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    harum's Avatar
    harum Posts: 339, Reputation: 27
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    #1

    Jan 30, 2013, 11:58 AM
    A NASA moon landing photo
    Hello,
    There is this stunning beautiful photograph at the NASA site dedicated to the moon landings. Someone who is into conspiracy theories argues that if you aggressively scale this, or many other photos from the same site, after download then you will see the signs of fraud. I used image editing program GIMP to do just that and did see some dark "shadows" around the spacewalk suit that I can't explain (see attached image below).

    I am sure that this was the way they did image processing for publication back then, forty something years ago, when no computers were around, to adjust the image histogram. But does anyone know what exactly has been done here? Or does this have something to do with the cameras and the film they used?

    Any reference or suggestion will be appreciated. Thanks, h.
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    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #2

    Jan 30, 2013, 12:13 PM
    Off hand it looks like you've taken a jpg file and significantly stretched its color saturation, though I don't see to what purpose. Keep in mind:

    a. The original photos are from large scale negatives, and so were scanned to be digitized for presentation on the web. By its very nature digitizing a photo introduces noise and color shifts.

    b. JPEG files are compressed, and consequently are lossy and color shifts are always present.

    And by the way - just how do the "shadows" support a conspiracy theory? Keep in mind that after 44 years there is no credible evidence of a massive conspiracy involving thousands of government workers and contractors to "fake" the moon landings. And also - recent photos from craft orbiting the moon that actually show the landing sights really put a kibosh on the whole conspiracy thing. Sort of like how the first photos of earth from space put a nail in the coffin of the Flat Earth Society.
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
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    #3

    Jan 30, 2013, 12:32 PM
    I have read all the conspiracy theories about the moon landing and I find them to be ridiculous. If you try hard enough, you can make anything into a conspiracy theory. Did I really eat pizza for lunch? If you look at my office, you will not see a pizza box anywhere... hmmmm...

    But I am going with what ebaines said about the photo. You're taking a 40 year old picture and digitizing it... then I can't understand what shadows on the moon are supposed to support. The sun does shine out there and the cameras I'm sure had lights on them.
    harum's Avatar
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    #4

    Jan 30, 2013, 12:47 PM
    Thanks for your reply! You don't have to convince me that Moon landings were real -- never worried about all those silly conspiracy theories.

    What I am looking for is the answer to a technical question about what caused these jagged black "shadows" around the astronaut seen after over-saturation of intensity. The noise and color shift are not an issue at this point. These "shadows", from my limited experience, do not look like noise or compression artifacts. What that person claimed was that the "shadows" in the rescaled photo, and hence in all NASA photos, are a sign that the "so-called Moon landing" photos are just collages made by artists, etc. I think if I tell him exactly how these images have been processed (scanning of the original negatives, scanning of prints, putting cutout patches from different exposures into one final image?) this will keep him quiet for a while. Image processing techniques were quite different back in the day. Or has this been done by webmasters? Do not know.

    Yes, this is exactly my point too: fake or 100% real, these photos do not prove that Moon landings were fake. But this is a different story.

    Thanks, h.
    odinn7's Avatar
    odinn7 Posts: 7,691, Reputation: 1547
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    #5

    Jan 30, 2013, 12:57 PM
    Let me just fill you in on something...

    I have dealt with many, many conspiracy theorists as well as paranormal believers. I have dealt with people that are all about UFOs, Bigfoot, Ghosts... name it. What I have learned is that you will NEVER change their mind. Any bit of reasoning that you throw at them will be disputed or ignored. Even if you got your scientific answer on these photos and presented him with this, it won't make any difference. He will come up with an answer as to why you are wrong.

    You are simply wasting your time.
    harum's Avatar
    harum Posts: 339, Reputation: 27
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    #6

    Jan 30, 2013, 01:07 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by odinn7 View Post
    Let me just fill you in on something....
    ...
    You are simply wasting your time.
    Well, I agree, that dunce is a lost case. But other unsuspecting people listen to his "technical" "explanations", like, saturation, re-scaling, image processing software, no dust on landing pads, no landing crater, etc. I am sure there is a simple explanation as far as the photo goes. Maybe someone experienced in photography would know.
    harum's Avatar
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    #7

    Jan 30, 2013, 02:15 PM
    By the way, methods like histogram stretching, intensity and color saturation, gamma variations are used by scientific journals to detect fraudulently manipulated images, and they are not completely irrelevant here. This is a normal practice not only in top-tier journals these days which forces the authors to carefully document and expose all the image editing steps.
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    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #8

    Jan 30, 2013, 02:41 PM
    I had never seen any moon shots that weren't video (film?) in black and white, of guys bouncing along in the dust in moon boots or shooting golf balls.

    I can believe that these were cooked up to impress some segment of the public by totally non-nerdy PR people who can never leave well enough alone. It isn't just the black areas you show; it's the whole composition and perfect color. But I could be convinced by the right information to believe it's real too.

    I'm a fan of the movie The Right Stuff. It's clear that astronauts were subjected to a lot of PR rigamarole.
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #9

    Jan 30, 2013, 03:01 PM
    I would bet that to get such a pretty print there must have been some darkroom manipulations going on. Imagine how the astronauts were bouncing around using bulky Hasselblad cameras in a dusty, incredibly high contrast environment. It would be inevitable that there'd be dust on the lens, which would leave spots and streaks on the photo. Given how perfect the shot is I can only assume that some dark room wizardry was used back in the 60's and 70's (air brushing), and now that the images have been copied and digitized and recopied and redigitized you're going to have some strange artifacts. I wonder for example if the original prints involved a technique called "dodging," where during printing the operator blocks the light from the negative in the enlarger for the white areas and overexposes the black areas to boost the contrast - otherwise the white suit would turn out more like a dirty gray color and the black sky more like dark gray. This dodging technique was done manually, typically using a bit of cardboard and held by the operator, and is bound to have left some traces around the borders between white and black areas.
    harum's Avatar
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    #10

    Jan 30, 2013, 03:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ebaines View Post
    ... I wonder for example if the original prints involved a technique called "dodging," where during printing the operator blocks the light from the negative in the enlarger for the the white areas and overexposes the black areas to boost the contrast - otherwise the white suit would turn out more like a dirty gray color and the black sky more like dark gray. This dodging technique was done manually, typically using a bit of cardboard and held by the operator, and is bound to have left some traces around the borders between white and black areas.
    Yes, I think this is a reasonable explanation. Even the fact that the area where the flag is has not been compensated may only mean that the suit is significantly much brighter than the flag and the sky. The question is if there is a way to prove application of this, or similar, technique on this (and other, too) photo. If I find it, I consider my mission accomplished.

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