A tourist has sparked debate online over the existence of the Loch Ness Monster after finding mysterious photos from a holiday to Scotland.
Steve Challice told UK’s the Daily Record he was on holiday in September last year when he said he spotted ripples in the water at Urquhart Castle.
The keen amateur photographer took photos of the water and described what he saw as a “big fish” that came to the surface and quickly went back down again.
"It only appeared in one shot and to be honest that was something of a fluke,” he told the Daily Record.
He estimates it was about 10 metres away from him and the “fish” was about 2.5 metres long.
Mr Challice said it wasn’t until he was in coronavirus lockdown recently that he had time to go through his images and spotted the strange creature in his photos, so he took to Facebook group Anomalous Universe to ask members what they thought was in the water.
"Took this in Loch Ness last September but I don't know what kind of fish it is,” he posted in the group along with an image of the large spotted animal rising up from the water.
The post quickly gained traction with people debating whether the photo had been edited or not.
A moderator of the Loch Ness Mystery blog, Roland Watson, was quick to asses the images and said he has been in discussion with Mr Challice since finding the pictures on Facebook.
"If this is a genuine picture of a creature in Loch Ness, it would easily rank in the top three of all time,” Mr Watson said.
He added that in the Facebook discussion a few members suggested Mr Challice had used computer-generated imagery to edit the photo, an accusation he quickly shot down.
"No it's just a fish but not sure what sort. Love the idea of cgi but I'm not that good at it,” Mr Challice wrote.
Mr Watson said he asked for more images that had been taken and it took Mr Challice four days before he sent photos taken just before the creature rose from the loch.
Meanwhile Mr Watson did some investigating and discovered something that “raised a big red flag”.
“So I first found out more about our photographer and discovered on his LinkedIn page that he was a 3D graphical artist and he had a portfolio of images of various constructions such as the one below. To be clear, he earns a living creating CGI - computer generated images,” Mr Watson wrote on his blog.
Mr Watson was still curious and asked for the original file images which he analysed, finding discrepancies of date and time stamps the images were taken and the dates Mr Challice claimed to have snapped the original photos.
The Daily Record also reported that a digital photography expert cast doubts over the images and said photoshop was likely used due to colour saturation and indistinct lining of the creature.
“I could have performed further analysis, but at this stage, there are discrepancies which need to be answered first and which currently render this photograph unusable as evidence for a large creature in Loch Ness,” Mr Watson wrote.
He finished the blog by adding that although he has his doubts, he is still in contact with Mr Challice.
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