Calvine Photo Hoax Theories

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
A few more tries. This time staying simple and using a paper cutout of the UFO as suggested by @Z.W. Wolf in another thread. Shot it in cinematic mode on an iPhone so that I could vary the focus, then screen shot what seemed a couple of ok shots. Cropped them and tried 2 different filters. Top is MS photo editor with color saturation lowered and the "burn" filter. Second shot is Mac photo editor with color saturation lowered and the "grain" turned up to approximate an older picture. Original of the first one is below.

The paper model is not to my liking yet. I had some heavy black roofing paper so used that, then folded it and put some silver paint on the top half for a little contrast but didn't really seem to work. May just be that the sun is at the wrong angle and is not highlighting the top enough. May try again or switch to thin plywood as the wind is kicking up.

The big challenge is still controlling the focus. Phone cameras and most new cameras want to focus on "something". If I had a full manual camera, I think I would focus on the closer in model, making the further trees and even closer plane out of focus, then slightly de-focus the model. That would leave the model the sharpest element, but still slightly fuzzy.

CalvinePaper1burn.PNG
IMG_3856.jpeg


IMG_3860.PNG

Here's a close up of the plane from the first photo. I think it's holding up ok.



1662578823821.png
 

Mauro

Senior Member
A few more tries. This time staying simple and using a paper cutout of the UFO as suggested by @Z.W. Wolf in another thread. Shot it in cinematic mode on an iPhone so that I could vary the focus, then screen shot what seemed a couple of ok shots. Cropped them and tried 2 different filters. Top is MS photo editor with color saturation lowered and the "burn" filter. Second shot is Mac photo editor with color saturation lowered and the "grain" turned up to approximate an older picture. Original of the first one is below.

The paper model is not to my liking yet. I had some heavy black roofing paper so used that, then folded it and put some silver paint on the top half for a little contrast but didn't really seem to work. May just be that the sun is at the wrong angle and is not highlighting the top enough. May try again or switch to thin plywood as the wind is kicking up.

The big challenge is still controlling the focus. Phone cameras and most new cameras want to focus on "something". If I had a full manual camera, I think I would focus on the closer in model, making the further trees and even closer plane out of focus, then slightly de-focus the model. That would leave the model the sharpest element, but still slightly fuzzy.

CalvinePaper1burn.PNG
IMG_3856.jpeg


IMG_3860.PNG

Here's a close up of the plane from the first photo. I think it's holding up ok.



1662578823821.png
Very nice indeed!
 

Biggles79

New Member
Including this Scot!
It's nowhere near as widely spoken as Irish or Welsh. Far more so than the near-dead Cornish and a damn sight more than the extinct Cumbrian that I'd be speaking were it not for the English invasions. If you haven't already looked it up, 'an teampan' means "the temple".
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
It's nowhere near as widely spoken as Irish or Welsh. Far more so than the near-dead Cornish and a damn sight more than the extinct Cumbrian that I'd be speaking were it not for the English invasions. If you haven't already looked it up, 'an teampan' means "the temple".
Place names linger, and those who understand them can pick out Gaelic from Roman from old Norse from Saxon from Norman French, etc. (and can often map out early invasion routes and settlement practices from them). But having lived most of my life away from Scotland, all I know is that pronunciation tends to be idiosyncratic!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The big challenge is still controlling the focus. Phone cameras and most new cameras want to focus on "something". If I had a full manual camera, I think I would focus on the closer in model, making the further trees and even closer plane out of focus, then slightly de-focus the model. That would leave the model the sharpest element, but still slightly fuzzy.
There are camera apps that allow manual focus on the iPhone. I use ProCamera. $15 though.
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/procamera/id694647259
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
It's nowhere near as widely spoken as Irish or Welsh. Far more so than the near-dead Cornish and a damn sight more than the extinct Cumbrian that I'd be speaking were it not for the English invasions. If you haven't already looked it up, 'an teampan' means "the temple".

