Calvine Photo Hoax Theories

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I'm replying to @Scaramanga 's post in the main Calvine Photo thread here as he's talking about why he feels it's a hoax. He says:

"Here is what I think gives it away as a hoax. Look at the shadows on the jet plane. It's a fifth of the size of the UFO yet has quite distinctly different shading on near side, upper side of wing, etc. Yet the UFO has absolutely no comparable shadows at all. Other than a slightly darker underside, there is absolutely nothing on the UFO to indicate from which direction the light is coming. Which is odd as the photo was actually taken just a few minutes before sunset and even in the diffuse light the plane clearly shows the light is coming from a specific direction, but the UFO does not." https://www.metabunk.org/threads/claim-original-calvine-ufo-photo.12571/page-22#post-28016

The shadows and light do seem a little odd. The UFO appears to have the light coming from roughly above with a glint on the left-hand side, assuming it's a 3D object. It's lighter on top then on the bottom:

1663808043566.png

The jet is interesting. It appears to be banking to the pilots left on its roll axis. This causes the left wing to catch the light. But if that's the case why does the right wing not also catch the light? It's as if the right wing is in shadow, but how does that work:

1663808724397.png

If the plane is being illuminated by light form above it should hit both wings, right? What is the right wing in the shadow of that makes it less reflective than the left wing? If the light is coming from behind the plane, then the right wing should be in shadow.


Here's a C130(?) making a similar bank. If anything, the right wing is brighter than the lower left wing, as is the top of the fuselage:

1663808655154.png
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
Your recreations are getting good enough that I could see adding some kind of watermark that can't be edited out. I'm just picturing someone hopping on the UFO forum here in about three years asking us to debunk the pictures you made debunking something!
 

Scaramanga

Member
I'm replying to @Scaramanga 's post in the main Calvine Photo thread here as he's talking about why he feels it's a hoax. He says:

"Here is what I think gives it away as a hoax. Look at the shadows on the jet plane. It's a fifth of the size of the UFO yet has quite distinctly different shading on near side, upper side of wing, etc. Yet the UFO has absolutely no comparable shadows at all. Other than a slightly darker underside, there is absolutely nothing on the UFO to indicate from which direction the light is coming. Which is odd as the photo was actually taken just a few minutes before sunset and even in the diffuse light the plane clearly shows the light is coming from a specific direction, but the UFO does not." https://www.metabunk.org/threads/claim-original-calvine-ufo-photo.12571/page-22#post-28016

The shadows and light do seem a little odd. The UFO appears to have the light coming from roughly above with a glint on the left-hand side, assuming it's a 3D object. It's lighter on top then on the bottom:

1663808043566.png

The jet is interesting. It appears to be banking to the pilots left on its roll axis. This causes the left wing to catch the light. But if that's the case why does the right wing not also catch the light? It's as if the right wing is in shadow, but how does that work:

1663808724397.png

If the plane is being illuminated by light form above it should hit both wings, right? What is the right wing in the shadow of that makes it less reflective than the left wing? If the light is coming from behind the plane, then the right wing should be in shadow.


Here's a C130(?) making a similar bank. If anything, the right wing is brighter than the lower left wing, as is the top of the fuselage:

