Janet’s Article About the Photograph of the Engagement Ring Crop Circle Being a Hoax is Wrong

Peter Sørensen    2012 09 18 

I am troubled to have to disagree with an article written by my long-time friend Janet Ossebaard, entitled “LIVE FROM THE UK: THE HOPELESS HOAX,” claiming that the photograph of the “Engagement Ring” crop formation was manipulated using PhotoShop to make it look better than it actually was.  

She has been photographing the crop circles nearly as long as my twenty years, and probably using PhotoShop for as long as me, so I am bewildered that she could be so wrong about this photo.   

The formation in question was constructed with farmer James Hussey’s permission on the night of the first of September near Uffcott, in Wiltshire.  The design consists of a ring 70 meters in diameter with a diamond inside it and LAURA spelled out above the diamond.  There was also a smaller circle with a question mark below the ring. 

To see Janet’s entire article and images, go to: http://www.circularsite.com/gedachten141-eng.htm

She believes she has spotted several alterations made to the photograph including “black lines” in the diamond, in addition she says that curved lines have been added to the shading inside the ring, and tweaking or reshaping of the letters to make them look better. She also believes that the entire photo was warped and stretched to make it appear as if taken from directly above.  None of which are correct. 

First of all I must say that I cannot even be sure what black lines she thinks have been added to the image, because I can’t find any suspicious lines.  A line made by with a PhotoShop tool would be perfectly smooth, and there are no such lines in the image.  All the dark lines are shadows on the edges of standing crop, and are obviously rough as a result of the individual standing plants along the edges. 

She also mentions black dots, but those are also shadows, all of which are caused by uneven clumps of standing stems.

As for the addition of curved shading lines in the ring, she says: Obviously, more arcs had been added by means of Photoshop in order to make the whole thing look more impressive!  

Well, the way to add such lines would be to repeatedly “clone” an existing line (with a slight adjustment in its length).  Doing so would result in tell-tale identical details in the clone which are not difficult to spot if one looks closely.  There are none in the photo whatsoever.  Each line is unique, thus made in the field.   

Janet’s evidence for tweaking of the letters is more difficult to dismiss with words.  However one thing she points out looks at first glance like evidence of cloning to fill in the space between the parallel sides of the first A at the bottom.  She say this was done by copying and pasting a rectangular area from elsewhere.  But on close inspection this is evidently not the case (see image below).  Cloning would result in a hard edge (or a blur) to the cloned area.  What is seen is a walk line in the crop which I guess she has mistaken for the edge of the cloned patch. 

Here is Laura’s name from the original photo at 100% resolution with no PhotoShop except an arrow added to point out two individual stalks to show the sharpness of the image.


She also assumes that the entire photo was warped and stretched to make it look like it was taken from directly above.  She says this was done because it’s very difficult to take such a shot.  Again I am utterly bewildered that she would say such a thing!  I always taken pictures like that almost every time I flew over a circle.  I called them “diagram shots,” and no stretching is needed at all.   

I’ll admit diagram shots require a bit of effort, but they are not very difficult to shoot.  You have to ask your pilot to fly over the circle so that you pass right over the middle of it, and then click your camera at that moment — which might require a few tries.  (This is impossible in a low-winged plane, and quite tricky if a high-winged plane has wing struts in the way.) 

If the reader is not experienced with PhotoShop I suppose you might feel that my disputes are just a matter of judgment, and it’s simply my word against hers.  Fair enough.  But I assure you that I haven’t a flicker of doubt. 

I wonder if perhaps Janet was taken aback by the high quality of this large formation, causing her to grasp for straws to preserve her belief that people can not make great circles.  Since formations of much lower quality than this one are often accepted by researchers as being not of human origin, therefore accepting this as a well made construction would require setting the bar much higher for everything else. 

Oh, by the way, Laura’s boyfriend took her on a flight over the circle before she knew what she would see.  I’m happy to report that she accepted the proposal!

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