Gesture symbolic

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Last updated on May 20th, 2017 at 09:53 am

The Sydney Morning Herald and the Age were busted last year after claiming their before/after Earth Hour shots were taken on the same night – when they’d been taken two nights apart, to exaggerate the Hour’s miraculous effect. The Age is at it again this year:

Did you see the front page of The Age this morning? It has two pictures of the Melbourne CBD with ‘before’ and ‘after’ labels. And it’s quite a noticeable difference. Read the fine print below though and you see that the ‘before’ photo was actually taken on THURSDAY night – not at say, 7:30pm last night.

At least now they admit their scam, although only in small print. Reader G.B.H. spots something else about Fairfax’s coverage:

Perhaps it is worth noting that Earth Hour had its greatest impact in Queensland – where there is no Fairfax newspaper. Time for The Age to do the decent thing …

UPDATE. Reader Allan J. suspects Fairfax-style picture tricks in Queensland’s Sunday Mail:

You’ll notice in the “before” photo, the leaves at the top of the picture are much brighter. Plus some of the buildings have identical lights lit yet there is a massive difference in the overall brightness.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/30/2008 at 08:31 AM
    1. Ray Charles thoughts on unFairfaxed

      My bills are all due and the baby needs shoes and I’m busted … The county’s gonna haul my belongings away cause I’m busted. …Lord I’m no thief but a man can go wrong when he’s busted …I hate to beg like a dog without his bone, but I’m busted

      unFairfaxed busted

      Posted by stackja1945 on 2008 03 30 at 08:50 AM • permalink


    1. The SMH’s ‘before’ shot was taken in such a way that the clouds looked almost luminous, so that any lights turned off would naturally make the ‘after’ shot look far different by comparison.

      Posted by Nic on 2008 03 30 at 08:51 AM • permalink


    1. Newsies casually reported that many, I believe down under, celebrated “earth hour with candleight dinners and bonfires on the beach”.

      “Bonfires on the beach?!?!” I mean, I hear that candles put out pollutants or the like, but one can be forgiven for not knowing that or assuming that it is a minimal issue. But bonfires???  Is there an IQ above 12 who could possibly think they are cutting pollution by turning off their lights, going out, and firing up a bonfire??

      They tip their hand. It has nothing whatsoever to do with genuinely saving energy. It is all about a “spiritual” (to them) return to some sort of hunter-gatherer existance. (And we all know how environmentally friendly hunter-gatherers are.)

      Are we getting stupider as we “progress”?

      Are we?

      P.S. There is an excellent posting at Libertarian Samizdata on this.

      Posted by Andrew X on 2008 03 30 at 08:53 AM • permalink


    1. Strange, this before shot clearly shows one of the Harbour Bridge’s southern pylons. The after shot, taken with less zoom, doesn’t. Alright I thought, it still should be seen at that range. Then I looked at the SMH’s next shot of the same view the pylon is no longer there in the before shot. Going by how bright the pylon is in the first ‘before’ shot, it should be there in the next one.

      Am I going crazy or are the SMH doctoring shots and forgetting which one is which?

      Posted by Nic on 2008 03 30 at 09:45 AM • permalink


    1. The link to the second shot is not working. Once there, click to the 2nd of 14 photos.

      Posted by Nic on 2008 03 30 at 09:47 AM • permalink


    1. To create the illusion of success one first has to create the illusion.

      Posted by surfmaster on 2008 03 30 at 10:16 AM • permalink


    1. As long as it’s just symbolic, why not call it the annual earth hour photoshop, and do away with the need for public participation.

      Participation being particularly hard to get.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2008 03 30 at 10:29 AM • permalink


    1. They must have an especially low opinion of their readers if they continue to run such clumsy “fauxtography” as news.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2008 03 30 at 11:11 AM • permalink


    1. Newspapers have the public duty and responsibility to publish the facts.  Photo manipulation is falsity.

      Someone should lose their job for this.

      (wronwright looks at lyle, decides he can’t pin this on him)

      Posted by wronwright on 2008 03 30 at 11:55 AM • permalink


    1. “Are we getting stupider as we “progress”?” Andrew X, my theory is that humans need a certain level of challenge/danger to work well.  Absent real challenges/dangers they create their own.

      Posted by rabidfox on 2008 03 30 at 12:46 PM • permalink


    1. #3 and you can see the hearts of darkness – Africa, South America, Canada and Australia!

      Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2008 03 30 at 07:18 PM • permalink


    1. The Border Mail photo illustrating Earth Hour was … children with three candles. It is a wonder that the towns and cities of Australia weren’t choked by the sooty emissions from so many candles, bonfires and gas barbecues blazing away in the atmosphere.

      On the soot dangers of candles, see this, this, this, this and this.

      And that is just page one of a google search. Is the greatest threat to environment the stunts of greenies?

      Posted by Contrail on 2008 03 30 at 07:30 PM • permalink


    1. The 1st exposure is longer as it is exposing the light on the river to make the reflection look brighter. The second, although the lights are turned off, are exposed less to make it look darker.

      I ask you, what did the photographer expose the “iso” at? How long did the photographer expose both of the images at?

      In theory, lights were turned off, but what is this exercise anyway?

      Posted by gin&tonic on 2008 03 30 at 09:10 PM • permalink


    1. Light is often said to have a colour temperature. For conventional photography this is no real problem because even the light from a candle flame is at nearly 2000 Kelvin, whereas room temperature is only around 290 Kelvin.As you probably know, a colour image can be broken down into three separate images showing the red, green and blue parts (or channels) of the scene since red green and blue are the three primary colours for light.

      Light emmitts but does the exposure in these images show this? No, it does not.

      Posted by gin&tonic on 2008 03 30 at 09:55 PM • permalink


    1. I find it Hilarious that reporters commented on the fact that areas in Brisbane with city views were gridlocked with traffic during Earth hour, but they didn’t mention the fact that cars pollute more then lights.

      Posted by Old school on 2008 03 31 at 12:36 AM • permalink


    1. Facts? Who needs facts when the Axis of Hand-Wringers are indulging in vain, useless gestures intended to soothe their own manufactured guilt?

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2008 03 31 at 02:10 AM • permalink


  1. The front page of the Sydney Morning Herald has a picture of a darkened Sydney Harbour Bridge and a byline of “Our gift to the world”.

    Since when was creating darkness “a gift to the world”? Once upon a time, science was about creating light and using energy to build a better world and now we’re turning it off???


    Before this global warming panic is finally yawned off, much more wacky things are going to happen that my 7-week old son will learn in school in a few years time and wonder how the oldtimers ever managed to leave their caves.

    Posted by John A on 2008 03 31 at 08:36 AM • permalink