1663808655154.png

The 'UFO' photo was supposedly take just minutes before sunset. In fact adding just a little extra 'colour' to the photo even reveals sunset colours in the sky at bottom right of photo. Your close up of the plane even shows a hint of the sunset colour being reflected. So the plane is not being illuminated from above...at least not directly. My guess is that the sun is at about 4 o'clock ( i,e to the right ). The plane wing is reflecting the sun....but also casting a shadow on the front fuselage of the plane..and the reason the right wing is dark is because the tail plane is casting a shadow on it. That orientation of sun and plane makes most sense, in my view, of the seemingly odd shading of it. And makes the UFO shading even more odd.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
The 'UFO' photo was supposedly take just minutes before sunset. In fact adding just a little extra 'colour' to the photo even reveals sunset colours in the sky at bottom right of photo. Your close up of the plane even shows a hint of the sunset colour being reflected. So the plane is not being illuminated from above...at least not directly. My guess is that the sun is at about 4 o'clock ( i,e to the right ). The plane wing is reflecting the sun....but also casting a shadow on the front fuselage of the plane..and the reason the right wing is dark is because the tail plane is casting a shadow on it. That orientation of sun and plane makes most sense, in my view, of the seemingly odd shading of it. And makes the UFO shading even more odd.
It appears to be a heavily overcast sky/sky reflection with flat lighting, no shadows or glare to speak of at all. The "sunset colors" are just the aging of the black and white print, which was not archivally preserved.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
My guess is that the sun is at about 4 o'clock ( i,e to the right ). The plane wing is reflecting the sun....but also casting a shadow on the front fuselage of the plane..and the reason the right wing is dark is because the tail plane is casting a shadow on it. That orientation of sun and plane makes most sense, in my view, of the seemingly odd shading of it. And makes the UFO shading even more odd.
If we go with that, I would think the back 1/2 of the plane would look similar to the left wing, including the tail. I guess you could argue the left rear stabilizer (wing) is shading the tail? Also, the entire left wing seems to be in light, right up to where it meets the fuselage. In that case I would expect part of the right wing to look similar as the roll is causing it to peek up over the fuselage.

Of course, as you point out, if this is the case then the shading on the UFO doesn't seem to work.


1663871598907.png

We should also note that we're trying to learn something from a fairly low rez image. Here's the plane blown up from the scanned image I downloaded, although it still saved as a .jpg At some point it just gets hard to say what is there and what isn't:

1663872378135.png

Again, I get your saying that the front is in the shadow of the left wing and the tail is in the shadow of the rear stabilizer:

1663872566848.png
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
So the plane is not being illuminated from above...at least not directly. My guess is that the sun is at about 4 o'clock ( i,e to the right ).

As far as I recall the scenario, the two 'witnesses' are supposed to have gone north from Pitlochry (possibly from the Atholl Palace Hotel, though this has been questioned) towards Calvine (about 15 miles) then further north into the countryside beyond Calvine. They then did some poaching, or bird watching, or whatever, and at some point one of them took some photos of the jet and the mystery object.
I had assumed from this general scenario that they would have been looking out over the open highland countryside to the north of their position at the time, and not back towards the south where they had just come from. If this is correct, then the setting sun would have been somewhere to the left of their field of view, since they are looking to the north and the sun sets in the west. To be a bit more accurate, in late August in Scotland it would set somewhat to the north of west, perhaps around 10 o'clock (in direction) if they are looking due north.
I may be wrong in this assumption, and I haven't checked through all the sources to see if there is any definite claim about the direction of view. If they were looking due west, the setting sun would be slightly to their right. To get the sun (the source of light) in a 4 o'clock position they would need to be looking more-or-less due south. This would have the consequence that the jet and the object would also be to their south, and therefore closer to Calvine and other inhabited places. This would make it more likely that other people would have seen it, which is perhaps an argument against it.
 

Itsme

Active Member
It could be that we're looking at the bottom of the jet while it is banking to the right.
A bit like this picture of a Harrier in a right banking turn:
45143732.jpg
In that case, the darker wing in the Calvine photo would be the bottom of the jet's left wing. The right wing may have been 'smudged' somehow, either on the negatives or while processing the photograph.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
In that case, the darker wing in the Calvine photo would be the bottom of the jet's left wing. The right wing may have been 'smudged' somehow, either on the negatives or while processing the photograph.
Maybe, but if we put them side by side, I'm not so sure. The tail section should be much more of a V shape:

1663954662402.png1663954701436.png

Even so, it creates the same problem. Where is the light coming from to illuminate the downward wing? If it's the bottom of the right wing catching the light, then wouldn't the rest of the bottom of the plane also? It seems that if the light is hitting the underside of the right wing, then the dark front of the fuselage and tail section makes no sense:


1663955182225.png

I've often thought that, even if the person knew of a place where jets routinely made low level flights, they would have had to identify a place where those flights were also framed by the fence and trees almost perfectly, allowing room to also photograph the UFO/stealth craft. Even if the UFO is just a model hung from a tree, the placement of the jet is almost perfect. The whole thing is just too composed to be a lucky shot.

