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And the Answer Is. . .

In Monday’s posting we published the remarkable photo (below) of former San Diego sailor Brenda Manceau standing proudly next to a massive yellowfin tuna that’s she’d supposedly caught in a recent tournament in Tonga. And we posed the question to readers: "Is it authentic or Photoshopped?" 

A girl and her tuna.

© Endangered Encounters

The answers that poured in via email were fascinating. Some readers seemed to be absolutely certain that the photo was a fake, while others seemed equally sure that it was real. Samples:

"I think you have a photo shopped fish there. I was looking at the handle on the rod and reel. It looks a little bent up to me." — Bill Legget

"The only distinct shadows in the photo are on the building in the background, indicating that the sun was behind and to the left of the photographer. There should be corresponding shadows from the fisherperson and the fish (behind them and to their left), but they’re absent." — Bill Crowley

"I think it is a real yellow fin. Caught one close to that size on my boat back in ’98 on the way to Fiji from Hawaii." — Andy Kurtz

"Authentic is my vote. The shadow of the fish on the lady, her hand on the fin, and the front of her all wet from the fight lead me to believe this is real." — Glenn M. Kotara

"My vote is for neither really. I think the picture is not altered, but the shot is not exactly authentic either. It looks like it is what I’ve heard referred to as a ‘forced perspective’ shot — a photo optical illusion. If you look at the building in the background and the table to the right of the frame, you see their angles are distorted. This tells me that it was shot with a significantly wide-angle lens which can play tricks with the relative sizes of things in the foreground and background. . . The final tip-off is the dorsal fin. The dorsal and pectoral fins are about the same size on those fish, but look in the picture. The dorsal is in her hand and is much shorter. I think that’s because it is pulled back toward her, confirming she is a bit further back from the fish than the photo makes her look. So I vote that the combination of the angle of view from below, the deceptive distances between subjects, and the wide angle lens, is what makes the fish look so big." — Tim McCormick

Wow! That’s a pretty weighty analysis, so to speak. The truth is, our friend Brenda — who runs a whale watching business in Tonga called Endangered Encounters — did catch that 150-lb yellowfin all by herself on 80-lb line. "It must have been my lucky Latitude hat!" she says. And, no, that’s not Photoshopped in either.

Our favorite caption for the shot was sent in by Brian Timpe of Seattle (who will receive some ‘official’ Latitude swag for his wit: So the tuna says, “I was just hanging around and I caught this woman with a fishing pole – she’s almost as big as I am!”

Runners-up included Ed Bell: “I now pronounce you. . . !” And Carl Mischka: "Brenda finally has the big one she has been looking for."


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