Claim: Original Calvine UFO Photo

JMartJr

Senior Member
For anyone confused about the photographic technique behind what is being discussed in the last few posts, here are two examples from a NASCAR race. In these pics, the cars moving in from of the camera are like a jet aircraft going past. The folks in the crowd are "hovering" up there in the bleachers, like the UFO in this thread.

In this first pic, the camera is held steady on the "UFO crowd" for a clear picture, the cars/jet will be more motion blurred.

2019-Feb11-gander-rv-duels-faq-625x340.jpg

But if you wanted a sharper picture of the cars, you can pan the camera along as they pass you, for a great car shot with the crowd blurred, like this:
pan with moving object.jpg

A pic of a hovering UFO by a photographer who knew this trick should look like the former, you are happy to have the cars in there but what interests you is the static bit, the UFO. Proving you saw a plane and getting a great picture of it is not what you are after! :)

(A photographer who did not know the trick would also likely be pointing at the unusual bit, the interesting bit, or just holding the camera pretty steady because that's what you tend to do when taking a snapshot.)

So, in neither case would I be surprised if there was motion blur on the jet. Which I am not convinced that there is anyway!
 

Duke

Active Member
If they took a real but mundane scene, for example capturing a picture of a plane (or its reflection) while looking at a small island in the water, it could be a case of "Look at this, it looks like a UFO", and all the hoaxing that was done might have been in the fanciful story they related later.
So you're saying a case where a hoax was not premeditated, but the UFO image resulted from a possible misinterpretation of the resulting photographs. That's possible, many UFO are "sighted" in photo images without having been seen in real time.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I was thinking 18 pages in it might be nice to have an index of some of the most useful posts. Let me know if I've missed anything important or made any errors (maybe in dm could be best so as not to clutter up the thread).

Posts on metabunk:

Basic story with links to download the image
Story of how the photographs got to the MoD
Contrast-enhanced image
Colorized image (Photoshop AI)
Comparison of Hawker Hunter with plane outline (also here)
Witnesses' age and why some details still withheld
Summary of Clarke's four articles on Calvine and the Disclosure Team's video
More on Craig Lindsay's interview
December 1990 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine article showing hypothetical hypersonic craft
Hopeless Diamond images and discussion
Related comments by members of the army and air force (some of whom recall seeing the original photo in the 90s)
Insider view on how easily files and documents are discarded
Tree analysis (and reply)
1991 'retask'
Summary of Calvine mentioned in Nick Pope's book
Info from RAF Lossiemouth
Short summary of Disclosure Team Q&A video (full summary)
Short summary of Stu Little interview (full summary)
Short summary of David Clarke's answers to questions put to him via email (full summary)
Pre-2014 classification system
Reflection hypothesis thread
Summary of hoax theories (and their drawbacks)
Animation of reflection theory by Ruan

External links

Original MoD documents (from FOIA request)
Disclosure Team photo reveal and backstory video
Disclosure Team Q&A video
Andrew Robinson photo analysis
Comparison of the two versions of the analysis
Mountaintop hypothesis video
Proposed location for the photo (Google Maps)
Location of viewpoint for the Nick Pope recreation
Pope writing about Calvine in 2012
Nick Pope article in The Sun (October 2020)
Also May 2021
Puerto Rico UFO hoax (example of "model on a string")
Video of Pope talking about Calvine in 2017
Chapter of Pope's book containing writing on Calvine and Aurora
Star decoration hypothesis
Stu Little slideshow

Basic info
  • Photo allegedly taken around 9pm on Saturday August 4th 1990 (one of six; other five missing)
  • Sunset in Calvine at 21.22 that day (light conditions in photo very possible)
  • Area used by military planes for low-level flying - but not on weekends
  • Photographer likely 18ish at the time, therefore around 50 now
  • Holiday workers in a kitchen in a hotel in Pitlochry, English accent according to Craig Lindsay (who interviewed one on the phone)
  • Often reported as the Atholl Palace Hotel but apparently this is incorrect
  • Photos sent to Scottish Daily Record and from there to MoD
  • Name known to Clarke & team and they have contacted over 200 people
  • Photo was never classified as far as we know (photocopies and other related documents weren't)
  • Photos and story not published (hypothesised as being due to a standing D-notice; Daily Record editor was on the committee)
  • MoD says negatives returned to Daily Record (disputed by some)
  • Apparently seen there by photographer Stu Little in 1993 (who says the whole photo is out of focus due to the way it was copied)
  • A copy of the photo is now archived at Sheffield Hallam University
 

Attachments

  • Calvine - MoD documents (8 pages).pdf
    1.1 MB · Views: 39
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Rory

Senior Member.
While backreading I came across this suggestion by @Itsme made over a week ago:

Did anyone consider the possibility that we are looking at a 'picture of a picture'?

