Where's... Walther?
February 19, 2014 9:42 PM   Subscribe

Can you spot the sniper in these idyllic landscape photographs? I'm sure they've spotted you...
posted by smoke (74 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I should note, I could only see the fucker even when he was highlighted with a red circle in like two of the pics. I'm no White Death.
posted by smoke at 9:44 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Some of the scenes make me think the photographer was having fun putting his spin on a classic. Not so many explosions, though.
posted by barnacles at 9:46 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


I feel like they could just take any picture and put a circle anywhere, and it'd be just as convincing. I can't see shit.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:57 PM on February 19 [43 favorites]


I’m not sure I believe him. Of course it would be more fun with photos you could actually see, instead of small, low rez pictures. I couldn’t see a damn thing, even zooming in.

The idea is pretty cool though.
posted by bongo_x at 9:59 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


Jesus, even circled I couldn't spot them.
posted by schroedinger at 10:03 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Somewhere on this plate of cheese and cured meats is a sniper. Can you spot them?
posted by munchingzombie at 10:05 PM on February 19 [13 favorites]


In one of them (the one where he was in the middle of a field of grass), I actually found him before I even read the description of where he was. I felt really proud, until I realized that I was actively looking for snipers in photos, and if I was just wandering in a field I'd still be 100 percent dead, because there's no way I'd ever look at that little black speck and think "Hmm... probably a sniper."
posted by Weeping_angel at 10:07 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


Yes, but can the sniper spot the spy behind him?
posted by zompist at 10:08 PM on February 19 [26 favorites]


But you didn't see the gorilla walk across the screen when you were looking for the sniper.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:14 PM on February 19 [45 favorites]


I spotted about 50% of them, but the more I looked at some of the photos, the more suspicious I became of every single bump, dark spot, color change, etc. Are we sure there aren't more than one in any picture? I also think it is harder to spot a sniper in a photo than it would be in a video. Movement gives some away and even things like the reflection off the rifle scope can tip you off.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:16 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Yes, but can the sniper spot the spy behind him?

No, because nobody ever pays attention to the fact that actual pyros can't burn. Ahem.
posted by sparktinker at 10:17 PM on February 19 [8 favorites]


Is this like an Outdoor Life photo; where there are actually seven snipers in each pic?
posted by buzzman at 10:17 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


There is no actual landscape, it's just a pile of thousands of snipers.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:20 PM on February 19 [57 favorites]


No. 42 - How Not To Be Seen -
posted by isopraxis at 10:20 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


I had a solid suspicion before, but this just confirms it for me: there are snipers fucking everywhere.
posted by planetesimal at 10:24 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


I think I'm far better suited to fixing stuff than counter-sniper type stuff apparently. I'm also calling shenanigans on a couple of those--I'm pretty sure they just circled a couple random shrubs.
posted by ironbob at 10:24 PM on February 19


I had a solid suspicion before, but this just confirms it for me: there are snipers fucking everywhere.

And the really good ones can even shoot while they're doing it.
posted by The World Famous at 10:28 PM on February 19 [41 favorites]


I found all but one pretty easily. After I stopped looking for them in the sky and the trees, anyway. Which is apparently where my brain suspects snipers do their lurking. Once I knew what I was looking for the triangle with a flat line on top of it shape stood out pretty quickly. The only one I didn't get was the one where he/she's further back.

I credit all the times my family drove through the NI border during the early 80s and we kids played this game for real.
posted by fshgrl at 10:29 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


It's a lot less stressful to simply assume there's always a sniper drawing a bead on you than it is to actively look for them.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:35 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


if I was just wandering in a field I'd still be 100 percent dead

If think if there's an actual war going on, you don't do much wandering in the fields - mostly furtive crawling or plodding along in large groups. The way you supposedly deal with snipers is he kills one of your guys, giving you a clue to the general location, and then you send more guys to approach him from different directions to flush him out. Such fun!
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:48 PM on February 19


It's a lot less stressful...

