Calvine UFO Photo - Reflection In Water Hypothesis

Robert Webb

New Member
In the mock-up they indicated an axis of reflection of the "jet", meaning it's in the water.
2022-08-14_03-47-52.jpg

It may have been someone else who suggested "man in boat" - I was assuming this was a mock-up by that person.

I don't think the reflection is symmetrical enough for a person in a boat, and the lighting being flipped seems even harder to explain in that theory.
Someone sent me the original photo and after a moment looking at it I too came up with the person in a rowboat idea. I came here to report that but see it's already been suggested. I think it's that for sure. The whole photo just makes sense once you think of it that way.

It's not just the person reflected in the water, it's also their oar I believe. Looks like they're rowing from right to left, facing backwards (to the right), with oar angled about 45 degrees down and to the right. Or possibly the oar is closer to horizontal, so we don't see it above, but we do see its reflection below.

Light being flipped? You mean their reflection is lighter whereas the island's reflection is darker? Doesn't really strike me as strange. Maybe a large island blocks more light than the small person, where light is coming around from multiple directions, ie the island casts more of a shadow in its reflection than the person. Or just happenstance of slightly different lighting at each location.

And also as someone mentioned if they're in the act of rowing then then water will have ripples in the area of the reflection, so the reflection is likely to be less distinct, and be reflecting from multiple directions since the surface isn't flat, ie reflecting more of the bright overcast sky. That's probably the most likely explanation.
 

john.phil

Member
Someone sent me the original photo and after a moment looking at it I too came up with the person in a rowboat idea.

It's not just the person reflected in the water, it's also their oar I believe. Looks like they're rowing from right to left, facing backwards (to the right), with oar angled about 45 degrees down and to the right.

Pareidolia is quite powerful. In a noisy low resolution image, it's possible to fit a bird, plane, rowing boat, a toy, or an object. We don't even know the size of the triangular object, or the size of the body of water, it could be a pebble in a puddle or an island in a lake.

Going with the man in a boat hypothesis, as you described it, the bow would be towards the left, person's back is towards the bow as expected on a rowing boat, the "wing" closer to the camera is the blurry image of the oar moving out of the water, as the person prepares to give it another stroke and their perceived posture does match the power stroke. The triangular shape at the aft end is a bit odd but it could be a backrest, the diagonal line that seems to trespass it could be a fishing rod, or a pole for pushing the boat around in the shallows and away from obstacles in the water. Even the tip of the oar seems visible where the person's hand would be.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
what we do know is that it wasn't a Harrier
Can you clarify? Are you saying that we do know it is not a Harrier (if so, how?) Or are you saying that under this scenario of it being something protruding from a body of water we know it is not a Harrier?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Can you clarify? Are you saying that we do know it is not a Harrier (if so, how?) Or are you saying that under this scenario of it being something protruding from a body of water we know it is not a Harrier?
I understood the military to say it wasn't, and what we know of circumstantial evidence also makes it look unlikely.

For most anything else, we're free to guess.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Probably more pertinent is "the relevant staffs have established that the jet is a Harrier".
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Probably more pertinent is "the relevant staffs have established that the jet is a Harrier".
but how?
what they established, given the deficiencies of the source material, that it looks more like a Harrier than any other likely aircraft

but they also established it wasn't one of theirs unless the sighting data is wrong
 

Ruan

New Member
Someone sent me the original photo and after a moment looking at it I too came up with the person in a rowboat idea. I came here to report that but see it's already been suggested. I think it's that for sure. The whole photo just makes sense once you think of it that way.

It's not just the person reflected in the water, it's also their oar I believe. Looks like they're rowing from right to left, facing backwards (to the right), with oar angled about 45 degrees down and to the right. Or possibly the oar is closer to horizontal, so we don't see it above, but we do see its reflection below.

Light being flipped? You mean their reflection is lighter whereas the island's reflection is darker? Doesn't really strike me as strange. Maybe a large island blocks more light than the small person, where light is coming around from multiple directions, ie the island casts more of a shadow in its reflection than the person. Or just happenstance of slightly different lighting at each location.

And also as someone mentioned if they're in the act of rowing then then water will have ripples in the area of the reflection, so the reflection is likely to be less distinct, and be reflecting from multiple directions since the surface isn't flat, ie reflecting more of the bright overcast sky. That's probably the most likely explanation.
Yeah I also did some research about reflection brightness and it's possible to have a reflection that's lighter than the object itself. It's got to do with the color of the water, the angle your looking at and the sun direction etc. Also a nice overcast sky can create some amazing reflections.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
no record of Harriers operating in the area at the time" to me translates as "it wasn't one" even though (if it was a plane) it looked like one
Or, if they are sure it was a Harrier, that the claimed time/date of the sighting has to be wrong.

