Claim: Original Calvine UFO Photo

DavidB66

Senior Member
I don't think the bird watching is confirmed and there are other suggestions as to what they were doing and why they had a camera.
I don't know where the 'bird watching' idea came from. I don't think it was in the original MoD documents. 'Poaching' and 'fishing' were both suggested early on. These activities would probably be illegal, as game and fishing rights are usually owned and enforced by the lairds in those parts. This might help explain the reluctance of the 'witnesses' to come forward at the time, though less so now, after 40 years.

Also on bird watching, don't birds usually go to roost around sunset? In summer in Scotland it may stay light until long after sunset, but that's no use if there are no birds in sight!

There was some discussion about bias here in favour of a 'hoax' explanation. The two leading theories are 'hoax' and 'secret advanced tech'. David Clarke is now very gung-ho for 'secret tech' (see my note in another thread on his Fortean Times article), so I think a bias towards 'hoax' is a useful corrective. We know that (a) UFO hoaxes in general are very common, (b) several hoaxes similar to the Calvine photograph had been perpetrated before 1990, and (c) David Clarke himself previously quoted official support within the MoD for the hoax theory, so I think 'hoax' should be given a fair crack of the whip.
 

Duke

Active Member
There was some discussion about bias here in favour of a 'hoax' explanation. The two leading theories are 'hoax' and 'secret advanced tech'. David Clarke is now very gung-ho for 'secret tech' (see my note in another thread on his Fortean Times article), so I think a bias towards 'hoax' is a useful corrective. We know that (a) UFO hoaxes in general are very common, (b) several hoaxes similar to the Calvine photograph had been perpetrated before 1990, and (c) David Clarke himself previously quoted official support within the MoD for the hoax theory, so I think 'hoax' should be given a fair crack of the whip.
Was there any documentation on the part of the MoD/RAF to support/explain the hoax theory? Officialdom acknowledging something as a hoax would suggest they knew, or at least had a good idea, how it was done.
 

Domzh

Active Member
Is any one in here US citizen and could FOIA flight reports from the US air force and US navy about that date and area?

afaik there are three military airfields in the greater area plus the possibility of a flight carrier.

Assuming the MoD really couldnt find reports of UK jets at that time and we know that these RAF bases were actually used by the US, then maybe someone ask them about it...?

I cant believe no one did this in all these years while simultaneously everyone is talking about US black tech testing activities.

if we at least had believable reports of jets in the air during that time, then we could focus on the "ufo" and at plausibly assume "it" was US (should "it" be real).

if nobody has reports of scrambled jets, then this would +1 the hoax hypothesis.
 

Duke

Active Member
Is any one in here US citizen and could FOIA flight reports from the US air force and US navy about that date and area?

afaik there are three military airfields in the greater area plus the possibility of a flight carrier.

if the MoD really couldnt find reports of UK jets at that time and we know that these RAF bases were actually used by the US, then maybe someone ask them about it...?

if we at least had believable reports of jets in the air during that time, then we could focus on the "ufo" and at plausibly assume "it" was US (should "it" be real).

if nobody has reports of scrambled jets, then this would +1 the hoax hypothesis.
All I recall about a records search was a Brit claiming to have gone through ORBs for RAF Harrier units. These are top level, unit documents that wouldn't be expected to have the level of detail neccessary to rule out (or in) specific aircraft. The only way to do that is to go through the maintenance records for every operational fast jet in the inventory at the time of the event. Still doable, if the RAF kept the maintenance records for out of service a/c. For example, the last RAF Harrier flight was at least 10-12 years ago.

ADDENDUM--Forgot to discuss the US aspect of @Domzh's post.

Would be interesting to speak with John Greenwald about filing a Calvine related FOIA request through the DoD. Having both written (for personal use) and answered (official duty) FOIA requests, I think you'd have to come up with a way to narrow the scope of the research of such a big picture request. Starting point might be to request USAFE to provide a list of all operational fast US jet units assigned or on temporary duty (TDY) to the UK on or about the date in question. A similar request would have to go to some organization in the USN.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Still doable, if the RAF kept the maintenance records for out of service a/c. For example, the last RAF Harrier flight was at least 10-12 years ago
i think he's asking if the United States would have their own records of United States aircraft.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
are the accessories used and price confirmed? if yes then this would seem a bit odd and definitely unexpected for a 20ish kitchen worker but not impossible.

