I had an interesting situation recently: one of my photos had such an unusual composition that many considered it fake!
The city of Ventura, California has an annual photo contest, and the entries are often used in advertising for local events and city tourism. I entered a few photos, one of which received an "honorable mention" award.
Unbeknownst to me, this photo was posted on Ventura Parks and Recreation's Facebook page to promote the 2018 City of Ventura Photo Contest (click on the photo below to see the post). A friend of mine had seen this post and sent me a message to let me know about it and the people doubting the authenticity of my photo. Then, the next day, someone from Ventura Parks and Recreation contacted me to let me know that the post had received the most views, shares, and comments of any post on their page. She also mentioned the skeptical comments.
I had to take a look.
Sure enough, I had caught landmarks in such a way that people thought it was a "Photoshopped" composition. While some photographers would be offended by accusations of forging an image, I was flattered! I had finally captured an original photo!
There are so many iconic images that photographers go back to duplicate, over and over. Sure, lighting and other subtle changes make each photograph slightly unique, but there's always that one photographer who saw that composition and captured it first. I had never been one of those photographers - until now.
I went into great detail in a reply to the Facebook post to explain the composition and technique I used. Essentially, what was throwing people off is that this image can't be seen from land. It was only while returning by boat from a trip to Channel Islands National Park that I noticed the beachfront homes, "Two Trees Hill," and the majestic Topatopa Mountains lined up in the late evening light. I snapped a photo, not knowing that how unique - and unbelievable - it was. In the end, I completely understand and appreciate people's skepticism, especially with so many "fake" images, videos, and stories so easily circulated on the Internet.