One possible explanation of truly unremarkable photograph.
This summer it’s hardly seemed that a week has gone by without there being yet another eminently debatable photo claiming to be Nessie reported in the national press.
There is a simple reason for this, the journalists involved are not trying to convince the world that we indeed do have large unidentified animals swimming about in this particular Scottish loch, not at all. Their motivation is to fill column inches.
Whether the picture is good or bad they do not care, so long as someone is prepared to be quoted as saying that they believe they have photographed Nessie, than that’s good enough for some of the national press.
Print and be damned.
In some ways it’s a good thing, it keeps this mystery in the public eye. It’s certainly great for the papers to have such an easy story to fill those miles of pages, but ultimately I believe it only does damage to this subject because week in, week out anyone who thinks the whole thing is just dreamt up to fuel a multi million pound tourism industry, looks at the latest offering and laughs.
And I can’t blame them.
The things I’ve seen lately preporting to be Nessie range from a boat wake, to a boat, wind on the water and even mud on a window. Ultimately it makes us all look stupid for falling for such nonsense.
Luckily, occasionally there comes along a photo which actually does warrant some investigation, such as young Charlotte Robinson’s image that I reported on here recently.
However, more often than not it is not worthy of much consideration.
Take the latest, a photograph taken on Dores Beach, right along from my van on Wednesday September 5th by a Dr Dipak Ram.
When I first saw the article on line my heart sank,
“here we go again’.
At worst nothing but a wave, at best a piece of wood. Only a few feet from the beach, it held no interest to me, certainly not the back of any animal that I’ve been waiting nearly three decades to photograph.
This weekend I looked again at the picture, and pondered whether it could be a known object?
Not just any object, specifically the piece of driftwood that I picked up two days after the photo was taken on Friday 7th, from what I estimate to be the exact same spot on the beach,as the original picture was taken from.
…. This piece of wood.
So today I donned my chest waders, retrieved the suspect log from my wood pile, and set it afloat.
Here’s the third picture I snapped of it.
Now bear in mind one or two details about this log…. when I found it it was sodden, it had obviously been submerged for a long time in the loch, very heavy, and black with water and mould.
It then spent ten days on my log pile drying out.
So now when I put it in the loch again, firstly it looks much lighter in colour, and secondly it floats much higher in the water. It now weighs half what it did when I found it.
Also i must admit that my log is a great deal closer to the shore than whatever is in the original image.
That is not so much in the interests of accuracy, as in the interests of not losing my newly found piece of winter firewood just in the name of research.
This photo as well as showing the location where I found the log, also shows clearly that driftwood is in very short supply on this beach this autumn.
Here’s a detail of one end of it to give some idea of the amount of algae on it even after so long drying.
Note the colour change of the log after only being back in the water for less than ten minutes, substantially darker.
And contrary to popular belief, no flippers, but she does seem to have sprouted little legs!
I am not saying that this is definitely what is in the original photo, I am just saying it could be.
….. THE NEXT DAY….
There’s been a bit of a disaster.
Late last night, in the driving rain, I took my log down to the shore, and heaved it back into the loch.
I did this in the name of research, to demonstrate that when sodden with water this log is pretty much jet black.
The disaster this morning is that my log has vanished.
I have walked the length of the beach in search of it, but no sign.
The way the wind and rain was coming in last night I was sure it would be lying on the water line, black as a black thing, heavy as stone.
But nope, nothing.
I can only assume that it has sunk back down to the loch bed.
Divers tell me that just 50 feet off of the beach there is a band of tangled driftwood on the bottom, looking to all the world like an elephant graveyard. Driftwood pushed into Dores by the prevailing wind gets trapped in this corner of the Loch. Once the wind that has bought it here subsides the wood has nowhere to go. It remains floating in the bay, but ultimately when it becomes too waterlogged it just sinks to the bottom. There it remains until a winter storm of sufficient strength stirs it from its resting place and heaves it up onto Dores Beach.
Black as black, heavy as stone.
My log was one of them.
I will recognise it when next it makes landfall, until then I guess I will have to just wait here for it.
Of course there is another possibility, someone else got to it this morning before I did, and had it away for their fire, that’s possible.
Anyway, here’s a photo of how innocent Loch Ness is looking this morning.
Last week I had an email from the German cruise company AIDA, asking if I would like to come on a boat trip on Loch Ness this Wednesday (tomorrow) with some of their VIP guests. To maybe give some kind of a talk, or just to mingle and meet.
I thought about it for a few days, but I really couldn’t see how it would work well for them, the reality being that if this boat trip is their once in a lifetime Loch Ness experience, then they really don’t want to spend their precious time on the water listening to my tales.