If the newspaper only had prints and the MOD PR officer asked for one, the newspaper might have taken the pragmatic route to take one of their cameras at hand and simply make a photo of the print. Probably this photo would be a cropped, less sharp version of the original.

This is basically what Stu Little said three days later (from 27:16):

"[The Daily Record] will have had a copy stand in the picture desk or in the dark room area. Every newsroom had a copy stand for copying what they used to call 'collect pictures', so when someday died or a prominent figure was in an accident and they didn't have a picture of them they would get a picture from a member of the family, take it, copy it, and then give them the image back. So a copy stand was quite a normal useful everyday thing for a newsroom to have.

This is probably how they [copied it]. They'll have taken the Ilford XP1 and they will have made prints and made sure that they were numbered so they know the order of them. The six images [...] were then re-photographed onto [probably] Agfa Colour Pro [but] whoever made that print didn't focus the lens on the enlarger properly so the actual craft is ever so slightly out of focus compared to what [i] saw on the negatives - even the duplicates - so you're not getting true detail.

The one thing that you don't see in the Calvine image is that it's a crop. [...] The original print's been cropped at the very bottom. I mean, if you can imagine the picture being from top to bottom 100 percent, at the very bottom 15 to 20 percent you can see hills in the original. Because obviously the craft was the thing they were interested in: they didn't realise that years later people like us were going to debate whether it was a reflection of a rock."
Content from External Source
So a bit of belated credit there if that's what did actually happen.

In the Disclosure Team Q&A video at 10.52 mins Andrew Robinson now appears to be saying that he thinks the film used was standard b/w negative film, not XP-1.

That's true:

"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
1991 corresponds to Nick Pope's arrival, perhaps he initiated the retask.

I asked him. He says not his handwriting.
 
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Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
Interesting stuff from Scottish photographer Stu Little who says he went into the Daily Record's photo department in 1993 and saw a "rag print" - partial blow up - of one of the other Calvine photos on the wall there. He says he asked the guy there about it and the guy showed him the whole strip of six negatives - duplicates of the original negatives - and he spent about 15 minutes looking at them on a special negative viewer (which he describes as like looking at them through a magnifying glass, 20x zoom).

I did a write-up of his talk and posted it here, and here are the main points of interest/new information:
  • He says the Lindsay photo is only about 30% as detailed as what he saw and that this is due to the copies being made on an enlarger that wasn't quite in focus
  • He says the photographer's camera was a Canon AE 1 Program and the photo was probably taken with a shutter speed of 1/250
  • Said that the Lindsay photo is a crop and that the original had more countryside, more fence, more tree, and more bush
  • Said the colour tinge came because of printing on colour paper and that it was taken on XP1 (he also used XP1 at the time)
  • He describes the craft as being "clearly man-made" with discernible panels and thinks it was a stealth craft
  • He dismisses both the reflection theory and the UFO theory, saying "I never thought for one minute it was ETs" despite being a young man into UFO stuff at the time
  • Thinks the plane was more likely a Tornado than a Harrier
  • Says he heard the photos weren't published because of the D-notice
  • Shows recreations of the five other photos. Frame 2 is the Lindsay photo, Frame 4 the one with two planes in it (and the one he saw on the wall), and #5 and #6 had no planes in the shot
His slideshow with all the recreation images and stuff to do with the film, the cameras, and the equipment the Daily Record used is available here:

https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/5afcd937e69446e8bf342d7dc34b9ebc

He's seemed like a very credible fella and obviously very knowledgeable on his subject. Here's his recreation of his memory of the craft he saw:

1661223073021.png
That looks a lot like this

1661183598857.png
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Stu Little is not a reliable witness.