That is my main objection to the "reflection" hypothesis. That posits not only what I said above about everything being in exactly the right place by chance, but also being in the right place to reflect it in a pond or loch.

I'd be more inclined to go with a "lucky" shot of some sort, reflected or otherwise, but for the existence of the other two photos that are in essence the same as the Calvine one. Three unrelated photos of UFOs with military jets framed by foreground foliage just seems a bit of a stretch.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
I've often thought that, even if the person knew of a place where jets routinely made low level flights, they would have had to identify a place where those flights were also framed by the fence and trees almost perfectly, allowing room to also photograph the UFO/stealth craft. Even if the UFO is just a model hung from a tree, the placement of the jet is almost perfect. The whole thing is just too composed to be a lucky shot.

That is my main objection to the "reflection" hypothesis. That posits not only what I said above about everything being in exactly the right place by chance, but also being in the right place to reflect it in a pond or loch.

I'd be more inclined to go with a "lucky" shot of some sort, reflected or otherwise, but for the existence of the other two photos that are in essence the same as the Calvine one. Three unrelated photos of UFOs with military jets framed by foreground foliage just seems a bit of a stretch.
They knew about the flights. From the very first post of the very first Calvine thread about the original photograph:
When providing their witness statement, the men also recalled seeing what were believed to be RAF jets making multiple low-level passes in the area at the same time. It is still unclear whether the jets were accompanying the strange craft, or just happened to be flying through the area at the time. Calvine lies close to the only main road through that part of the Scottish Highlands, one which is a relatively busy thoroughfare even on summer evenings, and the valley it follows was a popular low-flying route for RAF aircraft. Indeed, Calvine sits in the middle of Low Flying Area 14 (LFA 14) and UAP Media UK member & aviation author Graeme Rendall recalls using various mountainside locations in the general vicinity of Calvine for low-level aviation photography back in the early 2000s.
Content from External Source
The framing is likely to be coincidentally "lucky", and indeed the other photos do not show such a composition. If you were standing above a loch with a small reflected island, you could hear the planes, and if you miss the first couple, you can just wait for the next ones, or even for the next pass as they return. Two guys with a camera who really saw what they consider to be a UFO are unlikely to be looking for other elements with which to carefully compose a shot.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I'd be more inclined to go with a "lucky" shot of some sort, reflected or otherwise, but for the existence of the other two photos that are in essence the same as the Calvine one. Three unrelated photos of UFOs with military jets framed by foreground foliage just seems a bit of a stretch.

I too personally lean towards a photography class shot ie. assignment* (i'm a natural suspicious soul) that came out better than he'd hoped, so thought he'd make some money or impress his class with how good his fake is that the newspaper printed it.
Or..could just be a lucky shot. Ive gotten some wicked cool lucky shots.

Unless the photographer comes forward, there is no way ever knowing for sure.

*My brothers photography class just a few years earlier, they only used b&w film. i dont know why. They developed their photos in class and his photos were all slightly fuzzyish. again, i dont know why.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
They knew about the flights. From the very first post of the very first Calvine thread about the original photograph:
...and the valley it follows was a popular low-flying route for RAF aircraft. Indeed, Calvine sits in the middle of Low Flying Area 14 (LFA 14) and UAP Media UK member & aviation author Graeme Rendall recalls using various mountainside locations in the general vicinity of Calvine for low-level aviation photography back in the early 2000s.
Content from External Source
https://www.uapmedia.uk/articles/calvinerevealed

Not necessarily, the story is they're out of towners so they(he) may or may not have been aware of this LFA14. I posted the MoD report below. There is no "witness statement". There is a description of what went on and how to handle the press.

Clark interviewed Linsday, the only person to talk to the witnesse(s). So, the only "witness statement" I'm aware of is Linsday's 30-year-old recollection of a 5–10-minute phone call. The video is linked below, and his part starts at 42:00. He makes no mention of them knowing they(he) were in a Low Fly Area.