By the end of the week I emailed them back saying thanks but no thanks. Explaining my reservations.
Chancing my luck a wee bit, and knowing that this would never happen, I added a suggestion that maybe the best way to make it work would be to fly me to the port that they dock at one stop before loch Ness, welcome me on board, and then from there I could give a presentation about the Loch and my career hunting for Nessie, during the time spent at sea before arriving at Invergordon. Adding that this might be a good idea worth thinking about for next year.
Nice plan Steve, but they will never go for that you and I would be forgiven for thinking.
So, that email was sent late Friday afternoon. Stone me if two hours later they didn’t message back asking if I would fancy flying from Inverness to Belfast on Monday, joining the ship for two days, giving a talk, and then when tomorrow we land at Invergordon joining them for the afore mentioned boat ride up Loch Ness!
….. Paid of course!
Didn’t take me long to say “yes please, what a great idea”, silly not to seize the opportunity to have a mini cruise round the top of Scotland, who knows, maybe even spot some whales during my ‘deck time’, bit of fine dining, and back in Inverness on Wednesday afternoon in time for the tapas Bar happy hour.
So here I am.
Sat at the blunt end of the boat, German beer in hand, trying to spot whales. So far I’ve only managed a pod of about 15 dolphins, and two spouts of water that may or may not have been whale related.
So, to cut a long story short, in answer to people who occasionally ask,
No I don’t get bored.
Porpoise on the starboard bow! There she blows!
I would have willingly done the whole trip just for the spectacular views of the northern tip of the Isle of Skye. Here’s my favourite photo what I took…..
Three different realities of one Sunday morning.
An entertaining series of events happened this Sunday morning.
I had a prearranged appointment with a film crew from the Travel Channel, to film an interview for an upcoming episode of “mysteries in the museum “. The start time was to be 9.30am.
If they had turned up and commenced their work at that time then they would actually have been the very first film crew that I have ever had the pleasure of working with to be true to their plan. So I knew that 9.30am was only a holding time, a possible start point that in reality would never be when they intend to commence their filming.
Iam now totally happy with this actuality, and so was not at all put out when they rolled up at 10.30am, immediately explaining that before they were to start with me they would like to film a few establishing shots of the beach and the loch.
“Great, take your time, whenever your ready iam here”.
Whilst the crew of seven , plus two drivers set about rigging up their two professional looking cameras I continued to potter about my van in the usual manner.
It was a mighty windy morning, the loch was transformed from its often sedate self into a sea of white horses and spray, not what I would have hoped for the Travel Channel to witness, but that’s not my department, the loch will be as the loch wants to be, take it or leave it.
As I continued to potter a french man in a wetsuit poked his head in my already open van door….
“Excuse me misour, we wish to kite surf here , is it okay for us to do this?”
“Of course, feel free, the middle of the beach will give you easiest access to the water, less sharp rocks, steeper angle into the water, you should be fine half way along the beach.”
I had two reasons for offering this good advice, firstly it would be a much better experience for them not to have to stagger into the water immediately in front of my van ,where the angle is very shallow, and the rocks are indeed nightmarish on your feet, but also in the back of my mind I thought , well I doubt my film crew will appreciate you getting in their way.
There were two french kite surfers, they looked to me like father and son, but I will never know because I never got to speak to them again.
if I had the opportunity to speak to them I would have congratulated them on such a spectacular display of aerobatics.
I will never know if whilst they prepared their kit in the car park they became aware of the cameras, tripods, sound booms and associated paraphernalia that disgorged out of the backs of two blacked out people carriers… or whether it was pure coincidence that right in front of me, and my van, they preformed some of the most impressive acrobatics that I can remember seeing. They may well have felt egged on by the cameras ,now set up low on the shore, filming across the turbulent water. They could certainly see the camera crew, and as a passersby from the village commented to me, as we both watched on in jaw dropping admiration ,
…”is the camera crew with them?”
“No, their with me”
I like to think that the two french men put on the show of their lifetime, with just a little eye towards the apparently attentive film crew.
I was enthralled, I had my camera out, and took their display as a golden opportunity to practice photographing fast moving objects over water, an opportunity that in nearly three decades of watching this body of water I have rarely had. I can’t remember seeing kite surfers here before, and certainly I would have remembered if anyone ever reached the ridiculous Heights that these two reached!
An hour later, myself and my Travel Channel film crew had moved inside my van to film the interview.