To support that statement, you'd first need to define "English". Good luck. (I'm a quarter Welsh and a quarter German (and have an Irish family name), I haven't worked out how much skin I have in this game.)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The big challenge is still controlling the focus. Phone cameras and most new cameras want to focus on "something". If I had a full manual camera, I think I would focus on the closer in model, making the further trees and even closer plane out of focus, then slightly de-focus the model. That would leave the model the sharpest element, but still slightly fuzzy.
i dont think ufo believers are gonna buy any digital camera and photo editing manipulation.
but what people need if you figure out your results (use brown packing paper super cheap to make multiple sizes, easy to fold as thin.) are distances that everything is. how far is the "fence" stand-in, how far are each tree, the plane the ufo etc.

1662651335888.png
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
i dont think ufo believers are gonna buy any digital camera and photo editing manipulation.
but what people need if you figure out your results (use brown packing paper super cheap to make multiple sizes, easy to fold as thin.) are distances that everything is. how far is the "fence" stand-in, how far are each tree, the plane the ufo etc.
As I pointed out, I'm not doing any real manipulation other than pulling the color out and adding some grain. If anything, it would be easier to do this with an old manual film camera, except for the developing. But yes, true believers will say a digital camera is cheating and could accuse me of using PhotoShop. I do include the original for anyone to look at.

As for the distances, that would be impossible without finding the exact location where the original was taken. I can give the distances I'm using to create my similar take on the original. If I can get something close, the distances could be important by showing how close everything might be even if it looks further in the photo.

To reiterate, I'm not trying to create an exact replica of the original. I'm trying to show if something similar can be created fairly simply in camera. If I can do it, then someone else certainly could have.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
A different tact with this try. Here is a B&W version and one with the color almost all striped out:

IMG_3870.jpeg
IMG_3868.jpeg

I'm liking this model so far. I thought about making something 3D, but reminded myself 1. keep it simple and 2. it's 2D photo. 3D is just an illusion, so while not being an artist, I figured I could paint some shadows on a flat cutout that might work.

I cut out an ~8" long Dimond with a little chinkaderis (tech term) at the end from some 1/8" plywood. I gave it a quick dust of metallic silver paint first. Next was a few small pieces of masking tape applied along the centerline to create the highlights. Then just covered the top half and sprayed black paint to create the shadows on the lower section, dusted the whole thing with black paint to break it up and removed the tape to reveal the highlights.

IMG_3862.jpeg
Not counting paint drying, this took about 20 minutes. Obviously, one could go into more detail drawing rivets, panels and other stuff.

My next challenge is geographic, as noted earlier, its summertime in Northern California so I'm dealing with bright, bright blue sky, not the overcast UK. Consequently, I have to compose the shot where I have a tree to hang the model from, that also has limps far enough away to frame the shot, while having some open sky and have the sun behind me. If the sun isn't shining on the model, it just becomes a silhouette.

The result is more compressed than the Calvine photo, with much less open sky, but again, at this stage I'm seeing what works.

I taped the model onto some 4 lb. Fluorocarbon fishing line that was tied to the tree above and had a 2 oz. weight hanging on it due to the wind. I had to run a second horizontal line to keep the model from spinning in the wind.

Next, I set my iPhone on a small tripod and held the piece of glass with the tiny plane on it arm's length in front of the phone. I set the phone camera to "cinematic" mode and started to record. Once recording I could get the camera to shift focus, finally settling on the green house numbers as the ideal element. This left the model slightly out of focus and the trees and plane more so. I then pulled a few screen grabs that looked like this:
Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 11.34.32 AM.png

Not wanting to include the chicken coop, I cropped next using the Mac photo editor:
Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 11.39.25 AM.png

I then tried 2 different approaches to mimic the old prints. The first I just added "grain" to 48 % which also makes the picture B&W:
Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 11.41.31 AM.png

For the other one, I de-saturated the color to -79:


Screen Shot 2022-09-08 at 11.43.34 AM.png

Here they are with the other "plane and UFO framed by trees" pictures:

1662669377601.pngIMG_3868.jpeg1662669629269.pngIMG_3870.jpeg
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My plane is a little more fuzzy for sure and the UFO is bigger, but those can be delt with. The main point is that what I did manage to accomplish, was simple and easy. It is all done in camera with common household items. Once a location is identified, set up is pretty quick and I was able to do it solo. A helper would have been great.

