Here's why this picture is not fake...

Blackpool Tower with an Isle of Man backdrop
Blackpool Tower with an Isle of Man backdrop
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Our picture editor Iain Lynn takes a look at 'that' picture, and tells us why it's not a fake.

Stephen Cheatley's stunning image of Blackpool Tower with an Isle of Man backdrop has caused some controversy this week.

Looking north west from Winter Hill, a line through Blackpool Tower will take you to the Isle of Man.

Looking north west from Winter Hill, a line through Blackpool Tower will take you to the Isle of Man.

Used as our 'Picture of the Day' feature on Facebook it attracted much criticism, from readers simply doubting the facts, to calling all-out Photoshop fakery.

As a regular admirer of Stephen's technically excellent work, I'm 100% sure that this is a genuine image, and I'll explain why.

Let's start with the line of sight. Looking north west from Winter Hill, a line through Blackpool Tower will take you to the Isle of Man. Some have suggested that the background mountains must surely be Barrow and the Lake District, but according to our map, to attempt a shot like that you'd have to be in Liverpool.

So I'm happy that the details are correct, but how has the picture been taken? You can't see the Isle of Man from Blackpool, certainly not like that, right?

Well, it's all in the lens choice. Remember that famous moment in Jaws, when Roy Scheider realises there's a shark, and the background suddenly moves away?

In photography, it's called Field of View, and every lens has its own value. Without getting too technical, the longer the lens, the more narrow the field of view, and the background will get pulled forward.

This compresses all the elements of the picture, and makes them look a lot closer and bigger than they actually are. Try it with binoculars, you'll get the same effect.

Stephen has used a 300mm prime lens, with a x2 converter, making a whopping 600mm focal length. You'll get a decent shot of the moon with a set-up like that.

So there it is. It's an image that you'll never experience with the human eye, but is real. And I hope Stephen will take all the doubters and disbelief as evidence of what a truly remarkable picture this is.