Which is why the question of how they determined it was a Harrier is key, to me. If it was just "kinda looks like one," of course, then its value as evidence of anything drops!
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Which is why the question of how they determined it was a Harrier is key, to me. If it was just "kinda looks like one," of course, then its value as evidence of anything drops!
well, as I see it, the military have two sources of evidence:
1) the photographs
2) their records

We hear 2) was a bust, so 1) remains, and unless one of the lost photos shows the aircraft much more clearly such that markings are discernible, "looks like one" is the best this evidence can support.
 

Robert Webb

New Member
Pareidolia is quite powerful. In a noisy low resolution image, it's possible to fit a bird, plane, rowing boat, a toy, or an object. We don't even know the size of the triangular object, or the size of the body of water, it could be a pebble in a puddle or an island in a lake.

Going with the man in a boat hypothesis, as you described it, the bow would be towards the left, person's back is towards the bow as expected on a rowing boat, the "wing" closer to the camera is the blurry image of the oar moving out of the water, as the person prepares to give it another stroke and their perceived posture does match the power stroke. The triangular shape at the aft end is a bit odd but it could be a backrest, the diagonal line that seems to trespass it could be a fishing rod, or a pole for pushing the boat around in the shallows and away from obstacles in the water. Even the tip of the oar seems visible where the person's hand would be.
Well these are "UFO" photos, so pareidolia is the name of the game. A mundane pareidolia is enough to debunk an alien spacecraft one.

But I do think there's enough detail to make the rowboat the most likely answer.

Yeah I noticed the fat part at the back of the boat (on the right) and wondered what that is. I thought maybe another person, lygin down, but the boat looks too small for that. Probably just his bag with fishing stuff in it. Or do some rowboats have optional motors at the back?

One thing I wonder about is the clouds. There's no indication of them being reflected. That is, I can't find any clouds that appear to have a matching reflection. You can see them clearer if you adjust the contrast, although much is over-exposed. It's Scotland though, so maybe much of what looks like cloud could actually be fog, obscuring the horizon.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
So the theory is:
  • Someone found a place where there's an island that reflects into water to look just like a UFO
  • They either took pictures with a hoax in mind or got really lucky while taking terrible photos of nothing much
  • The water is so still that it can't be discerned as a reflection
  • Someone was in a boat but wasn't causing any disturbance to the water
  • The person in the boat looked so much like a plane that it fooled the MoD and many subsequent RAF folk who looked at it
  • There were 5 similar images where the boat was in different places but still failed to disturb the water or not look like a plane*
  • In at least one of those images there was something else that was considered by the MoD to be a second plane*
  • No one's yet recognised that island or the body of water
I mean, I could be wrong - and I can see how the mind starts to see those things in the picture - but I think I'll be brave and put all that lower on the list of probable explanations than ETs. ;)


(*Asterisked points are the ones we only know from records and accounts and kind of have to guess at.)
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
So the theory is:
  • Someone found a place where there's an island that reflects into water to look just like a UFO
  • They either took pictures with a hoax in mind or got really lucky while taking terrible photos of nothing much
  • The water is so still that it can't be discerned as a reflection
  • Someone was in a boat but wasn't causing any disturbance to the water
  • The person in the boat looked so much like a plane that it fooled the MoD and many subsequent RAF folk who looked at it
  • There were 5 similar images where the boat was in different places but still failed to disturb the water or not look like a plane*
  • In at least one of those images there was something else that was considered by the MoD to be a second plane*
  • No one's yet recognised that island or the body of water
I mean, I could be wrong - and I can see how the mind starts to see those things in the picture - but I think I'll be brave and put all that lower on the list of probable explanations than ETs. ;)


(*Asterisked points are the ones we only know from records and accounts and kind of have to guess at.)