True. But why think they are birdwatching in the first place?

hearsay: apparently you have light up until midnight in this area during summer

a quick check (link to a weather website) showed that in august '90 the sun is starting to go down at 21:30.

The sun set at 21.22 and dusk (end of civil twilight) was at 22.10.

They were teenagers.

I don't think that's stated anywhere.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Was there any documentation on the part of the MoD/RAF to support/explain the hoax theory? Officialdom acknowledging something as a hoax would suggest they knew, or at least had a good idea, how it was done.
David Clarke had this bit
Article:
According to three separate senior MoD sources and documents I obtained from responses to Freedom of Information requests, the photographs were indeed the subject of several expert investigations. These were carried out by the Defence Intelligence Staff, the RAF’s JARIC agency and by the Pentagon.

The dossier reveals how, in 1992, the DIS sent an image of a ‘possible research vehicle‘ flying in Scottish airspace to the CIA. That image was sent to the Pentagon where it was subject to further US-UK analysis, as revealed in a document written by the UK’s Air Attache in Washington DC.
1667838546903.png

Extract from letter sent by RAF Air Attache in Washington, Simon Baldwin, to Sir Donald Spiers, MoD Controller of Aircraft, on 18 December 1992 (Crown Copyright applies)

........

He claimed the US agencies ‘went ballistic’ when they saw the image, which he said had been captured by civilians in ‘a one in a million chance’.

But his story is contradicted by RAF Air Commodore Simon Baldwin, who commanded Britain’s last V-bomber squadron that saw action in the Falklands War. Baldwin was serving as Air Attache in Washington when one of the images from Scotland surfaced at the Pentagon in 1992.

When I spoke to Baldwin he dismissed the theory that the object in the photograph was a Stealth aircraft. He believes the whole story is a spoof – the same word he uses in a memo sent to MoD in December that year that I obtained using the Freedom of Information Act.
 

Duke

Active Member
David Clarke had this bit
Article:
According to three separate senior MoD sources and documents I obtained from responses to Freedom of Information requests, the photographs were indeed the subject of several expert investigations. These were carried out by the Defence Intelligence Staff, the RAF’s JARIC agency and by the Pentagon.

The dossier reveals how, in 1992, the DIS sent an image of a ‘possible research vehicle‘ flying in Scottish airspace to the CIA. That image was sent to the Pentagon where it was subject to further US-UK analysis, as revealed in a document written by the UK’s Air Attache in Washington DC.
1667838546903.png

Extract from letter sent by RAF Air Attache in Washington, Simon Baldwin, to Sir Donald Spiers, MoD Controller of Aircraft, on 18 December 1992 (Crown Copyright applies)
Yes I remember that, but that's someone in the Pentagon giving an opinion it was "probably a spoof." That's a far cry from knowing/understanding how the "probably spoof" was created. That's what I'm asking about, does documentation exist that explains how "experts" came to that conclusion? If not, it's just an opinion.

Personally, as an accomplished practical joker myself, I'd love to see this turn out to have been a hoax, but that would have to include a reasonable explanation of how it was done.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
That's what I'm asking about, does documentation exist that explains how "experts" came to that conclusion?
not that i've seen, just maybe the bit by the MOD that said no harriers were in the area even tough that was the claim
 

Duke

Active Member
not that i've seen, just maybe the bit by the MOD that said no harriers were in the area even tough that was the claim
Methodology of reaching that conclusion? Anything short of an aircraft by aircraft review of individual maintenance records would be inconclusive.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
They were teenagers. It's hardly likely they were sophisticated bird photographers, so their equipment and lack of expertise are unsurprising.

We DO NOT know this. IF this photo is a hoax, and a reflection being passed off as real is still a hoax, then there is no reason to believe the backstory.