I think once the heat breaks this weekend, I'll scout my neighbor's property. He has a lot of barbed wire fencing, I'll just need to find a suitable tree and see what I get.
 

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JMartJr

Senior Member
My plane is a little more fuzzy for sure...
Not to back seat drive while you are doing the work, but I wonder if making the plane also a model would help. I suspect it might be closer to the camera than is the UFO... since we dont really see the horizon in the Calvine pic, I wonder if everything in that pic is pretty close to the camera.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Not to back seat drive while you are doing the work, but I wonder if making the plane also a model would help. I suspect it might be closer to the camera than is the UFO... since we dont really see the horizon in the Calvine pic, I wonder if everything in that pic is pretty close to the camera.
Point taken JMart. The problem is that the UFO model is 8" wide and ~10-12' from the camera. The plane on the glass is only 2mm wide, not much bigger than a fingernail. If I were to use a model plane and place it between the UFO model and the camera and have it sufficiently out of focus compared to the UFO, it would have to be pretty close to the camera. That would make it tiny. I can make the UFO model smaller, but I think it would still be the same problem.

The closer to the camera something is, the larger it will appear. The glass also has the advantage of making it easy to move the plane around relative to the UFO, which fits with the story of 6 negatives with the plane in different positions. Assuming the story has any validity, of course.

What I could try is hanging a plane model from the tree branches out beyond the UFO model, but I think it would end up in the same focal plane as the tree limbs, so out of focus, but not more so than the tree limbs.

Here's a quick try with the camera moved back further to make the UFO smaller in the sky. The lighting wasn't right, so the UFO is mostly a silhouette. It's cropped and color has been removed. Now the plane is getting too big, but that's as far as my arm can reach. Now if I could mount the glass on something like a tripod between the UFO and the camera, I could correct that.
IMG_3877.jpeg
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
What I could try is hanging a plane model from the tree branches out beyond the UFO model, but I think it would end up in the same focal plane as the tree limbs, so out of focus, but not more so than the tree limbs.
Maybe set it swinging a bit?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
My plane is a little more fuzzy for sure and the UFO is bigger, but those can be delt with. The main point is that what I did manage to accomplish, was simple and easy. It is all done in camera with common household items. Once a location is identified, set up is pretty quick and I was able to do it solo. A helper would have been great.
Looks like you're all set to start your own UFO channel! :p
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
1. The foliage bottom left is the sharpest focal point, then the fence drops noticeably out of focus, but the mystery object seems to be more in focus than the fence considering it is supposed to be a good distance further away.
If the UFO is in the same focal plane as the foliage, then that could explain it. The craft is much closer than it appears.

@Rory posted this section of Robinson's analysis a number of posts ago. I had thought about taking a picture of a picture or something like that as a possible way of creating the image. Obviously, one would need an actual film camera to try this as it's all about the grain. And Robinson said the fine grain was consistent across the image and consistent with XP-1, so unlikely (bold by me):

The grain in the area of the unidentified object in the centre of the image shows no break, distortion or unevenness and is continuous across the object. There is no evidence from the grain distribution around the object that the image has being collaged or constructed. The grain is continuous, in size, texture and density across the whole image suggesting that the image itself (both negative and print) has not been manipulated. The grain present in the photograph and around the unidentified object is consistent with this being a genuine recording of a scene in front of the camera.

A possible approach to disguising the collaging and construction of an image, either on the negative or print would be to rephotograph a manipulated image on a coarser grain film so that a convincing and genuine grain distribution disguises joins and artefacts of the manipulation. Whilst it is impossible to fully rule this out this would be unlikely due to the fineness and consistency of the grain in this image.