Have you tried diazepam? If Metal Gear is any guide, downing handfuls of valium will steady your countersniping hands and/or make you feel better about your impending doom.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:50 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


This seems more of a "snipe" hunt than a sniper hunt.
I believe i have been duped again.
posted by quazichimp at 10:50 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


The article doesn't say whether the snipers are using CADPAT or not.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:01 PM on February 19


this would be the best waldo book ever
posted by Mikey-San at 11:08 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


In one of them (the one where he was in the middle of a field of grass), I actually found him before I even read the description of where he was. I felt really proud, until I realized that I was actively looking for snipers in photos, and if I was just wandering in a field I'd still be 100 percent dead, because there's no way I'd ever look at that little black speck and think "Hmm... probably a sniper."

posted by Weeping_angel

You're a FREAKING Weeping Angel! Sniper's gotta blink. Then you've got him! My money's on you :)
posted by maupuia at 11:10 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


My one advantage over the snipers is that I can close the tab anytime I want.
posted by vverse23 at 11:15 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


Ahhh, clever sniper! Hiding behind the JPEG compression as always.
posted by archagon at 11:17 PM on February 19 [46 favorites]


Oh, I found one sniper hiding behind bourgeois morality.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:19 PM on February 19 [18 favorites]


The premise is pretty stupid: a sniper with an infinite choice of condition and infinite time to dig in should be invisible when the observer can only look from a single angle. But even that weak premise is let down by the fact that they were too cheap to use high-res pictures. So they've effectively demonstrated that even when everything is stacked against the observer, their snipers are still unable to conceal themselves reliably.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:22 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Movement gives some away and even things like the reflection off the rifle scope can tip you off.

That problem was solved years ago by putting one of these on the end of your scope.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:23 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


So they've effectively demonstrated that even when everything is stacked against the observer, their snipers are still unable to conceal themselves reliably.

To be fair, they would likely be harder to find from a thousand yards out.
posted by madajb at 11:39 PM on February 19


infinite time to dig in

Imagine a mountain the size of the Earth, and every million years a tiny sparrow flies from the end of the Universe, out there where even the vacuum grows thin, and sharpens his beak: once, twice. Then he stretches his wings a few times and flies back. When that tiny sparrow has worn that mountain down to a grain of sand one million times in a row? The sniper will still be digging in.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:49 PM on February 19 [17 favorites]


I saw all but two, so I guess I would only die twice.

The one with the rocks, even with the red circle, all I saw were rocks.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:00 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


No... Nope... Nope... Oh, for Pete's sake.

Do it! C'mahn! Kill me! I'm heah! Kill me! I'm heah! Kill me!
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:53 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Here's the thing. The 'sniper' has feedback from the photographer right now and was able to do exactly that to hide.

IRL the person does not know if they are camouflaging into the environment well. They have to trust their suit...and well, tall grass that you aren't touching.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:26 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


What hal said. I've set up a few camouflaged observation posts (OP) in my time, and if you're able to send someone out to give feedback on how it looks it's very helpful. But it's only possible if you're setting up before opposing forces go into the area, or sometimes if there are other friendly OPs nearby that can see your position and radio back to you.

Setting up is a craft; but can be learnt rather quickly. Maintaining a position for days while staying undetected however requires a lot of discipline and some skill and stamina. Consider that humans have to eat, drink, eliminate waste, sleep etc.
posted by Harald74 at 1:47 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I only got one exactly, but every other pic was within a half-inch or so of the circled area. And, like others, even with the circle I couldn't tell what I was looking for. Scanning the images, my eyes just sort of honed in on those areas like something wasn't quite right.

I wonder if it comes from regularly hiking in areas where I run into bears. The feeling was very similar to the so-called 'bear sense' I've felt when I've had my back turned and everything was silent, only to turn around to find one watching me in curiosity from a distance. In a shadowy old growth forest, a bear sitting next to a tree is all but invisible.
posted by mannequito at 1:50 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Okay you pixel peeping, "oh it's totes the jpegs" resistance fighters, here's some bigger ones at the photographer's site.

I can only see one guy in those pics, and his name is Jack Shit.
posted by smoke at 2:10 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


there are snipers fucking everywhere.

Clearly, we need to import the sniper's natural enemies and wait for the trophic cascade to solve this sniper over-population issues.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:33 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


The "bigger images" are 680 x 544 pixels. I can't understand so-called artists who do things like this. Are they all using VGA monitors or something?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:35 AM on February 20 [16 favorites]


I'm just going to leave this here.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:47 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I found one under my bed and another in my attic. But those photos, sheese, he might as well had said, "can you find the shortest blade of grass in this photo?"
posted by HuronBob at 2:48 AM on February 20


I would love to learn all the concealment and observation skills behind sniping, I'm just not big on actually shooting someone if the mission calls for it. In this case the size and static state of the images is a valid criticism, but I think people here blaming that for the difficulty finding the snipers are perhaps overconfident in their ability to pick out camouflaged figures in underbrush. It's one thing to find someone when explicitly told he's there, another when you're going about your daily business.