If we would perform some kind of probability analysis on this, we would probably end up with a confidence of 1/10 Sigma. Still, the chance of it being an ET craft is infinitely small. :)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Someone found a place where there's an island that reflects into water to look just like a UFO
we do not know what a UFO looks like

remember, the one UFO that looked like this turned out to be a hoax

this also looks like a rock, a mountain poking out of clouds, a kite, and a moldy ravioli
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The water is so still that it can't be discerned as a reflection
or it is very overexposed

what sometimes happens (as we've seen repeatedly on metabunk) is that people don't notice anything strange at the time of the sighting, but find something weird when they look at the pictures later

this is, of course, a rare occurrence, but one that is often noteworthy enough to get reported (especially these days, with twitter and reddit ready to amplify)

so if these were mis-expised images of someone rowing around a lake, or an inadvertant motif that only looks like an UFO when viewed upside down, this might only have occurred to someone once the full roll of negatives had been exposed, developed, and printed; and then they might've thought, "let's see if we can get this into the local tabloid" for a lark, and dropped it once the military got involved. (this also explains the delay in getting the newspaper involved.)

this late "it looks like a UFO" thought is especially likely if it involves conflating a reflection and its source into a single object, which would not occur in the actual environment
 

Tomer

Member
I understood the military to say it wasn't, and what we know of circumstantial evidence also makes it look unlikely.

For most anything else, we're free to guess.
Ah, so the military said it wasn't, so it isn't. I thought argument from authority was looked down on here.

I think it's probably best if we leave the possibility open.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Ah, so the military said it wasn't, so it isn't. I thought argument from authority was looked down on here.
Article:
An argument from authority refers to two kinds of arguments:
  1. A non-fallacious argument from authority grounds a claim in the beliefs of one or more authoritative source(s), whose opinions are likely to be true on the relevant issue. Notably, insofar as the authorities in question are, indeed, experts on the issue in question, their opinion provides strong inductive support for the conclusion: It makes the conclusion likely to be true, not necessarily true. As such, an argument from authority can only strongly suggest what is true — not prove it.
  2. A logically fallacious argument from authority grounds a claim in the beliefs of a source that is not authoritative. Sources could be non-authoritative because of their disagreement with consensus on the issue, their non-expertise in the relevant issue, or a number of other issues.
Correct uses of argument from authority involve deferred justification: Insofar as your claim accords with what experts on the issue believes, then your claim is also supported by the evidence the experts are relying on, even if you may not yourself be aware of what that evidence in fact is.
In order to be fallacious, the argument must appeal to and treat as authoritative people who lack relevant qualifications or whose qualification is in an irrelevant field or a field that is irrelevant to the argument at hand.

In this case, the military have evidence (records) of what operations they've conducted, and if they say there's no record of Harriers being in the air at that time and place, that's a clear statement to the evidence they have, not an unfounded opinion.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
In this case, the military have evidence (records) of what operations they've conducted, and if they say there's no record of Harriers being in the air at that time and place, that's a clear statement to the evidence they have, not an unfounded opinion.
Still, they can also lie about it.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Nope.. Just wanted to point out authorities are not obliged to tell the truth.
yet they generally do, unless they have a reason not to.

the anonymous photographer of this picture is much less obligated to tell the truth than a MoD employee interacting with a newspaper—the stakes are different.
 

Robert Webb

New Member
So the theory is:
  • Someone found a place where there's an island that reflects into water to look just like a UFO
It also looks just like an island with a reflection. More so I'd say, since there are identifiable features reflected in the water, and the reflection is a darker shade.
  • They either took pictures with a hoax in mind or got really lucky while taking terrible photos of nothing much
UFO photos are almost always terrible photos of nothing much. Rarely with a hoax in mind. At least from what I've seen. Millions of photos get taken, so are terrible and can be interpreted other ways.
  • The water is so still that it can't be discerned as a reflection
Huh? If it's an island, just how rough do you expect the water to be that it would mess up the reflection? The reflection of the guy in the boat is less clear, as you'd expect because he's smaller and is causing ripples with the oar. And since when is still water an odd thing?
  • Someone was in a boat but wasn't causing any disturbance to the water
How do you conclude this? The reflection is less clear than it is for the island, and the reflection is lighter, as you'd expect if the water is rougher, since the surface would then be reflecting from multiple directions, including the bright overcast sky.
  • The person in the boat looked so much like a plane that it fooled the MoD and many subsequent RAF folk who looked at it
When you've got a hammer everything looks like a nail. When you're a pilot, probably everything looks like a plane, especially when it looks kind of like a plane to most people at first glance. And especially when most of these people were probably told what to see before they looked at it, ie "Here's a UFO photo we want you to have a look at". To me at first I saw a plane, then spent a few seconds looking and realised it was a guy in a rowboat. It looks more like a guy in a boat than a plane once you try to see it both ways. It's a small blurry photo, even when experienced pilots look at it.
It looks like a plane, but it also looks like a boat. Why should plane win?
  • There were 5 similar images where the boat was in different places but still failed to disturb the water or not look like a plane*
Meaningless if we can't see the photos. So there are others they didn't release? Why? I generally take the promise of much better but hidden evidence as evidence for the opposite.
  • In at least one of those images there was something else that was considered by the MoD to be a second plane*
Which they said was barely perceivable. I see a couple of tiny hairs on the photo we have seen. Maybe it was one of those. We have zero to go on. Again, hidden secret but supposedly much better evidence counts for nothing.
  • No one's yet recognised that island or the body of water
There's not much to go by. Lots of islands look like that. The fence and tree are probably not the same since the 90s.
I mean, I could be wrong - and I can see how the mind starts to see those things in the picture - but I think I'll be brave and put all that lower on the list of probable explanations than ETs.
No idea where you're coming from to be honest. It just looks like a reflection of an island and a guy in a rowboat to me. The whole picture makes sense in that light.