I'll go back over Clark's blogs, but IIRC the ENTIRE story of the photo's origins comes SOLEY from Linsday and is an octogenarian's 30-year-old recollections of a 10-minute phone conversation. He only talked to one of the supposed 2 witnesses. He never met the witness face to face. He never traveled to the Calvine area to talk to the witness. Assuming Linsday is responsible for the original MoD report, then he didn't even get the name of the other witness. And none of what he describes is in the report:

1667842567507.png


Further, I don't think Clark ever managed to track down anybody at the Daily Record, at the hotel the witnesses supposedly worked at or anywhere in the Calvine area that can confirm any of this. It's just one guy's story from quite a while ago:

Even more baffling no one at The Daily Record remembered the story clearly or could explain what had become of the negatives that remain missing to this day.

A week spent knocking on doors in Pitlochry, the nearest tourist town to Calvine and gateway to the Scottish Highlands, also failed to develop any new leads.

Inquiries at the hotels where I knew the two young witnesses had worked likewise drew a blank. No one remembered the story or had even heard rumours about it.
Content from External Source
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/2022/08/12/the-calvine-ufo-revealed/
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Further, I don't think Clark ever managed to track down anybody at the Daily Record, at the hotel the witnesses supposedly worked at or anywhere in the Calvine area that can confirm any of this.

There was some info regarding the hotel:

"Since that time I have established to my satisfaction (via inquiries and interviews on site some of which I can't reveal at this point) that the 2 men were chefs working in kitchens at a hotel in the Pitlochry area at the relevant time."

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/claim-original-calvine-ufo-photo.12571/post-277200

"Lindsay gave us the name of a hotel (Atholl Palace) that he felt sure was their place of work. After visiting the hotel and speaking to the head chef, general manager, receptionist etc and other staff at the relevant time, none of whom were aware of the story, It was obvious this was a red herring. That was confirmed by two other sources who have named another hotel as their place of work - one of whom was a chef who worked with the 2 men (who he says were part-time chefs)."

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/calvine-disclosure-team-q-a.12584/post-277622
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Also on bird watching, don't birds usually go to roost around sunset? In summer in Scotland it may stay light until long after sunset, but that's no use if there are no birds in sight!
Birds are active while there's light, and if that's long after sunset, the birds are still awake. We stayed in one hotel in northern Scotland that was beside a rookery, and since it was so light, the rooks didn't quiet down until midnight.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
@NorCal Dave
Concerning the age of the witnesses, I find this reference from @banditsat12oclock in the January 2021 thread. (I can't do a "reply" as it's a closed thread.)


A response from the National Archives (below) was recently received by me in regard to the DEFE/24/1940 Calvine/Pitlochry UFO sighting file.

The Calvine witness's name is being witheld because of Section 40(2) of the FOI Act (2000)
.....
The 84 year closure, which seems arbitrary at first glance, is because the authorities assume any witness was 16 at the time of a record's creation, and they also assume the witness will live up to the age of 100 and thus need the protection of ongoing anonymity.
Content from External Source
From @Rory's summary:


  • 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.
Content from External Source
Sorry for not having the accepted "reply" format, but I'm having to go through multiple threads to find scattered information.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
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Ann K

Senior Member.
Yeah, that was assumed near the beginning but later showed to be wrong. Conversation on that starts here:

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/claim-original-calvine-ufo-photo.12571/post-278598

I think all we can really say is that one was at least 17 (cos driving) and that they were "young". But nothing to say they weren't in their twenties.

Updated summary required! :)
I've tried to find original descriptions but keep coming up with much newer quotes from Pope instead. How confident are we in what he has to say?
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
There was some info regarding the hotel:

Yes, as well as the Daily Record, sort of. Here is a response from Clark to a comment on his blog:

As for the Daily Record the fact is that a number of staff members do remember the story and are equally baffled as to why the story was not used.
Content from External Source
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/2022/08/12/the-calvine-ufo-revealed/

That goes along with your summery of the Q&A you noted above:

After visiting the hotel and speaking to the head chef, general manager, receptionist etc and other staff at the relevant time, none of whom were aware of the story, It was obvious this was a red herring. That was confirmed by two other sources who have named another hotel as their place of work - one of whom was a chef who worked with the 2 men (who he says were part-time chefs).
Content from External Source


We have Linsday's story and we have some "sources". If they know what hotel the witnesses worked at and their boss, then let's hear it. If some people at the Daily Record remember the photos, then let's hear from them.