Conclusion – The film grain is consistent with the film identified (XP-1) and suggests that no negative or print based manipulation of the image has taken place and that the image is a genuine representation of a scene in front of the camera.
Content from External Source
https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/analysis-redacted-v2-pdf.53447/

However, that may no longer be the case. Robinson is now saying that it may be a regular B&W film with heavier grain (bold by me):

"Originally i thought [XP1] might be a likely choice because it was a color print. XP1 you're processing colour chemistry and then you would print it onto colour paper. It was introduced in the 1980s by Ilford and it became quite popular in the 90s because a lot of labs didn't process black and white film anymore, so this is a way of shooting black and white imagery and getting it processed in a high street lab. However, when I've done a closer analysis of the grain [it] looks much more like the grain structure of a traditional black and white film rather than the grain structure of XP1 or XP2, which is a much finer and different kind of grain. So it's looking more like a traditional film."
Content from External Source
the Disclosure Team Q&A video at 10.52 mins Andrew Robinson

So, I don't think the photo of a photo, or some sort of darkroom compositing is off the table. If, as stated, it was difficult to get B&W film developed, then either it was sent out by post, or if our guy is a dedicated B&W enthusiast, it's very possible he had his own set up at home. That opens up more possiblities.
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
I feel like this is basically another version of the "hanging from fishing line" theory, but could it be something (like a small bead, but possibly much larger) that has a hole in it on a horizontal stretch of fishing line that's tied somewhere out of frame?
Here's a detailed, neat, and extremely high-tech schematic for clarity :)
calvine.png
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
@04:21
im not good on times.
If you pause at the right moment on a YouTube video, then click on the "share" button, it will give you the link to copy. As you paused at a certain point, in the lower left-hand corner will be a box to check that says "start at 0:00" or whatever time you paused at. Check the box and copy the link to your reply. That way the video will start at the point you want people to see. Like this:

I paused at 4:22
1662776451023.png

Then I click on the share button and click the box to start at 4:22:

1662776526701.png

Then past that into your reply and the video will start at 4:22.

I assume that point is that if someone was making a hoax in 1990, the triangle prison zone from Superman 2 might be in their head?
 

purpleivan

Active Member
In this thread and others related to the Calvine photo there has been various discussion about the relative focus of the various objects seen in it. However I'm not so sure that these are as different in focus as some may believe.

One issue is that the central elements, the UFO and the plane are distant in the frame from the other objects, which makes comparison a little tricky. Another is that the plane is a lot smaller than the UFO, which I think helps give the impression that it's less focused. Yet another issue is that some are lighter and so provide a higher contrast to the light background than others, again helping the impression of being distinctly more in focus.

To help with this I pieced together a couple of images.

The image below shows the left and right ends of the UFO stuck together (A) to provide something from it that has about the same bulk as the plane. To me the two seem to be about as blurry as the other.

I then copied the plane to be closer to the other objects in the seen to make comparison easier.

Focus Comparison1.png

I then grabbed the parts of my first image where the comparisons are being made, arranged them in a row and increase size by 50% to make things a little easier to see.
Focus Comparison2.png

To my eye there is little difference in the focus of the plane relative to the ends of the UFO I stuck together (comparison A). In comparison B the plane seems to be somewhat less focused than the tree, but not dramatically so.

The plane and fence (comparison C) seem to be about the same level of focus, with the leafy fronds (comparison D) being distinctly more in focus than the plane.

The issue with making these comparisons however is that the photo is such poor quality. The scan might be a reasonable sized image (3103x2480 pixels) but other than the noise in it, it has the detail level of a much lower resoloution image. Compare the sharpness of the lettering in the 1st image with that of the objects in it and you can see just how poor it is.

I plan to have a go at making an image myself at some point soon, as I have a camera with manual zoom, however I don't have scenery similar to that in the photo nearby, so I'll have to make do with what I can find.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I plan to have a go at making an image myself at some point soon, as I have a camera with manual zoom, however I don't have scenery similar to that in the photo nearby, so I'll have to make do with what I can find.
Nice work purplivan! Looking forward to what you can create. I wouldn't worry too much about the scenery right now. The point is to see if you can create a similar "UFO with plane and foliage" in your area.