Whilst the sound man miked me up, the lighting guy masked out some of the harsher pools of light coming in through my windows, and after the director had found happy positions for both the cameramen, all of which was carried out in an extremely relaxed, matter of fact way….unsurprising really considering the amount of occasions when they have set up for just such a shot in the past, theirs being a very long running show…apparently. I casually posed a question to the director,
“So, did you get any shots of that amazing display out there earlier?”
No! Absolutely not, they were in the way, they don’t quite fit with the image we are looking for for loch ness”
Why do I think of these chain of events as three different perspectives of the same morning?
Because I had an overwhelming feeling, different to either of theirs, that both activities, the kite surfers and the film crew, had been laid on for my mild entertainment.
Welcome to my brand new, all singing, all dancing website.
For many years I have had a website, first was “Haveyouseenityet@hotmail.co.uk.”,
And later this turned into “Nessiehunter.com”.
My frustration has always been not being able to directly interact with it, but instead having to go through someone else.
For many years now my brother ,Martin, has taken on the thankless task of trying to act upon my instructions, to some degree this was successful, but of late everything had ground to a halt.
As of today I have full control of my brand new website, which has been painstakingly created over the last few weeks by Evan Couture of Avionroe. I certainly can’t thank Evan enough for all his creativity and guidance.
So, my hope is that through the blog section of this site, and the photo gallery, and videos, I can grow into passing on all my new thoughts and findings here, rather than other places like Facebook where any posts are swamped in a sea of random unrelated topics.
If you are here and reading this then you are interested enough to maybe hear what iam saying….hopefully.
Anyway, I was handed the keys to this site this afternoon, and I suppose really this blog post is a bit of a test flight as to whether I understood Evans instructions or not.
….when I have something interesting to share I will be back.
All the best.
Over the past few weeks this photo has appeared on the Internet, and has attracted quite a lot of speculation.
Here’s the anonymous witnesses description of what he says happened…
I am writing this under a pseudonym. I am an American working in a field involving considerable professional scrutiny. The one time I discussed this, at a family holiday party after a few drinks, I was laughed at and ribbed for the next few years, so I can only imagine how my present employers might react!
In March of 2006, I visited Loch Ness with my then girlfriend. It was the last week of the month (either the 28th or 29th). We were at Inverness for business purposes, hers not mine. We decided to visit the famous castle on the water and as we drove from Inverness we saw something in the water.
The time was late afternoon, I would say between four and five. We’d been day drinking which made driving on the other side of the car even more interesting than it already was! It also somewhat compromises the specific details such as precise location and time.
When my girlfriend began exclaiming that “there’s something in the water,” I laughed and said she was joking. Finally I realised she was being serious and pulled off to a lay by somewhere near the Clansman hotel (I remember because we went in afterwards to the gift shop to tell everyone what we had seen). As soon as I pulled over, my girlfriend was pointing at the water and I saw it.
I can’t really judge size on water, its not my speciality, but it was HUGE. It looked like a whale. I would say it was grey like an elephant with a neck that was swinging side to side over the water. That was really what it looked like, an elephant waving its trunk. There was a huge commotion in the water behind it. The thing was just massive. It was swimming back toward Inverness the way we came.
My girlfriend was fumbling to get her camera out of luggage in the back seat before the monster was gone. She was tipsy and we were both shaking. She finally got it out of her bag and took a picture through the car window. We were so shaken up that neither of us thought to roll down the window. She tried to take another snap but her memory card was full, and as she fumbled to delete sightseeing pictures to make more room, it was gone. It just sort of went down while it continued swimming toward Inverness.
In retrospect I wish we had taken photos of the water afterward which was quite disturbed, but it wasn’t until I began reading up on the subject that I realised it might have been of value. We took the picture to the gift shop and the lady at the counter told us to go the exhibition centre to show it, but we got cold feet and just went back to the hotel at Inverness and drank some more. When we got back to the States, we put it on the computer and pretty much never looked at it again or even talked about the experience. It was almost like we felt guilty.
My girlfriend and I long ago broke up and I have since married, and the one time I told my wife (it was the holiday party at her family’s house), the response was so embarrassing that whenever she jokes about “that time Justin saw Nessie,” I just sort of laugh it off.
I just found the picture last week on a CD rom containing files I removed from my ex’s computer before I moved out following the breakup. It was in a folder with 90s alternative rock mp3s! I hadn’t looked at it in years and while the quality isn’t great considering it was just a point and shoot she’d owned for a couple years, it still made my heart skip a beat. Seeing it again caused me a sleepless night because I am sure I saw something that isn’t supposed to exist, and over the years I sort of talked myself out of it (too much beer that day, etc). Now its all back again, and I feel a little shaky.