Or do all of these investigative results have to remain "sources" so as not to let people possibly conclude who the photographer is or was?
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Anything to sensationalize the story, but nothing about the photographers or their dealings with the newspaper, which is what I was trying to find.

Here is Pope's original account form his book courtesy of Rory (bold by me):

Excerpt from the chapter ‘The Cover-Up’, Open Skies, Closed Minds (Nick Pope, 1996)

There is some evidence that Aurora, if it exists, has been operating over Britain. A report sent to the Ministry of Defence tells of two men out walking at Calvine, a remote area twenty miles north of Pitlochry near Blair Atholl in Tayside. It was 4 August 1990. The two men became aware of a low humming sound and turned to see a large diamond-shaped object which hovered for about ten minutes before flying off vertically at great speed. What was really intriguing was that a Harrier jet also made a number of low-level passes, as if the pilot had seen the object as well and was homing in for a closer look. One of the men on the ground had a camera and sent the photographs he took to both the ministry and the Scottish Daily Record. The Harrier remains untraced; the object unidentified. I kept a blow-up of one of his photographs on my office wall until one day my Head of Division noticed it and took it away.
Content from External Source
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/claim-original-calvine-ufo-photo.12571/page-10#post-277227

Here's Pope talking to Clark in 2001 (bold by me):

In response to a question concerning ‘a photo taken in Scotland’ that was mentioned in Open Skies, Closed Minds, he responded:

…It was taken I think in 1990, before my tour of duty, and it was actually in poster form, blown up by various people who had looked at it and stuck on the wall. It really was Fox Mulder stuff. It didn’t have ‘I want to believe’ on it but it was on the office wall when I joined … it subsequently came to be removed but it was there and it had as far as I can recall been taken by two people who had been out walking in Pitlochry who had heard a low humming sound, looked around, done a double take, shot off I think, I’m not sure if they shot off a few pictures or just one [but] it had been sent to the MOD. I don’t think that we had the negative, indeed they may have asked that we send it back
Content from External Source
Content from External Source
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/secret-files/the-calvine-ufo-photographs/

He doesn't provide a lot of detail, likely because he didn't have a lot.

EDIT: formatting
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
How confident are we in what [Pope] has to say?

So from the above - and other things - I suppose the answer is "not very". Just his repetition of the not reported "low humming sound" is enough to confirm that, at best, either his memory is wonky or someone told him the wrong story.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
It just seems a strange coincidence that there is someone who claimed at one point to photograph UFOs with foreground foliage in the UK, then explained how he hoaxed them, then went on to become an accomplished photographer that would have been around 40 when the Calvine photo of a UFO with foreground foliage was taken. There is nothing connecting his photos and the Calvine one, except for the basic set up of using the trees and such in the foreground to frame the UFOs and the apparent ability to fool a few MoD people. But curious.

Another case for your scrapbook Dave, curiously reminiscent of Calvine:
  • Two teenage brothers (15 and 17) took 4 pictures of a UFO
  • They said it hovered for ten minutes, flew away, and was followed soon after by a helicopter
  • The pictures showed an unknown craft, foliage, and part of the frame of a swingset
  • After their mother contacted the press and the story appeared in newspapers the local military began a (friendly) investigation, at which point it appears the family began to distance itself from the sighting
  • The investigating officer, Major Raymond Nyls, initially said "The type of person and the type of camera involved would lead me to believe these are not a hoax"
  • He also said "The pictures are about the best I've ever seen"
  • Ufologist J. Allen Hynek then had copies of the pictures examined by Fred Beckman, a photographic "expert" who concluded that they were "real"
  • Beckman ruled out a model UFO being held up by string
  • Other analyses, however, including a 27-page report by William Powers did not rule out a hoax and seemed to lean towards "string theory"
  • Strangely, the family were refusing to share the original photos - despite being offered money for them and living in a somewhat deprived state - with all investigative parties stating that original photos were needed for a proper analysis
  • Eventually Major Nyls returned to the property with a model craft he had made, hung it from the swingset with fishing line, and took several photos using the same type of camera. The fishing line wasn't visible in the pictures - indeed, he says he couldn't even see it with his own eyes
  • The boys stood by their story but Hynek said Nyls's recreation "removed the sighting from serious consideration"
  • At their father's insistence, upset by the hoax allegations, the boys took a lie detector test and failed
  • Nine years later (aged 24 and 26) they wrote a letter to Hynek explaining the truth of the incident:
“Dan suggested to make a model of a U.F.O., hang it up with a string, and if the photo turned out good, we could play a joke on our family and friends to see their reaction and then tell them the truth.