I don't think anyone's said his testimony is "reliable" - but also it hasn't been shown to be "unreliable", nor is there anything particularly "unbelievable" about it..
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
I don't think anyone's said his testimony is "reliable" - but also it hasn't been shown to be "unreliable", nor is there anything "unbelievable" about it.
it's unbelievable the Daily Mail would not have sent a half way decent picture to Lindsay if the negatives were as Little claims.

but if Mick wants to post your version of what is fact or not in his OP..that's cool.
 
No, he tells us he thought Lindsay was being cagey. That's just the opinion of the individual who posted on the other site, not a statement of fact. If Lindsay was concerned about being prosecuted under OSA, I doubt he would have put himself at risk by admitting a violation of the Act over an unsecure phone line. Similar, he wouldn't have fessed up and allowed Dr Clarke to go public with his name and location. There is no statue of limitations on prosecution under OSA.

If the photo had been classified, it would have been clearly marked with its level of security classification. We've seen the photo, there is no classification annotation on the photo. Even FOUO documents (which I think the Brits refer to as just "Official") are clearly marked as such. The level of classification defines security storage requirements. As I recall, Lindsay said he stashed the photo in his office desk. You don't put classified documents in a desk, and if you do and get caught, that's a security violation that could get your clearance pulled.

Are we not jumping the gun a bit with this idea of the photo NOT being classified?

As the story goes, the Scottish Daily Record sent the image to Lindsay at RAF Pitreavie and he kept it. There was hence no opportunity for that particular print to be classified. Presumably, as a press officer, Lindsay himself also had no authority to classify anything.

That doesn't mean that the other images or the negatives weren't classified, though. When they got into the hands of DI55, they might well have been. Had DI55 also realised that Lindsay had got the print, we can assume they would have demanded it and he would have handed it over. But because of the compartmentalisation, that information failed to get passed from Sec AS to DI55, and when Lindsay later inquired how the case was going and was told to "Leave it to London", he did just that, omitting to mention to anyone in authority that he still had the print.

The subsequent destruction of the images and negatives by the MoD and their absence in the declassified UFO files is open to interpretation, though (one side says they're not there because they show a secret US stealth UAV and they've been spirited away beyond the reach of FOIA by DI55, whilst the other side says they were more likely binned because they merely showed a Christmas tree ornament on its side).
 
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The subsequent destruction of the images and negatives by the MoD and their absence in the declassified UFO files is open to interpretation, though (one side says they're not there because they show a secret US stealth UAV and they've been spirited away beyond the reach of FOIA by DI55, whilst the other side says they were more likely binned because they merely showed a Christmas tree ornament on its side).

Christmas tree ornament?
EDIT: I mean, they identified the fake but didn't go after its perpetrators?
 
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Duke

Active Member
The subsequent destruction of the images and negatives by the MoD and their absence in the declassified UFO files is open to interpretation, though (one side says they're not there because they show a secret US stealth UAV and they've been spirited away beyond the reach of FOIA by DI55, whilst the other side says they were more likely binned because they merely showed a Christmas tree ornament on its side).
I thought the negatives were returned to the paper? The story was the paper could have printed them upon their return, but opted not to do so out of an abundance of caution/loyalty on the part of the editor. This was due to him having been a stakeholder in the D notice process. If they had been classified, they wouldn't have been returned.

If they were destroyed by the MoD, they were not classified. Destroyed items have no security classification and are removed from any log of classified documents.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Exactly. Wasting police time is a criminal offence but not wasting a newspaper's/the MoD's.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
what date did the Daily Record receive the negatives/initial contact from the original photographer. do we know?
 

Duke

Active Member
Well I wondered whether there should be some punitive action? Just saying, but at second thought yea it sounds like unnecessary waste of time indeed.
Statute of limitations on something like that would have passed years ago.
 
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DavidB66

Senior Member
Statute of limitations on something like that would have passed years ago.
In the UK for serious crimes - roughly what in the US would be classed as felonies as distinct from misdemeanors - there is no general time limit on prosecutions. There may be statutory time limits for specific offences, but one would need to know what the charge was in any given case. Offences under the Official Secrets Act would probably not have a time limit. An elderly lady named Melita Norwood was exposed in the 1999 as having spied for the USSR for many years, from about 1932 to 1972, giving them info on the UK's nuclear weapons program. Despite the seriousness of the offences she was not prosecuted, but I don't think there was any suggestion of a legal time limit.