If on the other hand all we're seeing is sky, then the picture doesn't really make sense. At the bottom of the frame we appear to be looking down at the fence, yet all we see beyond it is sky? I guess it could still be water and reflections of overcast sky, along with fog maybe, and the horizon is somewhere in there below the UFO and plane. But there's just no reason to interpret it that way.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
And especially when most of these people were probably told what to see before they looked at it, ie "Here's a UFO photo we want you to have a look at"
That's a point worth thinking about. If somebody were handed that picture and told "Here is a blurry picture of an island and a rowboat," what would they see?
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
One thing I wonder about is the clouds. There's no indication of them being reflected. That is, I can't find any clouds that appear to have a matching reflection.
It may be that ALL of the cloudy sky we see is reflection. The clouds being reflected would be out of frame to the top.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Ah, so the military said it wasn't, so it isn't. I thought argument from authority was looked down on here.

Nah, the military said they thought it was a Harrier and that there were no Harriers in the area.

Most obvious conclusion there is that the photo wasn't taken in the area, with the second most obvious conclusion being that the military identification was wrong.

If it's an island, just how rough do you expect the water to be that it would mess up the reflection? The reflection of the guy in the boat is less clear, as you'd expect because he's smaller and is causing ripples with the oar. And since when is still water an odd thing?

What I've noticed is that it's incredibly difficult to find reflection photos taken on Scottish waters where you can't tell it's a reflection. Not impossible - but there's certainly been a conspicuous absence of examples posted in this thread.

To me at first I saw a plane, then spent a few seconds looking and realised it was a guy in a rowboat.

That sounds like you're 100% confident that it's a guy in a rowboat.

Meaningless if we can't see the photos. So there are others they didn't release? Why?

1. It's not meaningless because we've heard from people who have seen them and the MoD conclusions were based on all six.
2. They didn't release any. And as far as we know they no longer have any of them.

Lots of islands look like that.

Then it should be easy to post a picture of one that looks like that. I've seen a few suggestions - people even declaring they've found the rock (at Loch Errochty, for example) - but nothing convincing has been presented.

I can't say I disagree with the general thrust of your post, but just as you're convinced it's a man in a boat and the whole thing looks like a reflection I'm of the opinion that it's not and will be mighty surprised if that's what it turns out to be - among many others. There'll for sure be some eggy faces if the boat/island/reflection hypothesis is proved.*

Which begs the question: how will it be proved? What would constitute satisfactory evidence? I guess finding an exact match for the rock/island would be the thing. Unless the witnesses come forward and spill the beans.


(*Not Spiers and Baldwin, though, who are both on record as saying it was a "spoof" - though not on how they'd decided it was done.)
 
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DavidB66

Senior Member
I notice that I've been promoted to 'senior member'. I don't think I've done anything to deserve that other than hanging around here for several years!

Just in case it leads anyone to take my casual opinions too seriously, I should say that I've had 'third thoughts' about the reflection hypothesis. My first thought was that it was wildly unlikely. My second thought was that Ruan's experiment with an artificial 'puddle' (described at #300 above) showed that it was not so wild after all. I still think Ruan has shown convincingly that some UFO hoaxes can be explained in this way, but in relation to the particular Calvine case my third thought is that it is very difficult, verging on impossible. The key problem is that the photo appears to show the water line (if the object is resting in water) running horizontally in a straight line through the object. If the object is a 3-dimensional rock in water, this is only possible with a very shallow angle of view. That in itself is not wildly difficult, but it would be impossible to get a large area of sky in view above the object in the same reflected image with a shallow angle of view. The sky would have to be part of a separate image, either filmed directly or in a reflection viewed from a higher angle. But this would almost inevitably leave a noticeable 'join' in the photo between the two parts of the total scene. Which there isn't.

I think other people have made much the same objection, but I didn't consider it carefully enough at first.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
I notice that I've been promoted to 'senior member'. I don't think I've done anything to deserve that other than hanging around here for several years!