Dan made a quick model. Then we wrapped plain white thread with paper tape around two poles several times, and then taped the model to the threads. I was reluctant to waste the film, because I thought the threads and tape would be visible on the photo. The weather conditions were just right, the photo came out so real looking we took some more. At the same time we were taking the pictures, a helicopter flew over the area. Just for the heck of it, I photographed it, too.

We showed our mother the photos and pretended they were real. But before we knew it, while we were in another room, she had called the newspaper.

Dan and I for some reason decided to let the paper have a story. We made it up as the reporter asked his questions. And said the helicopter was with the U.F.O. Also, we just didn't think the story would become as big as it did. We are sorry if we caused anyone any trouble over this.

Respectfully,
Grant [P.] Jaroslaw
Dan A. Jaroslaw
Content from External Source
One of the boys' photos:

1667931246071.png

Newspaper prints:

1667931834193.png

Major Nyls' recreation:

1667931306133.png

Though a lot of the parallels with Calvine are implied rather than proven, I don't think it's unrealistic to suggest that the reason for the Calvine photographers' silence since the initial newspaper contact was due to the probably unforeseen involvement of the military and things suddenly "getting real" (as has been hypothesised here before).

The big difference in the two cases is the amount of time put into it by the US military compared to the UK's rather uninterested approach. No site visit, no exact location recorded, no follow up with the witnesses (as far as we know).

Could be indicative of the two different cultures or it could show that the UK never felt there was much in it. Though they did at least go to the trouble of having the photographs looked at.

Another fun note from the above story: the fake pictures were taken four days after the airing of a TV show, My Three Sons, "in which a youngster stirs his home city by getting some UFO pictures" - something which a newspaper noted at the time, but which the brothers denied having seen.

Any volunteers for searching the 1990 UK TV guide? Only 4 channels to go at. :)
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
The big difference is the amount of time put into it by the US military compared to the UK's rather uninterested approach. No site visit, no exact location recorded, no follow up with the witnesses (as far as we know).

Could be indicative of the two different cultures or it could show that the UK never felt there was much in it. Though they did at least go to the trouble of having the photographs looked at.

Is this hypothesis unrealistic?
  • MoD did talk further to the photographer and other witness
  • Hoax was admitted
  • An agreement was reached that the hoaxing wouldn't be publicised (the Jaroslaw case is a good example of the stresses this can bring)
  • The whole thing was consigned to the bin of history and, apart from the blow-up on Nick Pope's wall, forgotten about, until he brought it back alive with his book
If this is the case, unless the witnesses have grown into goofy middle-aged men who think the whole thing is just a laugh and that there's no shame or drawback in admitting to a silly backfiring prank all these years later, it's probably the end of the road for the Calvine photo - ie, "unidentified but probably faked".
 

Duke

Active Member
I distinctly remember the Jaroslaw brothers' UFO story when it broke. I was 10 at the time, and it was the first UFO case that got my attention. I had gone to an open house/airshow at SAFB the previous spring, so I knew the area where it occurred.
 
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Domzh

Active Member
:

1667931246071.png

Newspaper prints:

1667931834193.png

Major Nyls' recreation:

1667931306133.png
see? this is exactly what i meant. we look at it at a 90 degree angle, no bottom exposed.

the angle is completely off if watched from the side and below.

this is my main issue with the calvine photograph. we look at the craft without seeing its bottom side.

this doesnt has to mean anything if something is flying, but if its hovering we can reasonably assume its level with the ground.

isnt this a major argument, if not 99% proof for a model in front of the camera?!

im not concluding, its a question. maybe im completely wrong here?
 