What's your take on the overall focus and noise in the print? Bad print making, as Stu Little has said, or overall noisy and poorly focused too muddy the image and hide how it was made?
 

purpleivan

Active Member
I'm not very familiar with print photography, so I don't have any comments on the noise from that perspective. As for the lack of good focus, it could be accidental (even with autofocus it's easy to have important parts of an image turn out blurry) or intentional to hide the true nature of what was photographed, no way for us to know.

One thought on the noise though, is could it be a result of a poor scan. I've not scanned many printed photo but the ones I have done (cheap scanner 15+ years ago) look quite noisy compared with the photo prints.
 

annarborhawk

New Member
Professor Simon speculates a lead fishing sinker was used:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPNLTWC-whM


Summary: Bored cooks out fishing and poaching, tired of RAF jets passing by and scaring rabbits. They cast lead fishing sinker in sky in front of jet to create hoax. Pretty speculative obviously, but he adds diamond shaped sinkers were available and used for fishing in deep Scottish lochs at the time. He provides some photos of sinkers that seem a decent fit.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Summary: Bored cooks out fishing and poaching, tired of RAF jets passing by and scaring rabbits. They cast lead fishing sinker in sky in front of jet to create hoax. Pretty speculative obviously, but he adds diamond shaped sinkers were available and used for fishing in deep Scottish lochs at the time. He provides some photos of sinkers that seem a decent fit.
I think the problem here, is that in the photo we're presented with the image is way to composed and in overcast lighting conditions. To cast a weight into the sky and have it been almost exactly horizontal in the screen at the precise area of open sky to get the plane in the background seems tenuous.

Even if the image has been heavily cropped as Stu Little claims, the relationship between the way the fence and tree limbs frame the sky with the craft near the center and the plane in the background still seems very composed.

In addition, the overcast sky would mean it might be hard to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the weight in mid flight.

Now, if they were suspending the weight from the pole and realized that in its normal vertical orientation it ended up looking like a fishing weight hanging on a pole, so found a way to turn it horizontal, that would be interesting.

I'm also leaning toward a smaller model than I originally thought. I've made a smaller one and now waiting for the wind to die down. But with a lead weight, wind isn't as big a factor. Going to have to check in me fishing stuff.
 

annarborhawk

New Member
I'm also leaning toward a smaller model than I originally thought. I've made a smaller one and now waiting for the wind to die down. But with a lead weight, wind isn't as big a factor. Going to have to check in me fishing stuff.
Agree that casting the lure in the field of the shot using a normal fishing cast from a normal casting range would be very tough.

But if I were to put a sinker on just a few feet of line and swing it underhand, I think I could quickly get good enough at it so that the sinker would stop at the horizontal before arcing back down again.

Two man job, of course.

IDK, though, it'd be a pretty contrived and awkward way to hoax a photo.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
I'd expect it'd be hard to get horizontal if it was being cast
The nice thing about fishing gear is that you are already carrying a spool of thin, hard to see line with you. Very useful for suspending things, even from multiple points if needed to get the orientation you want.

A fishing weight is pretty small, though, to make it that large in the frame it would have to be very close -- to me, that counts against the idea of casting it across the field of view. Traveling at the speed a cast weight travels at, across a short distance across the field of view close to the camera, timing starts to get a bit tricky.
 

Stingray

New Member
Casting a sinker in front of the camera is the worst theory I've heard so far.

I fish almost every week with pyramid sinkers (mostly 1 or 2oz). If they were fishing lakes and rivers the biggest sinker they'd could possibly be using is a 4oz - and that's for very heavy currents or surf fishing. Even a 4oz sinker is quite small, about 2 inches long, so they would have to cast it right in front of the camera to make it look big.

