Is This Picture Too Good to be True?

Is This Picture Too Good to be True?

Since he posted this image on his facebook profile, Shawn Heinrich's image has drawn a lot of attention. Many have stated the the shot is just a little too perfect to have happened all at once. Upon first glance, what do you think?

According to Shawn, who was off the coast of Isla Mujeres when he took the the picture, this shot was the product of good timing, patience, and a lot of technical know-how. As a huge advocate against the killing of sharks for their fins, Shawn spends a lot of time shooting in the ocean and has gotten a fair amount of experience in situations like this.  This is how he described getting the shot.

"The water was calm that day and the whale shark encounters were off the charts. I saw the sharks passing close to our boat so I swam back and waited. To get a shot like this requires a lot of technical know-how and experience because focusing on an object above and below the water at the same time is challenging."

"Also, getting the horizon line level and water off the lens is an exercise in patience and determination. Go for it and see what comes up."

Well, Shawn, props for taking an awesome image!

 

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34 Comments

This is perfect !!

the guy without the shirt ruins it....

Elliott Montello's picture

Is hard to tell, I mean its a wicked photo non the less. But the only thing concerning me is that the water line along the lens it's soft in some parts as if the smudge tool had been used or it has been feathered and then the line is sharp in other parts...I'm not sure. If it is a fake and a brilliant one at that :)

Tam Nguyen's picture

*Nonetheless* 

Elliott Montello's picture

Thanks...not. Give me a break English isn't my first language. Ben Deho!

M's picture

 Bandejo? I guess spanish isn't your first language either lol

 LOL!!!

Elliott Montello's picture

Oh dear...I should really check what a write, I hate the way iPad corrects your words some times. And besides I'm from Argentina and I suffer from dyslexia yet I still try my best to write in English so why am I being ridiculed on for my spelling? No one even fucking bothered to comment back about my original comment on the photo. So just FUCK OFF YOU BUNCH OF CUNTS.

Tam Nguyen's picture

^ classy.

Tam Nguyen's picture

I didn't know he was calling me an ass until you pointed out haha. Shows how much I don't care.

Awesome.

If you were going to fake it, wouldn't you make the whole whale visible?

Just sayin,

Tam Nguyen's picture

I haven't done this myself, so I guess I can't say much, but focusing doesn't sound like that big of a problem if your aperture is small enough, no?

Mark Kauzlarich's picture

The biggest problem is going to be not getting too close to the foreground subject. You want to achieve the effect of having the whale seem much larger without forcing your foreground subject to be so close that it makes the background out of focus. 

Additionally, it would be easier with a wide angle lens, which is what we're seeing here, but the boat and whale must be somewhat close to each other because otherwise you'd have the boat look particularly small. Theres a lot of issues with perspective you have to deal with.

Tam Nguyen's picture

I wasn't talking about POV and perspective and stuff. I was only talking about the focusing issues that the photographer raised. "To get a shot like this requires a lot of technical know-how and experience because focusing on an object above and below the water at the same time is challenging."

M's picture

 Yeah, that seemed to strike me as a bit of technical bs too, to throw the rubes off his trail. 

This seems like it could be legit, but wow... I'd really like to see him top that shot. 

He could easily release the first few images from this series, and we could easily tell if they were shopped or not.  Of course he won't though, for whatever 'reasons'.

he probably had the camera on burst mode and this one turned out just right ...I belive it's real

Jonathan Hayes's picture

I have no idea whether it's real or not, but I doubt it was the only shot he did while down there - he could silence any debate by putting up some of the other roughly contemporaneous images from the shoot.

Inverve's picture

If it was a fake then the fish would have a face. Swiming towards the camera. That would be a better "Photo". This must be real as it's awesome! Not the technically challenging. The water seams calm. I'd give it to him.

★✰★P.S. 32★✰★'s picture

cool shot... i don't care if it's fake or not.

Eddie11's picture

Fake or real, it's a great effort. Fake doesn't mean it has to show the face or the whole whale or anything else. To make something not fake, you would obviously think of things like that.

If it is real, LOTS of patience is necessary and also some luck. 
The best part for me is the water line. There must have been some good exercise to get it done right.

KGB's picture

Lets see the shots just before this one and just after.
I doubt, if it's real, that he only took one shot.

Barry Glassman's picture

I completely agree.  It's so perfect, I'd like to see the shots that were close, but not as perfect.

"I have no idea whether it's real or not, but I doubt it was the only shot he did while down there - he could silence any debate by putting up some of the other roughly contemporaneous images from the shoot."

Why would he want to silence the debate?  It's amazing coverage and exposure for him as a photographer! 

And just for the record... I'm going with "little or no photoshop" on this one. Well done Shawn  :)

I've seen enough split image photos to be confident that this is possible. You just need to be in the right place at the right time and now your $hit. It doesn't look fake to me at all. I say, "good work" to the maker. This is tough to pull off. 

I hate that in this day and age, the first reaction to an amazing image like this is not "wow, that's an amazing image," but "it must be fake." If there is evidence to show that this shot is fake, then let's hear it. Otherwise shaddup. This shot looks perfectly achievable to me, especially given the photographer's own explanation of how he did it.

M's picture

 I hate that in this day and age, the first reaction to an *unlikely* image
like this is not "wow, that's an amazing, yet incredibly unlikely image," but "it may have been photoshopped with the ease of digital retouching nowadays."

Fixed for ya bro.

"If there is evidence to show that this shot is fake, then let's hear it.
Otherwise shaddup. This shot looks perfectly achievable to me,
especially given the photographer's own explanation of how he did it. "

Read above.  Look at his images before and after this one.  You are not the only person on the planet with an opinion, though we are glad your highness has once and for all decided for everyone else what they should think.  Thank you once again bro.

M's picture

  Addendum: I'm sure you would have believed these were real till the day you died, if you lived in the 1920's. http://www.cottingleyconnect.org.uk/girlfairy.jpg

My concern is the light rays either side of the shark...shouldn't they be angling the opposite way? ie. each light ray coming from a single small point of light - the sun...still, its a great shot...

Jens Marklund's picture

I saw this photo the other day, and was thinking the exact same thing as the headline. Respect if it is real.

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