Rory

Senior Member.
see? this is exactly what i meant. we look at it at a 90 degree angle, no bottom exposed.

the angle is completely off if watched from the side and below.

this is my main issue with the calvine photograph. we look at the craft without seeing its bottom side.

Interesting: I don't remember hearing that point made before. But, yes, that makes sense.

What we see appears basically flat, as though it was either 2D or close to the camera (or both). But if it was a hundred feet away and a hundred feet up we should see at least a part of the bottom, right?
 

Duke

Active Member
see? this is exactly what i meant. we look at it at a 90 degree angle, no bottom exposed.

the angle is completely off if watched from the side and below.

this is my main issue with the calvine photograph. we look at the craft without seeing its bottom side.

this doesnt has to mean anything if something is flying, but if its hovering we can reasonably assume its level with the ground.

isnt this a major argument, if not 99% proof for a model in front of the camera?!

im not concluding, its a question. maybe im completely wrong here?
Not following you. There is no bottom of an inverted cone or pyramid except for where it comes to a point. There are sloping sides, but not a bottom.

43856.png
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Another case for your scrapbook Dave, curiously reminiscent of Calvine:

I didn't know whether to reply with "great minds think alike" or "You beat me to it"! Obviously, we both checked out the new activity on the old thread about fake UFOs at the Dome of the Rock and found the link to Howstuffworks.com and got introduced to the Jaroslaw brothers. Here is some of their other work:

1667941452745.png

Fun sidenote, the blog I found this picture on sums up the case the way you did but leaves off the hoax part. It just ends:

This officer was quoted as saying they were "the best I've ever seen." Nevertheless Blue Book, seizing on the fact that they'd been denied the originals, slapped an "insufficient data" tag on the case. Dr. Hynek, however, was impressed with the photos and thought the chance of a hoax having been perpretrated was "unlikely.
Content from External Source
https://www.ufosightingsdaily.com/2015/01/this-day-in-ufo-history-jan-9-1967-ufo.html?spref=pi

No hoax here.

The big difference in the two cases is the amount of time put into it by the US military compared to the UK's rather uninterested approach. No site visit, no exact location recorded, no follow up with the witnesses (as far as we know).

Could be indicative of the two different cultures or it could show that the UK never felt there was much in it. Though they did at least go to the trouble of having the photographs looked at.

In the UKs case, they were given the original negatives, supposedly. This part of the story always confused me. Someone manages to get 6 photos of a hovering UFO with military jets nearby, then sends their originals to the paper which then sends them off to the MoD, so they can then get lost somewhere in all of that. Doesn't sound right.

But assuming the MoD got some sort of negatives and determined they weren't a big deal, they may have had no need to go up to Calvine and have a look around. Also, it sounds like the "UFO desk" as Pope calls it, was a few civil servants that did a number of tasks, with UFO collection just one of them. In contrast the US had Project Bluebook running at the time specifically to look into UFO sightings.

I think the more interesting parallels are:

1. UFO with some sort of foreground detail to create scale.
2. Photo(s) sent to the media.
3. Military involvement after media.
4. Multiple "experts", including photo experts being fooled by model on a string.

though I'd expect the internal MoD file to reflect the hoax admission, if it had happened that way

One would think. It could be argued that a hoax admission is linked with the name of the hoaxer/photographer and their name is being kept secret for privacy.

As I mentioned above somewhere, if the photo is a hoax, then some or all of the back story may be a hoax. Some long since gone reporter may have made a phone call or tried to visit the sight and quickly learned the story didn't add up so it was dropped. And the MoD wouldn't have made any notes about it being a hoax, as they had decided the photos where of no interest.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
What we see appears basically flat, as though it was either 2D or close to the camera (or both). But if it was a hundred feet away and a hundred feet up we should see at least a part of the bottom, right?
We don't know the 'true' shape of the object in 3D. Considered as a flat 2D 'cut-out', it is approximately a rhombus (diamond shape) with equal parallel sides, but (unlike a square or rectangle) with one pair of opposite angles greater than 90 degrees and the other pair less. Note the qualification 'approximately', because the sides have some odd lumps or notches in them, and the right extremity ends in a kind of 'knob'. (No sniggering at the back of the class, please.)

