similar explanation that Maurice Burton had offered for the 1938 Taylor film which also went through various appearances. Another set of photographs which came to mind when I saw these were the ones taken by William Jobes in 2011 which showed a rough surfaced hump but were also dismissed as flotsam and jetsam by many at the time.

In fact, William had reported seeing a horse like head and one can imagine seeing such a thing in the last photo from 2018. But I digress and further speculation is no more than that while we wait for the complete set of pictures and hopefully a number of serious people apply their minds as to possible explanations as to what is in these pictures. Certainly, one thing I checked was what was happening at the loch back in August 2018. Back then, I wrote of a claimed head and neck sighting nearby by two local women as they walked in the wooded area at Tor Point and that is documented here and occurred only three days later and perhaps only hundreds of metres from the object seen by Mrs. Kelly.

The eDNA experiment team led by Professor Neil Gemmell had been at the loch weeks before in June to collect water samples which would seem to add a twist of irony to these photographs. I am not aware of any other events, but others can inform me what else may have been going on at that time at Loch Ness.

So, something was moving down the loch against the general south westerlies blowing up the loch. It submerged, rolled, changed its aspect from rough to smooth, went from two objects to one. Was it just bin bags and plastic waste doing a good job of looking like a monster or is it the ubiquitous "photoshop" job or perhaps something more mysterious? Once I get my hands on the uncropped images, further deductions may be possible.

But I agree with Steve Feltham, if you were looking to take some monster photographs, they may look like this but I would add perhaps with that famous long neck for good measure. It is a curious coincidence that half a mile away and 90 years before this new story broke, Aldie Mackay saw her "Strange spectacle on Loch Ness" which was also one then two humps and which also perplexingly rolled in the water. If this is an animal, I do not know what to make of it.

P.S. There is also talk of a thermal drone video of an object near the opposite shore of Loch Ness. I cannot really comment on that without seeing the complete video.

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