Saturday, January 10, 2015

Florida "Bathing Bigfoot" Photographed

A Florida man claims that he photographed the legendary Bigfoot a few weeks ago while on a fishing trip. The photograph has been making the rounds on the Internet, receiving varying degrees of scrutiny. The picture is extremely clear, one of the least blurry that I've come across. But some experts who have examined it claim that it shows evidence of digital tampering. The blown-up photo is shown above.

The Bigfoot photo was sent by a 66-year-old retired electrician named John Rodriguez, who said he captured the startling image while out fishing the Hillsborough River near Tampa, Florida, on December 26. According to Rodriguez, the Bigfoot creature was making its way through the water before lowering down, at which point Rodriguez took the shot.

“I fish for gar in the river and I bring my camera to take pictures of the birds and what not. I heard a squishing sound, looked over and saw this thing walking through the water and crouch down in the duck weed. It did not look like a guy in a suit — it was definitely an animal. I took this picture and got out of there as fast as I could.”

At the same time, the Huffington Post reporter seems skeptical that Rodriguez actually captured a shot of Bigfoot, who in Florida is known as the Swamp Ape or Skunk Ape. The skepticism arises from some of the characteristics of the Bigfoot photo. For instance, a closer look shows the photo to be “too crisp” with a “jagged line between the hairy beast and the water.” Possible signs that someone tampered with the Bigfoot photo in Photoshop or some other picture editing software.

Apparently the photo's EXIF data shows that it was saved from a version of Photoshop on December 26th, the day Rodriguez claimed to have taken it. But he claims that photos are imported from his camera directly into Photoshop and then saved, so that's not necessarily proof of deliberate tampering. I will say that to some extent it hinges on Rodriguez' ability with the software. I'm a relatively novice user myself, and I know I would have difficulty making the twigs in front of the figure look right.

The first thing I thought when I saw the photo, actually, was that it looked more like a replica than a living creature. The face is so neutral and expressionless it looks like it might be fiberglass, and there are absolutely no ripples in the water as if it were completely stationary. It is possible that the Photoshop EXIF data happened the way Rodriguez said and he actually photographed some sort of Bigfoot mock-up. Still, if he's an expert at Photoshop all bets are off. An expert can make anything look good.

Depending on the kind of camera he uses, Rodriguez could settle this controversy by producing the raw image. Many cameras, especially more expensive ones, save that data and don't necessarily delete it when the image is imported. Raw image data would show whether or not the picture was tampered with, since it's from the camera. Even so, I still think it isn't of a real animal - to me it looks more like some sort of model.

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