October 07, 2006

Val McClatchey's camera identified, contained editing software

In a recent article about this Flight 93 photo fraud controversy from the Tribune-Democrat, they included a new photo showing Val clutching the digital camera that it is assumed to be the one she used to take her "End of Serenity" photo with:

The camera she is clutching has been identified as a Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 315:

This digital camera comes in two versions, HP315 and HP315xi, and had a MSRP of $299. The "xi" version seems to be the exact same camera, but includes extra editing software (at this time it is unknown which version Val has):

HP Photosmart 315 digital camera / C8452A
HP Photosmart 315xi digital camera / C8455A

Product description
The simple-to-use HP Photosmart 315 series digital camera takes high-quality photos you can share with family and friends on the Internet or via e-mail. It comes with HP software for manipulating, storing, and printing photos.

Sensor - 2.1 MegaPixel, 1/2.7 inch (15 mm) CCD
Color depth - 30-bit (10 bits x 3 colors)
Resolution - 2.1 MP (1600 x 1200)
Zoom - 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x variable digital zoom
Date and time stamp - Not available
Interfaces - USB to PC or Mac; Standard tripod mount
Minimum system requirements PC:
* Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0* or Windows 2000 Professional
* 166 MHz Pentium(R) processor or equivalent
* 32 MB RAM*
* 150 MB free disk space - 800 x 600, 16-bit color display
* CD-ROM drive
* USB interface - Sound card and speakers recommended
* NT 4.0 requires 64 MB RAM and does not support USB. Compact Flash card reader required instead. (Card reader must be purchased separately.)

HP Photo Imaging software (PC only)
Arcsoft PhotoImpression 2000
Arcsoft PhotoMontage 2000 (315 and 315xi only)
Adobe(R) PhotoDeluxe Business Edition 1.1 (PC 315xi version only)
Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0 (Mac 315xi version only)

There are three interesting things about this camera: (1) it does not have an optical zoom -- only digital zoom; (2) it did contain editing software in which a Post-Gazette article said that Val did not have access to any editing software on 9/11:

"Mrs. McClatchey acknowledged that a lot of people are alleging she fabricated the photo, but she stands by its authenticity. Days after Sept. 11, neighbors saw the image, still in her camera. The camera and computer were new, and she didn't have access to Photoshop or any other photo-altering software." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (08/06/06)

Let me make it clear that I'm not saying Val lied about not having photo editing software. I am just bringing up the fact that her camera did come with editing software. Also, I do not know at this time if the editing software that came with her camera could be used to photoshop a smoke plume on her photo and I do not know if Val, or her husband have photoshopping skills.

Also remember that Val said her and her husband were in severe financial trouble right before 9/11, yet she buys this camera that had a MSRP of $300 a month before the attacks along with a new computer. It is not known at this time how much she paid for this camera, or how much her new computer cost, but most new computers back in 2001 were over a $1,000. This seems like an expensive purchase for a them to have made during their financial crisis. The purchase of her new camera and computer right before 9/11 could have been for her new career in real estate, but as for as I can tell, she did not start taking real estate classes until sometime after Christmas:

"I’d had some health problems. Gall bladder surgery and during the testing for all the gall bladder problems, they found a tumor on my kidney and lesions on my liver, so day after Christmas, I had my gall bladder out. Right after there I went right into taking real estate classes to start a new career to help support my family." - Windsor Park Stories

(3) It was mentioned that the reason Val only took one photo of this smoke plume was because after snapping her shot, she dropped her camera and the battery was jarred loose:

"I didn't even aim. I was just like, 'Oh, my God,' " she said. She dropped the camera, jolting the battery loose, then tried in vain to call her husband, son and daughter. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (08/06/06)

However, her camera does not have one battery as the article implies, but four AA batteries:

See also:

(Update 08/31/11)

A StarTribune article confirms the camera was an HP 315:

McClatchey is president of the Keystone Camaro Club, so she usually has her Hewlett-Packard 315 point-and-shoot camera handy for car shows.

October 04, 2006

"Blogs Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" - Photo District News

Blogs Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

October 04, 2006

By Daryl Lang

In some ways, the blogosphere corrects itself, as bloggers try to one-up each other with new information. The popular technology blog Boing Boing, which questioned Wilson’s microphone cable picture, removed the post later.

Hard-core conspiracy theorists, however, play by different rules.

Someone who is well aware of this is Val McClatchey, a real estate agent from Pennsylvania who took the famous picture of a puff of smoke that rose after United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near her house on Sept. 11, 2001.

McClatchey has been smeared by people who think she is covering something up. One 9/11 skeptic examined McClatchey’s finances and family health history, speculating that she is motivated to lie for profit. Another posted an account of a confrontational visit to McClatchey’s office.

“Right now it’s become more of a curse than a blessing that I took it at all,” McClatchey recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (McClatchey is also suing the Associated Press for distributing the photo without her permission; the AP denies this.)

– Photo District News


Notice that PDN does not link back to my blog so readers can get the whole story.