Now if our photographer DID in fact know that aircraft did low training in this area and planned or stumbled upon this body of water and got everything to line up just perfectly and managed 6 shots then it likely wasn't on the day in question, Saturday August 4. Clark's research associates looked into this (bold by me):

Although the loose minute titled ‘Defensive Lines to Take’ mentioned a Harrier aircraft featuring in at least one of the images received by the MOD, tracking down which unit or air force it belonged to has presented something of a challenge. The Defence Intelligence Staff (SP)OPS Imagery Tasking Form notes stated that the “task had already been discussed with Ops 4 Sqn”. Enquiries had presumably been conducted to determine whether any RAF Harrier or Fleet Air Arm Sea Harrier aircraft were operating in the Calvine area at the time and date specified. According to the minute, no records of such jets had been located. Searches would have included looking at bookings made for LFA 14 low-level flying slots for the day in question, which were controlled by the Low-Flying Operations Squadron at RAF West Drayton. However, in practice these records were probably not 100% complete.

Some of the remaining No.4 Squadron Harrier GR.3s may have returned to Britain for exercises and low-flying training in September 1990 due to a complete ban on the latter being in force in Germany at the time. In October 2021, Graeme Rendall checked the Operations Record Books for the various front-line units operating the Harrier at the time (No.1, No.3 and No.4 Squadrons) but found no reference to any aircraft that might have been flying over Scotland on the day of the incident.

However, if the Calvine object had been a secret military aircraft, possibly either British or American, then No.4 Sqdn may not have been the best unit to contact. In 1990, the Strike Attack Operational Evaluation Unit (SAOEU) was based at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire and operated a number of Harrier GR.5 aircraft in weapons and avionics trials.

There is one further possibility: the Harrier was not British but American. Back in 1990, the US Marine Corps operated the AV-8B version of the aircraft,

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that one or more AV-8Bs were sent to Britain to support a black project operation, although the odds of this are somewhat low, given the distance involved. Carrier-based aircraft would more than likely have had to land somewhere in Britain and would invariably have set aircraft enthusiasts into a frenzy. Yet no reports of USMC Harriers appeared at that time, from Saipan or any of the other four LHAs.
Content from External Source
https://www.uapmedia.uk/articles/calvinerevealed

So, basically, they looked into the records and reasons a Harrier would have been in that area at that time and didn't come up with much, other than records may be incomplete or their preferred theory, this was all top secret so maybe any records are classified. If the records are top secret, that might make sense if it was an alien UFO or Stealth craft, but not if it's a lucky reflection.

Member Flarky has suggested that the Harrier may be a Hunter, as they were used in Scotland at the time and would look similar given the poor quality of the photo. However, if Clark's team had found records of Hunters operating in LAF14 on August 4, I think they would have mentioned it. As Flarky also pointed out, low level training would not take place on a Saturday evening.

All that being said, if it turns out to be some lucky or planned reflection photo, I'm good with that, but everything worked out just right. It was a low-level flight day. It was overcast. There was 0 wind. The flight path just happened to put the aircraft right where it needed to be in relation to the rock that happened to be perfectly triangular. However, it likely didn't happen on August 4. If that's not when the photo was taken, what else about the story is not accurate? Two young lads that wash dishes? Maybe, maybe not.

In the video below, starting at the 54:00 mark, Clark says the team "went into overdrive" looking to confirm Linsday's account in the Calvine area and couldn't find anything. That got updated in the Q&A video where Clark claims to have talked to someone that knew the photographer, but again no names. At this point everything about the photographer(s) is just second hand.

Also, of note when I went back and watched some of the video, Linsday confirms the MoD papers below, that it was a color photo. It's Proff. Robinson that says it's from B&W film, so I don't know what to make of that.

The framing is likely to be coincidentally "lucky", and indeed the other photos do not show such a composition.

I'll agree that, of the three, the Calvine is the most composed. But as you point out, that could make it more dubious. Reflection or otherwise, it appears someone is taking the time to line everything up nicely. The other two seemed to be made to look more "point and shoot". Nevertheless, they all share the same three basic elements of UFO, military aircraft and foreground foliage. Seems strange.

Right now, I guess we're all just waiting for Clark's supposed article for Fortin Times to see if any more info is presented.

The MoD papers:

1663962919936.png
1663962941520.png

The interview with Linsday starts at 42:00 in and at 54:00 Clark talks about looking around Calvine to confirm Linsday's story, with little results.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgekUVzMSCc&t=2100s
 

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