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This is a nice picture, so what's wrong with it?

img

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    $\begingroup$ This is a huge pet hate of mine. I see it in computer games all the time. Most annoying! $\endgroup$ – Chuck Nov 18 '17 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ and that's with the blue pre-dawn? $\endgroup$ – Jasen Nov 18 '17 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ The moon is not casting a reflection on the water. (I believe no-one has mentioned that yet.) $\endgroup$ – Nathaniel Nov 19 '17 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel I think it is - see the three white marks on the sea? $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Nov 19 '17 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ I want to add an answer that is also related to basic astronomy. If you look at the position of the moon over the horizon and what part of it is illuminated, the sun must be almost exactly behind it (a little to the bottom left from the viewer's position). This means that it should be actually be visible in the sky, or there should be at least dawn or dusk. Instead, the fact that stars are visible even just over the horizon indicates that we have total night, the sun at at least 18° below the horizon - and then the moon should be more full that it is now. $\endgroup$ – Marie. P. Nov 19 '17 at 20:46

10 Answers 10

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I think the problem is

There are stars visible behind the moon.

enter image description here

In reailty

The dark part of the moon is still there - it doesn't become transparent and the stars shouldn't be seen as the moon would block them out.

So it should look like this (courtesy of @Chuck):

enter image description here

(There are a few other extra details being pointed out such as the fact that the outer moon is lighter than the inner moon - but I’d say this is the biggest an most obvious problem so I haven’t included the rest)

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    $\begingroup$ I think they are not stars, they are fireflies $\endgroup$ – Jamal Senjaya Nov 18 '17 at 9:54
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    $\begingroup$ In the explanation, you are mixing a (nearly) new moon (what this looks like) with a lunar eclipse. Usually the earth is not involved in the moon being mostly dark, the sun is just on the other side. $\endgroup$ – Paŭlo Ebermann Nov 18 '17 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Snow the stars can't be in front of the moon. Thats simple physics $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Nov 18 '17 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ Obligatory xkcd (possible spoiler) $\endgroup$ – LarsW Nov 18 '17 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ Those are not stars, they're lights from the moon bases. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Nov 20 '17 at 2:54
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In addition to other answers, palm trees don't natively grow under that geographical latitude, which is more than 46 degrees: Latitude approximation Palm tree distribution -Wikipedia

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  • $\begingroup$ How did you determine the geographical latitude? $\endgroup$ – FreeAsInBeer Nov 21 '17 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeAsInBeer Lets first make a slight simplification: that ecliptic is parallel to equator (equinox situation). In that case looking at Moon shape, we can determine where is the plane: earth-moon-sun. I marked it with the one of green lines on the picture. The angle between that line and horizon is our geographical latitude, which look like over 46 degrees. But what if given situation is not an equinox? Looking at the clear sky it must be hot summer, so our position shifts away from equator. (it works the same way in both hemispheres) So claim that palm tree cannot grow here is still valid. $\endgroup$ – mpasko256 Nov 21 '17 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, looking at the stars and comparing it with the moon, it could be possible to extract more data: what hemisphere it is, which implies what moon phase we have now, what time and what season it is. Going further, we could extract accurate coordinates (both latitude and longitude). But as someone mentioned in other answer: the stars don't represent any known constellation :) ...especially that 8-star pattern copy-pasted 3 times at the bottom of the picture :) $\endgroup$ – mpasko256 Nov 22 '17 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ Actually the moon could be up to 5 off the ecliptic, thus your limit is reduced to 41 degrees. Some hardy palms do grow at that latitude, however they look different than the date / coconut palms in the picture. $\endgroup$ – dotancohen Nov 26 '17 at 11:12
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There are lots of problems with the image.

1. Red and blue squared stars has been used a couple of times.
2. Yellow part of the sea has been used three times.
3. You cannot have stars inside the moon and the white blue area is added later and there is a clear blur in the photo as shown below.

To illustrate:

enter image description here

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There's also a scary monster looking at you.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Did you just edit that in? $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Nov 18 '17 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil It's been looking at you all along. $\endgroup$ – isanae Nov 18 '17 at 10:55
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil To be clear, I only increased the brightness of the image, that feature was part of the original. $\endgroup$ – isanae Nov 18 '17 at 10:58
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Beastly's answer does work. Here are some other things I noticed:

More bad things

Explanation:

  • There are three strange spots of luminescence near the horizon on the water
  • The edge of the moon is much brighter than the inner parts, whereas the moon tends to be lit with a smoother gradient up to the shadow (see below image, sourced from here)
  • The trees seem to be illuminated selectively, in some places but not others

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ i think the palm trees are the only thing that's slightly realistic $\endgroup$ – RozzA Nov 21 '17 at 6:30
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I can

see illuminated tops and bottoms of tall trees but their shadows are totally missing given such separation between those trees.

As

illumination happens from the other side( on which the moon is located ), the trees also should cast sharp shadows, which are missing.

Another observation

The 3 patterns of stars immediately above the horizon are of type copy and paste, so not natural!

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There's no dusk light in the sky.
With such a thin crescent moon, the earth-moon-sun angle is only slightly off 180 degrees, so the sun would be only just over the horizon, so there should still be some light from the sun in the sky. But there isn't.

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There also seems to be a yellow shadow in the water...Image

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Should

the water waves be moving towards the island, rather than moving away from island ?

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    $\begingroup$ Seems to me it does provide an answer, though not necessarily a good one: the question was "what's wrong with this picture" and the answer suggested here is that the waves are unrealistic. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Nov 19 '17 at 0:32
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The other answers taking the image apart in discrete steps are right on the spot. However, having tried to create landscapes in Photoshop countless times, I can tell you I immediately knew this was artificial, even before noticing the three bands in the sea. The lighting, the lack of noise, how the waves don't play with the shore, the impossible exposure (you can't produce such image with a camera), the lack of the DOF...

It's about the holistic approach. All the little things could be overlooked if only the pieces worked together. If you look at the works of the old masters, they are also often "faulty" from up close.

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    $\begingroup$ There's no claim that the image is a photograph, so exposure and depth of field aren't really an issue. (Also, you talk about a lack of depth of field but that's not what the term means. The image is in sharp focus from front to back, which indicates a lot of depth of field, not none.) $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 19 '17 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, English isn't my first language. You are correct that the DOF is technically infinite. But since the picture represents a natural scenery where DOF is to be expected, I insist that it makes sense to judge the realness of the picture by its presence. Which was the topic. $\endgroup$ – Zdenek Nov 19 '17 at 18:43

protected by Community Nov 18 '17 at 16:36

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