Just in case it leads anyone to take my casual opinions too seriously, I should say that I've had 'third thoughts' about the reflection hypothesis. My first thought was that it was wildly unlikely. My second thought was that Ruan's experiment with an artificial 'puddle' (described at #300 above) showed that it was not so wild after all. I still think Ruan has shown convincingly that some UFO hoaxes can be explained in this way, but in relation to the particular Calvine case my third thought is that it is very difficult, verging on impossible. The key problem is that the photo appears to show the water line (if the object is resting in water) running horizontally in a straight line through the object. If the object is a 3-dimensional rock in water, this is only possible with a very shallow angle of view. That in itself is not wildly difficult, but it would be impossible to get a large area of sky in view above the object in the same reflected image with a shallow angle of view. The sky would have to be part of a separate image, either filmed directly or in a reflection viewed from a higher angle. But this would almost inevitably leave a noticeable 'join' in the photo between the two parts of the total scene. Which there isn't.

I think other people have made much the same objection, but I didn't consider it carefully enough at first.

It could, but only if you bring the subject (the island/rock/box) closer. And this poses issues with the focus (but that might not be impossible) of all objects in frame. The other point might be the fence and how to get that in the shot, when the subject (the island/rock/box) is so close to the camera. We have to perform some serious mind gymnastics to get the reflection theory imaginable.
 
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Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
In support of the brown paper tape on a pane of glass idea... If the tape is stuck on the glass, why not the plane?

These are vintage stickers from ebay.

s-l1600 (1).jpg

At 1.5 - 2 inches the pane of glass would have to be sizable. Six feet? Not impossible.


These are micro stickers.

s-l1600.jpg
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
It could, but only if you bring the subject (the island/rock/box) closer. And this poses issues with the focus (but that might not be impossible) of all objects in frame
Maybe I need a 4th thought about this! But I think there was something valid in what I said, even if I didn't put it very clearly. Since angle of reflection = angle of incidence, if the viewpoint is close (in angular terms) to the plane of reflection, then anything in the sky beyond the 'object' will only be reflected to the viewpoint if it makes an even smaller angle with the reflecting surface. For example, if the line of sight from the viewpoint to the object makes an angle of 5 degrees with the reflecting surface (which in this case is horizontal water), then beyond the object only points in the sky making an angle at the object of less than 5 degrees with the horizontal will be reflected to the viewpoint. [See correction below] In effect everything in the sky beyond the object must fall within a narrow angular band above the skyline in order to be visible in the image. That's what I meant by saying it would be 'impossible to get a large area of sky' in view. I'm not sure that getting closer to the object really helps (even apart from the question of focus), because other things being equal a side effect of this is to raise the angle from which the object is viewed, which means the waterline will no longer be a nice straight line. But does it matter if the visible sky falls within a narrow angular band above the skyline? The field of view still has to be filled up somehow, and one bit of sky may look much like another, especially if it is overcast.

This is all very abstract, and to get a more practical perspective I took a flat mirror out into my garden to see what I could see, holding it horizontal and viewing the surroundings from a shallow angle with the mirror. The most striking thing at first was that everything was upside down, which I expected from theory but still found unsettling! As there are houses, trees, etc, in all directions, what I could see was mainly the tops of trees and houses, upside down, with a thin band of sky 'below' them. It's quite a fun experiment.

Correction: As stated, this is wrong. Points in the sky beyond the object at an angle of more than 5 degrees (or whatever) will still be reflected to the viewpoint, but they can only be reflected from points on the reflecting surface which are closer to the viewpoint than the object, and will therefore appear below the object in the image. I'd like to pretend that this is what I meant all along, but in reality I just hadn't thought it through. I may still have made some other blunder.
 
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Ravi

Senior Member.
@DavidB66

I think you are correct yes. Indeed the angular fov only shifts and does not enlarge (I should have known, mirror has no power.).
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
In effect everything in the sky beyond the object must fall within a narrow angular band above the skyline in order to be visible in the image. That's what I meant by saying it would be 'impossible to get a large area of sky' in view.
If a large enough body of water is involved, in this case a loch seen down its length from a point near the end, it shouldn't be a problem. The first photo is of Loch Tummel, which is very close to Calvine. (The second is Loch Etive.) The fog which several people have suggested could have been there too, of course.84AC354B-A68B-4C21-8868-DD0C88BCFE6A.jpeg
C48BD9B6-811B-4DBB-9ED2-519F6C530C27.jpeg
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Those are great. I wonder if there are any large bodies of water like that with barbed wire right on the shore?
 
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