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