Perhaps the photographer never came out because he died of the brain injury from being hit in the head by a 4oz sinker.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The nice thing about fishing gear is that you are already carrying a spool of thin, hard to see line with you. Very useful for suspending things, even from multiple points if needed to get the orientation you want.
the sliding sinker in my screenshot should be easy to suspend horizontally, with minimal effort.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
the sliding sinker in my screenshot should be easy to suspend horizontally, with minimal effort.
Yeah, I'm going to have to check out the tackle store this weekend and see if I can find one of those. @tinkertailor suggested something similar in post #96. One protentional problem may be that the horizontal line seems to pick up the sun more than the vertical ones in my experiments. Not sure why, maybe in the horizontal mode the line is more perpendicular to the sun/sky and more easily catches the light?

In my attempts from post #90, I had to use a horizontal line to keep the model from spinning in the wind and it's visible to the right of the image going slightly downward:
1663344549922.png
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Not sure why, maybe in the horizontal mode the line is more perpendicular to the sun/sky and more easily catches the light?
maybe you can rig an umbrella or wait for an overcast day. I know magicians discuss this issue alot, maybe their forums would have some tips.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
What about a color-matched piece of sewing thread?
In a previous post I mentioned that I tried viewing and photographing a piece of white cotton thread against a grey sky. At short distances it was quite conspicuous. The problem is that even a grey sky will usually be much brighter than the thread, so it shows up as a dark silhouette regardless of its color. I had to get about 2 meters away before my white thread 'disappeared' in the photo, and it could still be 'brought back' by optical zoom. A very fine nylon thread (or a special 'magician's thread as suggested earlier by deirdre) is a better bet IMO.
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I've probably waisted way too much time and effort on this already, but it is supposed to be overcast and maybe a little rain this weekend. We'll see.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
A very fine nylon thread (or a special 'magician's thread as suggested earlier by deidre) is a better bet IMO.
well magician thread isnt invisible thread. the color and sheen vs the background, and overhead lighting, distance of the audience all effect the visibility.
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
We also have to consider the lighting: on a bright California day with full sun at noon, horizontal fishing line will most certainly reflect at the camera. However, if it's a grey drizzly Scotland day at sunset, the reflection likely won't be as visible.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Just a few tries with a smaller model. i was hoping to attempt these yesterday as it was very overcast and UK like. However, it was also very windy, so no chance. Photo is cropped and then "grain" is added in iPhoto to replicate film.

IMG_3939.jpeg

And another one with the color saturation taken to -75, so wiping almost all the color out.

IMG_3940.jpeg

Here's one in sharper focus, but again with film "grain" added to mimic the original.

IMG_3937.jpeg

The original screen grab looked something like this. I had to get the tree trunk in the frame so I could get the phone camera to focus on it. So some extensive cropping took place.
IMG_3937.PNG

The problem with adjusting the focus would not have been as big a deal on older film camera. On his blog Bad UFOS, @Robert Sheaffer points out that simple SLR cameras of the era had markings on the lens that allowed one to figure out what was in focus giving a particular f-stop setting. Instead of the camera trying to figure it out for you, the photographer would have control over what is and is not in focus based upon how far each element is from the lens.

In fact, he was using a Pentax K1000, the same camera I used back in collage and into the '90s. I had hoped to find it out in my shop somewhere, but I think I got rid of it a few years ago.

This lens helpfully has a depth-of-field indicator (center dial). If we choose f/8 for our f-stop (inner ring), we then rotate the outer focusing ring to where the "infinity" symbol is at f/8. On the other side of the center dial, we find that f/8 gives us good focus on objects as close as about 4 1/2 meters. This ensures that every object from about 4 1/2 meters to infinity will be in sharp focus. So if the camera at f/8 is focused on a nearby object, rendering distant objects out-of-focus, that means that the camera must be focused on an object about 4 meters or less distant. If f/11 is used, the depth of field extends from to 3 meters to infinity.
Content from External Source
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https://badufos.blogspot.com/
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Fantastic work Dave. If there are better Calvine recreations out there I haven't seen them. Well done!
 
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