Incidentally the US distinction between felonies and misdemeanours is derived from traditional English law, but like some other legal institutions, such as Grand Juries, it has survived in the US but not in England. (Scotland has its own legal system). The distinction has been replaced by a classification based on the potential length of sentences and what kind of court would try the case. Minor offences are dealt with by magistrates, serious offences by judges with a jury. There is also an intermediate category known as 'triable either way' where a defendant can opt for a jury trial if they are prepared to face the risk of a higher sentence.
 

Duke

Active Member
In the UK for serious crimes - roughly what in the US would be classed as felonies as distinct from misdemeanors - there is no general time limit on prosecutions. There may be statutory time limits for specific offences, but one would need to know what the charge was in any given case. Offences under the Official Secrets Act would probably not have a time limit. An elderly lady named Melita Norwood was exposed in the 1999 as having spied for the USSR for many years, from about 1932 to 1972, giving them info on the UK's nuclear weapons program. Despite the seriousness of the offences she was not prosecuted, but I don't think there was any suggestion of a legal time limit.

Incidentally the US distinction between felonies and misdemeanours is derived from traditional English law, but like some other legal institutions, such as Grand Juries, it has survived in the US but not in England. (Scotland has its own legal system). The distinction has been replaced by a classification based on the potential length of sentences and what kind of court would try the case. Minor offences are dealt with by magistrates, serious offences by judges with a jury. There is also an intermediate category known as 'triable either way' where a defendant can opt for a jury trial if they are prepared to face the risk of a higher sentence.
I was referring to the charges like wasting government time mentioned previously. My point was these type charges were very minor and wouldn't be prosecuted if a hoaxer came forward and admitted his "crime."

I have a basic understanding of the Brit legal system. As a youngster I loved the "Rumpole of the Bailey" series, and read several books on the subject. I wrote a term paper comparing the US and British legal systems for my American Government class.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
The subsequent destruction of the images and negatives by the MoD and their absence in the declassified UFO files is open to interpretation, though (one side says they're not there because they show a secret US stealth UAV and they've been spirited away beyond the reach of FOIA by DI55, whilst the other side says they were more likely binned because they merely showed a Christmas tree ornament on its side).
There's no reason to think anybody until about a week ago thought this was a Christmas tree ornament on its side.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
There's no reason to think anybody until about a week ago thought this was a Christmas tree ornament on its side.
they probably thought it was a kite. coincidentally, although i only skimmed 3 years of reports, the only 2 that said anything like a "diamond" shape or "kite" shape, came in late August 1990.

DEFE-24-1940_2
page 40
aug 28 1990
carcroft
kite shaped no tail
w to east
a1


page 59
august 26th 1990
kite or diamond shape bright white no sound
a92 s near gallatown roundabout kircaldy fife scotland

slightly up from horizon
disappeared suddenly
wing operations RAF LEUCHARS SACW
noone else reported.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
what date did the Daily Record receive the negatives/initial contact from the original photographer. do we know?
This part of the timeline seems odd to me. There are 5 weeks between the alleged sighting and the govt depts writing to each other about it. The handwritten report is undated (it may be Lindsay's?). But Lindsay implied things moved very fast - within days - from the DR contacting him to the negatives being in his hand. So where did that month go? Either the DR held onto them for weeks, or the photographer didn't send the into the paper for weeks, or the sighting date is wrong.
 

Itsme

Active Member
This part of the timeline seems odd to me. There are 5 weeks between the alleged sighting and the govt depts writing to each other about it. The handwritten report is undated (it may be Lindsay's?). But Lindsay implied things moved very fast - within days - from the DR contacting him to the negatives being in his hand. So where did that month go? Either the DR held onto them for weeks, or the photographer didn't send the into the paper for weeks, or the sighting date is wrong.
..or the MOD studied them for weeks before returning them to the DR.
The handwritten note is undated as you stated, and the 'heads-up' memo with 'defensive lines to take' (dated sep 14.) was send after the negatives had been returned to the DR.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Looking at Stu Little's description of the negatives he saw: "it was lighter, there was like a light edge along like the edge of the craft. See how it's quite dark there? There was actually quite a defined light edge..."