It wasn’t a pleasant experience, even though there was no threat of physical harm.
I am not a Loch Ness Monster enthusiast and know as much as the average person. I didn’t care about it and certainly wasn’t looking for it. Same with my ex. All I have is the photo, taken through the passengers side window (slight camera reflection) showing a dark body and neck low over the water.
A few days ago I drove round to the Clansman hotel on the other side of Loch Ness, and armed with the photograph set about trying to line it up exactly.
Luckily, unlike some other pictures of nessie there is enough information in the photo to make this entirely possible.
On the photo I have marked details C,D and E. Lining features C and D up correctly with the background is quite easy for anyone to do, you merely need the tree ‘C’ to line up at exactly the right spot along the wall behind it, and for the tree and shrubbery ‘D’ to line up midway between the two white cottages behind ithat. Then get the right width of field ‘E’, the higher up you go the wider that field will look.
Once you have found the point where those three details match the picture , then you are in the exact location that the photograph was taken from.
Here is part of a photo taken from my car window in the car park of the clansman hotel. Unfortunately the objects C & D do not line up, and the field appears too thin
So I walked south from the clansman.
Here is the next lay by, and the clearest view through its foliage. There is no possible way that the photo was taken from here, no matter how much anyone might want it to be. The whole lay by suffers from heavy foliage.
In fact the two objects C& D do line up here, if you could see them, but the field is still too thin.
This is where we have to leave the original statement behind, and start looking for the truth elsewhere…
Up above on the hillside is the Loch Ness Lodge and holiday cottages.
I walked around the grounds up there for a bit, getting nearer and nearer to an exact match. Turns out the perfect match is found here at Ness Side Cottage, that big lounge window to be precise.
Luckily, whilst I was working all this out I spotted that the holidaying tenant was sat in that lounge watching me, presumably wondering why I was stood right up against his front garden hedge holding my tablet high in the air.
I introduced myself, and the kind gentleman from Hull actually invited me in to check out the view through the window.
Now, from inside I could see that not only did objects C & D line up with the back ground but also the two trees A&B in the foreground were there having grown a bit, the hedge in the bottom right of my photo is new, tree (B) can just be seen poking up behind it.
And the visible width of the field (E) was right.
It’s possible that the window used was actually the bedroom window, to the left of the lounge, but as I was only invited in by chance I didn’t push my luck by asking to take a photo through the bedroom window.
Most inportantly the far shore all lines up, and the width of the field from top to bottoman matches the original. This cannot happen from down at the roadside.
Just to make it quite clear…. the original picture can only line up precisely with one place, the place where it was taken from.
This detail cannot be up for debate, and it wasn’t a lay by down on the loch side, (no matter how much some people wish it could be).
So, this has to be the spot from which the photograph was taken, not as reported from the passenger window of a car in a lay by, that is not possible.
There are two reflections in the original photo, one is the reflection of the camera itself, but there is another one to the right of that.
Looking back into the room, I noticed the window in the back wall of the cottage, which with the lounge door ajar causes a corresponding reflection on the window.
Here I would like to clarify that in the original photo the white disturbance a short distance to the left of the object ‘in the water’ to me looks most likely to be a further part of this reflection in the room, possibly something on that coffee table catching the light.
The final piece of the mystery was what had actually been photographed.
I went outside and got a small piece of dark mud. The kind gentleman was more than happy for me to smear this onto his lounge window, and line up a picture. I would say that the piece of mud was about 3mm x 3mm, I did not wait for a boat to pass to line it up over the wake, mainly because I thought that I had already intruded enough. However, I did note that the wake in the original matches that caused by any one of the Jacobite cruise ships that come in and out of the clansman harbor.
My speck of mud was pressed onto the glass rather hard, and also involved a small amount of spit to wet it enough to stick, giving it more of a blur/smudge than the blob in the original photo, plus the original blob would have in all likelihood been on the outside of the glass.
I didn’t have time to shape my blob of mud to make it look similar to the original blob. In fact my blob looks if anything more like a duck.
Iam not trying to prove that there is a twenty foot long black duck in Loch Ness, I am merely trying to solve what actually happened relating to this anonymous persons photograph.
I could have delved deeper by finding out who was renting ness side cottage on that particular week eleven years ago, but I am content with my explanation as it is, and can file this photograph away as an attempt to fake a picture of Nessie, at least this time the faker used the right loch.
His picture could not have been obtained in anything like the manner he alledged, you could not get his image from any car window.
