Have you seen this email?
Subject: Kayak in mouth of whale
Hi all. I couldn’t resist sending this one along. The photo was taken at the entrance to Katlian Bay at the end of the road in Sitka, Alaska. The whale is coming up to scoop up a mouthful of herring (the small fish seen at the surface around the kayak). The kayaker is a local Sitka Dentist. I haven’t talked to him yet, but haven’t heard of any injuries out of the experience.
Yep, that is me in the picture. Yep that is a whale that was just around the corner from the ferry terminal. “Paddle really fast” is the only thing I could think of at the time.. Also thinking that I don’t look like a herring, don’t smell like a herring but with the same herring instinct of “get the hell out of the way of that big mouth!!” Still living to tell yet another story…
This compelling image, which depicts a kayaker paddling his small craft through the massive mouth of a whale as the creature rises to scoop up herring, is circulating around the world via email, blogs and social networking websites. The image is certainly one that would cause most viewers to do a double take and it has generated a great deal of discussion. Many commentators have suggested that the image is the result of some clever digital manipulation. In this case, these commentators are perfectly correct.
The image was never meant as a hoax but as a photoshop experiment which went viral.
In this case, the photographer is revealed in the metadata as Tim Shobe. Googling the photographer’s name quickly reveals his website, Shobe Studios. And a quick look around the photo galleries on the website soon turns up the very same feeding whale image, albeit with the kayaker conspicuously absent. The photograph of the kayaker was also taken by Tim Shobe.
Mr Shobe was contacted by the Brett M. Christensen of Hoax Slayer to ask if he could provide some insight into the origin of the manipulated image and he was kind enough to offer the following reply:
Thank you for your interest in my whale/kayaker image that has inadvertently made it’s way through cyberspace with the help of forwarded emails and sites such as yours. I have heard good things about it and I have actually received ‘hate mail’ by those that don’t know any better, but in an effort to put things into a positive and truthful light, please allow me to forward you the email that I sent to someone else recently requesting the same info from me.
Here’s the scope for the record:
Being bored one night and looking through my images, I came across some photos of whales that I took and then one of my friend Richard from here in Sitka while he was in his kayak. These two images were from two completely different times and locations…(roughly 3 months apart). I came up with the idea to create a manipulated image with the help of Photoshop to use as a small piece of entertainment for a few of my friends on my email list. The whale image of mine that I used for this piece was one of many captured during a day in which I blessed to have witness several humpback whales bubblenetting and lunge feeding. I will not give the exact location, but it was in March and near Sitka.