Is this the normal way a photographer talks about a negative? He never indicates that every time he says "light" or "dark", what he actually saw was the opposite. Or were his negatives more like slides, i.e. positive? (He doesn't ever say so, I think.)

Timestamped:

Source: https://youtu.be/QFc9pe2-RdE?t=2207
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
..or the MOD studied them for weeks before returning them to the DR.
The handwritten note is undated as you stated, and the 'heads-up' memo with 'defensive lines to take' (dated sep 14.) was send after the negatives had been returned to the DR.
1661774891403.png
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
you know where you are guaranteed to have multiple opportunities to get a Harrier or similar in a fake UFO shot ... an airshow. and airports have those slanted barb wire fence things around the perimeter.

this show is too late (although farnborough works date wise), just was amused they formed into a triangle..so this is the pic i'm posting.

battle2.png

ex: of airport fencing
1661782231439.png

1661782448751.png

1661782479318.png
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
@deirdre

So you think the pictures were possibly taken at an airshow, and used for a hoax later on? Wow, sorry but your brain-juggling is fantastic. ;) Or am I missing your point..
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
@deirdre

So you think the pictures were possibly taken at an airshow, and used for a hoax later on? Wow, sorry but your brain-juggling is fantastic. ;) Or am I missing your point..
what brain juggling? just because i am willing to keep an open mind* does not mean i have decided on a model, a reflection, an artifact added in later etc.

you go to an airshow with a little paper diamond you are gonna hang from a tree, stand outside the fence ..so you dont have to pay..and take pics of the show with the model in your shot. easy peasy.

or yes, you could stick a diamond sticker on an old photo from an airshow and then resnap the pic.

*well, not so open i think it is a ETUFO or a secret military plane that can (or would) hover over a valley at 2-5000 feet.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Is this the normal way a photographer talks about a negative? He never indicates that every time he says "light" or "dark", what he actually saw was the opposite. Or were his negatives more like slides, i.e. positive? (He doesn't ever say so, I think.)

From Post #516 (also here):

He says [...] he spent about 15 minutes looking at them on a special negative viewer (which he describes as like looking at them through a magnifying glass, 20x zoom).

From the interview (30:30 and 1:37:25):

"At the Daily Record at that point they had what they call an RGB viewer. You put the negatives in and you can dial up or down the colours for colour negatives or you can just switch off the colour for black and white, and you can increase or decrease the brightness. You've also got the ability to zoom in and analyse the print for sharpness.

If you can imagine a really powerful magnifying glass or even like a weaker microscope it will zoom right in. It's about 20 times zoom so you can go right in because these machines were used to check focus. Mainly [by the] sports guys making sure that they got the tennis ball or the football or whatever [in focus]."
Content from External Source
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
So you think the pictures were possibly taken at an airshow, and used for a hoax later on? Wow, sorry but your brain-juggling is fantastic.

Seems very reasonable to me: I originally thought something along those lines and felt the fence suggested some sort of perimeter fence. And that was before we heard the photographer was a holiday worker with "an English accent".

I do feel less inclined though now - the fur/wool on the fence and the general 'vibe' of it seems to suggest countryside - but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be an earlier shot taken in England somewhere (hence Harriers).
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Seems very reasonable to me: I originally thought something along those lines and felt the fence suggested some sort of perimeter fence. And that was before we heard the photographer was a holiday worker with "an English accent".

I do feel less inclined though now - the fur/wool on the fence and the general 'vibe' of it seems to suggest countryside - but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be an earlier shot taken in England somewhere (hence Harriers).
Ah! But the wool can be fake too! He took a bit of wool from a sheep after work, his mate carried the Christmas ornament, put the whole scene in place, ordered the guy in the boat to start rowing, snap (6x) and voila, solved! :D

I am joking of course, but I am amused by the creativity for this case. Carry on! ;)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Ah! But the wool can be fake too! He took a bit of wool from a sheep after work, his mate carried the Christmas ornament, put the whole scene in place, ordered the guy in the boat to start rowing, snap (6x) and voila, solved! :D

I am joking of course, but I am amused by the creativity for this case. Carry on! ;)

Peculiar post from the normally excellent Ravi there. If model on a string/cutout on glass is plausible in Scotland why wouldn't it be plausible in England where there were Harriers and where the photographer was maybe from?

(Also plenty of 'Scottish looking' countryside and fences and larches too.)
 
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