Awesome photos– Superman Shield in the Sky!

My wife and a friend were coming home from Nashville, following their pilgrimage to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3. With her friend driving, my wife noticed a very interesting cloud formation, and took the following two pictures.

She didn’t show me the photos until this morning, after I got the camera out of the car. I uploaded them myself only a few minutes after seeing them, so I know the main two haven’t been Photoshopped. After putting them on Photobucket, I opened the originals in Photoshop, and cropped them down for easy viewing. Here are the originals, each followed by the close-up cropped version. Be sure to view these in full, they’re rather large. Enjoy!

Original digital photography by Metro, copyright 2007

Cropped version of DSC04149, Metro, copyright 2007


Original digital photography by Metro, copyright 2007

Cropped version of DSC04150, Metro, copyright 2007



Again, I swear these aren’t Photoshopped. Just very, very super.

Update: Superman Homepage forum member “wolfe,” doubts these photos are legit, and is blowing a lot of Photoshop-speak hot air to prove it:

“The straight edges on the left give away that it is indeed photoshopped. Nice try though. You should learn to use the blur and smudge tool more. The shot at the distance really gives it away.”

I’ll admit, I was curious how long it would take for someone to claim these were Photoshopped, but in the end, it just doesn’t feel all that great to be called a liar. I pointed out that the photos were taken through a windshield, although I’m not actually seeing these lines anyhow. Ask anyone– I’m not a very visual person. Still, this user persists:

“I showed them to my photoshop teacher at UNLV and the first thing he did was laugh. And you don’t even want me to repeat what he said about people who would believe this. SO for a second opinion I took them to the Department of Geoscience, which teaches from meteorology to paleontology. The Professor took one look and his first word was “fake”. He then went on to say that yes clouds to take on shapes and people can see many different pictures in them, but they are abstract pictures. None of the shapes are definite designs. Then he went to his computer and began to show me a collection of real and fake designs in the clouds. He also wanted me to thank you for a new entry into his fake collection. Sorry people it is fake. As much as we would all like it to be real, it’s not”

Well! I had a pretty good laugh at this. It wouldn’t be the first time I heard about a professor being blatantly wrong about something– but two in one day? Sounds like a new DaveX record! I decided to offer a challenge, made all the better because I know I’m telling the truth:

“Tell ya what. I’ll take your weather teacher up on a challenge, for two reasons:

1) I know the pictures are real, so I can’t possibly lose.

2) I think a collection of fake clouds is kinda cool, and I’d hate to ruin it with a picture of a real one.

So here’s a couple things, so I know YOU’RE on the up and up, and not just being a pest. Post a link to your Photoshop prof’s info on an official UNLV site. It’s a big university, I’m sure he/she has some sort of page. Then we’ll get in contact with this person together at a UNLV e-mail, and they can let us know how to proceed to demonstrate that this is indeed a real photo. I’ve still got the photo on the memory stick, so surely there is a way to verify this is legit. If they can come up with a test, I’ll go for it. Otherwise, you need to lay off. I don’t appreciate folks calling my wife or myself a liar. The ball is in your court!”

I’m calling on all STARTLING MONIKER readers to help me defend myself here. Does anyone know anything about verifying a file’s veracity? How can someone prove a photo file is unaltered? Thanks for all your help! –DaveX

26 Responses to “Awesome photos– Superman Shield in the Sky!”

  1. Sister Novena Says:

    Uh-oh… someone got boinged. ;)

    Let us know what your hitcount spike looks like so we can all drool with envy.

  2. disembedded Says:


  3. Tony Says:

    Personally, if you WERE going to photoshop them, I think they’d look a lot less Photoshopped. In other words, you would have tried harder to make them look more realistic. And more like a real Superman symbol. If you really look closely, there are a lot of extraneous details a faker would have left out. For one, the letter looks more like a C than it does an S. And what’s up with the extra lines above the symbol? To me, the user’s comment above can be likened to someone doubting the veracity of a rock formation in the shape of the Mother Mary. “That can’t be a real rock!!!!” When really, we should marvel at the mind’s ability to find order in randomness.

  4. freonix Says:

    Agreed. It’s real, then again if it is a photoshoped, that’s one bad image created

  5. startlingmoniker Says:

    Freonix– Thanks, I think…

  6. Lana Says:

    I think this is one of those cases where “true life is stranger than fiction.” The only way this guy would believe it is if he was there himself. But I agree — if it was photoshopped, wouldn’t it be cleaner, sharper?

  7. thecomicman Says:

    well, I can’t speak to whether or not this is a fake, but cool pics either way.

  8. Sandy Says:

    Doesn’t look Photoshopped to me…and went to school for it. If you look close it is only the one little cloud in the center that is making it look like an S. That cloud is what is making the light coming down from above spill in a way that it looks like the symbol. It isn’t that the clouds formed the symbol…it is they were floating in such a way that the light on the top flitered down to look like that.

  9. Merovius Says:

    Just a couple of observations…

    1. The original pics appear to have been taken with a Sony Cyber-Shot P73, and if the date/time on the camera was set correctly, they were taken somewhere around 6:30 pm on May 25th, and the shots were taken 3 seconds apart.

    2. The cropped versions were done on the 26th, at around 11:00 am. They were cropped and enlarged approximately 225%, and this was done in Adobe Photoshop (version CS2). The files were saved 31 seconds apart.