This picture was taken through this window that is provable, and I believe my explanation as to how he did it makes the most likely sense.
I’d like to thank the kind gentleman from Hull who let me into his house so happily, and also Dick Raynor who very early on in the debate about the photographers location worked out that he was up at the Ness Cottages holiday homes.
If you have the time to wade through that debate it’s on “the loch ness mystery blog”, it gives a very good idea of how various people look differently at the same evidence, rarely all seeing the same thing, and often only seeing what they want or hope to see.
I have always said that when investing Loch Ness the absolute minimum requirement is an open mind, things are very often not what they at first appear to be.
(I remain not a ‘skeptic’.)
So, due to the slight possibility that some people might not be able to visualise my explanation, it seems a demonstration is in order.
So this morning I have gone back round to the holiday cottage, armed with a blob of Fimo modeling clay which I happened to have (dark grey, I had no black). Unfortunately the Tennant of the holiday cottage was out this time.
Luckily today it is the technique that iam looking at, not the location.
I found another vantage point, a lay by a few miles south, that is roughly the same height above the loch as the cottage, stuck my Fimo to the car window, and waited.
I am working on the theory that the part of my explanation that needs demonstrating is the fact that a small blob can cover a large boat, wakes can vary immensely from the same boat due to different water conditions. Today I do not think that the water was exactly the same as the original photo.
First along was the Jacobite warrior…
That is a big boat hidden behind a small blob. Not happy with the wake?
Next was a caley cruiser,
nice and sharp nessie but the wakes not really very good because the boats too far out, and in all probability too small.
Next I went along to the upstairs bar of the Clansman.
I admit my blob here wasn’t so sculpted, that was because within less than a minute of sitting down at the window, the first boat came into view, so I only had time to make a rough shape.
I am not saying here that my particular blob on the window would fool anybody for a minute, my intention is to demonstrate that a small blob can easily hide the presence of a very large boat, something that when I at first proposed this theory was considered proposterous by some.
And here the wakes were slightly clearer.
The new jacobite boat…
And another caley cruiser.
So , as this experiment shows, it is very easy to make a small blob cover a big boat.
Not so easy to make an identical blob to that in the original photo.
Various amounts of blur will be down to the two different cameras used, size of blob and distance from the camera.
The actual boat wake involved?
I am confident that a wake matching the original is produced most often by the Jacobite Queen, biggest, oldest and heaviest of Fredas fleet, and that particular boat passes the spot where the original photo was taken at least four times every day.
Here she is, too far out for comparison on her run up to the castle, however, on her return trip she always passes much closer to the shore.
Try and look at her wake.
In conclusion I suggest that the original photograph had to have been taken from, or very near to the lounge window of Ness Side Cottage, that is beyond dispute to me.
Whoever this holiday maker was I can only guess as to whether he spent ages sculpting his nessie shape on that window, but if he did then to me he chose quite an unnatural shape and height out of the water, or that in a moment of bordom/mischief he spotted some small mark on the glass, bird poo for instance, and seeing the potential, lined up his camera and snapped away.
We will never know if he spent all afternoon trying to perfect it, or got it bang on first shot.
We will however, always know that his whole tale of how he obtained this image is a complete and utter pack of lies, that starts to unravel when you understand that he had to be in that house.
This is my best guess as to what is in this photo.
Sorry if I have come across at all during this as ‘arsy’ or antagonistic,
I do find it very hard to deal with intrenched attitudes either for or against Nessie’s existence .
This is why you rarely find me in or on forums, unless there is some new piece of evidence.
An open mind remains the one vital thing here.
Thank you for considering this theory…. And demonstration.
(And maybe, reserve any critical analysis until you have undertaken three vital things…
A) go and look at the amount of foliage in the relevent lay by, and see if from there all the points on the far shore line up, which they don’t.
B) take a copy of the original picture with you and walk about until you are happy with your own trigonometry, after all there is only one place that this photo actually lines up, and that therefore must be the location from where the picture was taken.
C) treat evidence with an open mind.
Otherwise what’s the point?
Hopefully this assessment covers all the aspects of how this photo was taken, and gives a comprehensive explanation of how this anonymous person forged this nessie .
I am aware that the most hard nosed of believers might cling to the defence of the picture that we cannot see whether there is a tree behind the conifer hedge that matches the tree in the righthand forgound of the original photo.
So….. I went back to the location the other day, and went out on the loch in a boat in order to photograph the holiday cottage from the water. This picture shows clearly the trees that are now not seen from the cottage due to the hedge, but can still be seen from the water.
Conclusion is, the trees in the original photo are still there.