Photographic Insanity?

Someone sent me this in an E-mail. I think it is worth sharing with you good people. I hope I attach the photos properly. I always worry whether I will get this right.
Anyone fancy a repeat on a muni?


This is a case of photographer photographs photographer. The following photographs were taken by photographer Hans van de Vorst at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. The descriptions are his own. The identity of the photographer IN the photos is unknown.

I was simply stunned seeing this guy standing on this solitary rock IN the Grand Canyon.

The canyon’s depth is 900 meters here. The rock on the right is next to the canyon and safe. first Photo:

Watching this guy on his thong sandals, with a camera and a tripod I asked myself 3 questions:

  1. How did he climb that rock?
  2. Why not taking that sunset picture on that rock to the right, which is perfectly safe?
  3. How will he get back?
    2nd Photo:

This is the point of no return.
3rd Photo

After the sun set behind the canyon’s horizon he packed his things (having only one hand available)

and prepared himself for the jump. This took about 2 minutes.

At that point he had the full attention of the crowd.

After that, he jumped on his thong sandals…
The canyon’s depth is 900 meters here.

Now you can see that the adjacent rock is higher so he tried to land lower, which is quite steep

and tried to use his one hand to grab the rock.
4th Photo

We’ve come to the end of this little story. Look carefully at the photographer.

He has a camera, a tripod and also a plastic bag, all on his shoulder or in his left hand.

Only his right hand is available to grab the rock and the weight of his stuff is a problem.

He lands low on this flip flops both his right hand and right foot slips away…
At that moment I take this shot.

He pushes his body against the rock.

He waits for a few seconds, throws his stuff on the rock, climbs and walks away.





Wow thats dangerous!
I wonder why he went up there in the first place.
He must have known he’d have difficulty getting back.

Is it photoshopped or something?

My apologies: wrong forum sorry all.

I don’t think so. You can see time has elapsed by the shadow of rock 1 on rock 2 in the first photo. Obvious sunset: horizontal light. And as the sun went down the shadows more or less disappeared, as you might expect, and the light changed.


thats obviously photoshopped!! how can u say u dont think so! the pics are so bad quality and different qualities at that! haha, what forum was it meant to be one anyway?!?! haha

Interesting comment: but Hans van de Vorst appears to be a respected photographer: look him up on the net, I did. and
Point Of No Return | My Grand Canyon… | Flickr have the pics

The quality of the photos was probably reduced for the email: I further reduced to quality a little so as to make them fit the post better.

So why do you say OBVIOUSLY photoshopped? Because the photos are dramatic and show something dangerous? Or because you can see evidence in the photos? Please tell.

Now it would not surprise me, if Van de V actually found and colluded with the jumper, but photoshopped? I personally suspect not.

Your hoax pics url appears to be invalid

Does photoshop do that to pictures?

It doesn’t make sense to me that the last 3 photos which would obviously be taken at very small time intervals (guy prepares to leap, guy in midair, guy lands), are all such varying colours. Surely the camera would have the exact same white balance etc. settings for all 3 photos

My first conclusion, due to the varying colours is that the photos were taken at larger time intervals (photographer messing around with various camera settings) and then upon reviewing, thinking to himself “hey it’d be cool if I added a jumping guy to this, and tried to trick my friends with it over email”.

Perhaps the “highly regarded” photographer is the leaping guy?

this is real im finding the snopes artical and website now(me taking the place of gild)

OOOOHH yeah daniel wins

Looks like the same rock, but different people. The guy in your link doesn’t have a camera and looks completely different.

Agreed, different suicidal maniac. But it lends some authenticity as at least two ( but probably more ) have made the jump.


Well, the one in the link looks much easier. For one, he didn’t have a camera and a tripod. Also, he wasn’t wearing flip-flops.
Still crazy, but not nearly as much.

Those guys are idiots. The experienced climber, with no camera equipment and presumably the right kind of footwear, much less so. I would imagine the photographer, unless he was quite high on something, was an experienced flip-flop rock climber as well.

Jacquie has a book called Death in the Canyon, which we bought when we went there a couple of years ago. It chronicles all recorded deaths, since the early expeditions of Europeans down the Colorado River to tourists taking “one more step back.” I’ll have to look and see if it mentions this kind of stuff. It does mention that adults are far more likely to fall off the edges than kids. I think it’s because the kids are much closer to Road Runner cartoons than their parents are…

I found the snopes thread

If he is wearing flip flops, why can’t you see his toes? Not to mention that his shoes appear to have a back on the heel. They look more like climbing shoes to me.

I read that whole Snopes messageboard thread. Those guys aren’t as smart as (many of) us. They’re complaining about how the light and color are different between the 1st photo and the other two. Photographer. With tripod (not casual shooter). Grand Canyon. You shoot the Grand Canyon at sunrise and sunset. It is clear in the first picture that he’s shooting at sunset (south rim, sunset is to the left). The biggest print I’ve ever had made of one of my photos was a Grand Canyon sunset shot, and I remember that much.

You’re not finished shooting your sunset until the sun sets. Not clouds, not “much later in the day.” The sun has set. Sky is a different color. Rocks are different colors as well. The Grand Canyon’s rocks do all sorts of color variations depending on the light.

Also, these are JPEG images, and have gone through who-knows-how-many copies and re-compressions before we’re seeing them. JPEG compression changes colors in your images. That’s why it usually doesn’t work well to mix JPEG and GIF images in a sliced-up Web design.

By none of this am I suggesting the photos could not be doctored, I just don’t think they were.

when i first looked at it i thought hey that could be real and all but when you actually look at the picture it is fairly obvious its photoshoped it looks like they lightened the picture picture and then grabed a picture of another guy with difrent amount pixel per square inch and threw it in there i do think it is possible and the one guys website is true but thats just my two cents;)
and the guy jumping does have flip flops^^
:thinking: also did anyone notice the what looks like a a climbing rope in the botom right? or mabey just a cactus?

IMHO, not fake:

Colour cast is explained by the sunset’s effect on the light temperature. If you assume the guy taking the photo is a pro, he’ll have the camera set to a specific white balance, not ‘auto’ so the pics will come out very different depending on the light source, direction and colour.

Resolution difference is explained by the fact its an e-mail thing, so every save is losing you jpeg quality. It also looks to me that the first picture is deliberately taken of the photographer, whereas (due to background movement) the last 2 are crops from a larger image where the actual focus was something else, or the photographer didn’t have time to move his focal point before the guy jumped, so he just took it as it was. Or (as mentioned in the snopes article) the last 2 are from a video, the first is a still image.


This is still true if he has it on Auto. The rocks literally change color between direct setting-sunlight and post-sunset.

…If it made any sense in the first place. How much “resolution” is there in an image you’re viewing in your web browser? Always exactly the same, 72ppi. Maybe the guy is thinking the photographer is in sharper focus than the background (or vice-versa)? That’s a function of shutter speed.

Yes to the second part, no to the first. Obviously the guy on the rock was the subject of these photos. The first shot is more of a still life, with no hurry to get the shot, as nothing’s moving. The other two are action shots. Higher shutter speed required, but in decreasing light, so possibly a higher ISO, etc. etc. In other words, more reasons for those two to be less sharp.

I’m still trying to figure out why that guy needed to be on that rock, and not the one behind him. I guess his camera is pointing down in the first picture, so maybe he didn’t want it blocking his picture. What some people will do to get the shot!