    3. The full-size pics have NOT been edited in Photoshop, or any other image editor, for that matter, unless the person involved was capable of some very clever monkeying with the actual structure of the jpg file after the fact.

    4. The full size pics also show none of the tell-tale characteristics of a doctored image, which include the use of blur and smudge tools mentioned by “wolfe”.

    Of course, I’m not a “photoshop teacher” nor a professor of Geoscience at UNLV, but I am fairly familiar with the concepts of digital imagery (and fakery), and these images appear to be nothing more or less than what they are claimed to be – a couple really cool shots of a unique cloud formation. Either that, or Superman has been messin’ with the weather again…

  10. startlingmoniker Says:

    Merovius– Thank you! That totally jives with what I said, too. My wife came home from Nashville on Friday evening, which is when she took the pics. Then I had our car that night (with the camera in it) during my radio show, which lasts until 6:30am. Back home by 7-ish, caught a little more sleep… woke up, and she mentions that I should get the camera to see the photos she took. I uploaded them within a few minutes of seeing them, and did the crops after uploading the original two. You can see a discrepancy between this blog entry’s post time and the photo crop time due to the camera probably not updating itself for daylight savings time or something.

    Besides, anyone that knows me would vouch for the fact that I’m generally brain-fried on Saturday mornings, following the radio show. Getting up at 3am to broadcast (generally resulting in a 2-hour night’s sleep) is TOUGH. That’s why I liveblog the shows– I’m usually too tired to write about them afterward!

  11. Paul Says:

    Fake or not, it’s my new desktop background.

  12. startlingmoniker Says:

    Paul– VERY COOL!

  13. Erik Curtis Says:

    I see a fluffy bunny running from a fox. I got to see my therapist.

  14. startlingmoniker Says:

    Erik: No worries– he’s in there too!

  15. whitishrabbit Says:

    He finally trumped Spidey…

  16. apollo productions Says:

    I second this…

    “Agreed. It’s real, then again if it is a photoshoped, that’s one bad image created”

  17. Fotos Legais - Nuvem em formato do escudo do Superman « Felipe’s Journal Says:

    […] […]

  18. Joe Drinker Says:

    It looks real to me, but then again, it can be done. I agree with Sandy though, that it’s the light creating the negative space. From almost any other spot you’d see something else entirely.

  19. darby Says:

    seriously, i can vouch for daveX’s complete lack of photoshop skills. sorry dave, but you know, i’m getting your back. also, the guy talking about “blur and smudge tools,” just sound like a neophyte trying to sound educated on photoshop tools. i can’t see anywhere in the image that would indicate the use of any post production and i am a professional. the problem with professors is that they teach, they don’t do, so i wouldn’t really give their “professional” opinions much weight. have this photo checked out by an art professor / photographer to see if it follows all natural lighting rules. seems to me it does. unless daveX has a homie at ILM, i really don’t see how this is fake. cheers.

  20. KaCee Says:

    I think they are real. I do some small work in Photoshop and these don’t appear to me to be altered other than cropping. I agree it is the light through the clouds at this specific angle that is creating the effect. If you were viewing it from a different angle it would look completely different. It also would not be very noticeable, if at all, if this had been earlier in the day. So the angle of the sun is also playing a large part in this, being late in the day. But mostly I find people giving expert opinions without seeing the actual file are usually blowing smoke and have a high opinon of themselves. Most people with expert opinions should keep them to themselves and not call other people liars unless they have proof. You can say your skeptical but don’t say it’s fake without proof.

  21. Angel Criado Says:

    Ok, as someone who can do something like this in Photoshop – I would hate to try it. There’d be a lot of hours put in on something, that if I really wanted to manip a photo, I’d better invest my time in a Bigfoot one. Truth is that you’d really have to be very competent and have an eye for the light. If you sat there and looked at the picture long enough while you were manipulating it, the light from your monitor in the areas where it was most intense would start messing with your vision a bit and you’d start making mistakes. Sure you would drop the hue/sat/light but then you’d have changed the values and from there, no guarantee the final would come out somewhat natural looking.

    “wolfe” should also know that if you use blur and smudge enough (pro that he is) you’d end up with some dirty grays. Odd little pixel placements (colors that don’t agree with the pattern of the picture), and overall out of control of color.

    But, I wouldn’t go out of my way to waste time on handling a doubting thomas. Like the guys who think we faked the moon landing, no matter how practical the proof is laid out, it won’t touch their standards of “what is fake” until they try to do the same thing themselves. Really, just tell “wolfe” or anyone else for that matter to put their money where their mouth is and produce a fake one themselves, if it is so easy.

  22. startlingmoniker Says:

    For a real fake, and an entertaining entry, check this–

  23. howsthatsound Says:

    i can’t believ people think this is a fake! who the hell would spend the amount of time it would take to do this? i have some photoshop wizard friends, one who can do just about anything, and this would take him a week.

  24. superscout Says:

    real. . . i asked my VU professor and he said this would take a week to form. so who would take this amount of time. so it i sjust awesoem to see this. .

  25. tanra Says:

    superman don’t need super powers to go… BAM!!!!!

  26. tanra Says:

    COOLIO DUDE!!! It COULD be fake OR real…. i’m not soo sure though but it sure is hott!!

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