If in fact it is a photograph of a 3D object (whether a small model or a large flying or floating object), many different 3D shapes could produce this 2D image. The 'Christmas tree star' on its side gave a remarkably good match. But it could also be a flattened spindle shape, with a circular 'plan' if viewed from above or below. Or an octohedron. Or any number of more complicated shapes, though arguably the more complicated it is, the less likely it is for a random photo to have the observed symmetry of the image.

The main visual clue to the true 3D shape is the apparent shading of the upper and lower halves of the image. The upper half is lighter than the lower half, with the division between them almost exactly a straight line bisecting the 2D image. (Some people detect differences of shading within each half, but I find it difficult to rule out mere random blotches.)

If this division is due to shading of light falling on an object really symmetrical around its midline, the symmetry of shading needs to be explained, as from most viewpoints the shading would not appear symmetrical in a perspective view. It could be either an object flying horizontally with the viewpoint on the same level as its horizontal axis - which is difficult when the object is in the air and the camera is on the ground! - or it could be flying with a 'banked' angle which happens to line up with the viewpoint. This requires a suspicious coincidence. But it could also be just too far from the camera for any slight asymmetry of shading to be detectable in a poor-quality image.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Not following you. There is no bottom of an inverted cone or pyramid except for where it comes to a point. There are sloping sides, but not a bottom.

43856.png
The curvature of the base line provides perspective information.
20221108_223902.jpg

For the Jagoslaw pictures, that line is slightly (and differently!) curved in each picture, for Calvine it is straight.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
this is my main issue with the calvine photograph. we look at the craft without seeing its bottom side.
What we see appears basically flat, as though it was either 2D or close to the camera (or both). But if it was a hundred feet away and a hundred feet up we should see at least a part of the bottom, right?
But if it is either (1) a reflection in water or (2) a bottom that isn't flat in shape (as @Duke mentions), you wouldn't be seeing the recognizably flat bottom that you seem to be expecting. And there is no reason that a craft in the air would be expected to look different in that respect from a fake model on a string.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
What we see appears basically flat, as if it was either 2D
Possibly...

or close to the camera (or both). But if it was a hundred feet away and a hundred feet up we should see at least a part of the bottom, right?
I don't think I can agree on that... angle seems important, ie are you looking up at it from below whether it is big and far away or small and close, or are you on the same level looking straight at the side, but I can't see how distance comes into play.

Edit; dumb typos fixed, blame old person typing on phone...
 
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Duke

Active Member
The curvature of the base line provides perspective information.
20221108_223902.jpg

For the Jagoslaw pictures, that line is slightly (and differently!) curved in each picture, for Calvine it straight.
I get that, but we know the Jaroslaw photos used a 3D model, and multiple photographs of it were taken showing differing locations/attitudes. Those photos were published and are in the public domain.

While multiple photographs of the Calvine "craft" were taken, we do not know a 3D model was used, and only one of the photos is available. If we saw another/the rest of the Calvine photos, might that offer a different perspective to that baseline?

With respect to @Domzh, I think this is a reach comparing something we know very little about to an event for which we have the backstory.
 

Duke

Active Member
The possibility of the Calvine "craft" having been possibly 2D or flat has been mentioned. I find that less likely than a 3D model simply because I think military photo interpreters/analysts would spot that without too much difficulty.
Differentiating between 2D and 3D photographic images has been around since WW1 for bomb damage assessment (BDA) and identifying the true nature of built up of enemy force structures.

In the lead up to D-Day, the US and UK knew 2D spoofs wouldn't work to confuse the Germans. As a result, they spent huge amounts of money and resources to produce 3D counterfeit tanks, trucks, landing craft, and other decoys for the Luftwaffe to photograph and analyze. Probably the best known of the decoys were inflatable tanks.

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https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/d-days-parachuting-dummies-and-inflatable-tanks
 
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