The feeling was very similar to the so-called 'bear sense' I've felt when I've had my back turned and everything was silent, only to turn around to find one watching me in curiosity from a distance.

When I was young and my dad emphasized bears aren't super-dangerous unless you surprise them I kind of figured, "What are the chances of running into a bear anyways?" Besides the distant bear encounters the one time I noticed movement and looked up to see an alarmed bear 20 yards to the side of the trail convinced me to always be talking if hiking with someone and make some noise occasionally when hiking alone in bear country.
posted by edeezy at 2:55 AM on February 20


SNIPER NO SNIPING! SNIPER NO SNIPING!
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:50 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


Play ArmA sometime. Even in a game where you know there are enemies out there, and you have a gun to shoot them with, it is next to impossible to see a concealed enemy.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:27 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


...but the more I looked at some of the photos, the more suspicious I became of every single bump, dark spot, color change, etc.

All the more reason to simply napalm the hell out of any open area before you enter it. If you're entering a forest, a small tactical nuke will be more expedient.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:38 AM on February 20


hey you guys has anyone posted that monty python clip yet
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:52 AM on February 20 [8 favorites]


What I am getting from this is that the landscape of Dear Esther actually had concealed snipers everywhere.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:01 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Ooh! A sniper! I see him! He's right over th
posted by valkane at 5:15 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Ahh, is he the gun obsessed wanker who's yet to grow up?
posted by mattoxic at 5:17 AM on February 20


[whine]Whyyyy can't I make the pictures biiiiiigerrrrrrrrr?![/whine]
posted by NoMich at 5:22 AM on February 20


So we're supposed to find details that the JPEG standard leaves out to save space out of every image, in a small JPEG image?

If we had these as about 25 megapixel RAW images, displayed on a proper 30"+
monitor, it would be easy to see.... but thinking anything that can be displayed in an 8" window on my 15" laptop is the same as real-world seeing is just silly.

Maybe I'm just grumpy because the furnace isn't working... and I have to climb on the roof to check for a possible ice jam... 8(
posted by MikeWarot at 5:54 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


It's not an ice jam, it's a sniper with his foot in your gutter.
posted by arcticseal at 6:00 AM on February 20 [15 favorites]


This would be a lot more interesting if the photos were:

1. High-quality
2. Taken of real snipers who haven't had any feedback on how well they are concealed
3. Taken from a realistic range of a sniper's target

Then we'd get a very cool chance to see if we could spot a sniper hidden a few hundred metres out in the landscape. That would be really cool, actually. This isn't that.
posted by Dasein at 6:43 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I found about half of them by scanning the image and noticing where I got uncomfortable. I can't see a damn thing but apparently my lizard brain is trustworthy.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:55 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Those ghillie suits are fine for woodlands, but more urban environments call for different tactics - testing roadside camouflage.
posted by 445supermag at 6:58 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Why are snipers hiding in the English countryside? Are they afraid the Germans will invade?

Snipers are neat, but deploying them against civilians is a good way to make everyone hate you (or to cause insecurity, in which case, good for you!). Against a modern army they're not that great, though.

Because if a sniper from a great power is deployed against the soldiers from another great power, that's World War III. So if the sniper can see you outside of your NBC-protected vehicle, you're both screwed, since you will soon both die from radiation poisoning.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:05 AM on February 20


From my extensive experience playing Battlefield 4 I know that my team's sniper is generally lying on top of a roof somewhere halfway across the map, nowhere near the objective we're supposed to be capturing. He took the only helicopter to get up there, ditching it to blow up with 3 other teammates inside. He's got the highest kill/death ratio on the team but also the lowest score.
posted by Nelson at 7:10 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]


From my extensive experience playing Battlefield 4 I know that my team's sniper is generally lying on top of a roof somewhere halfway across the map, nowhere near the objective we're supposed to be capturing. He took the only helicopter to get up there, ditching it to blow up with 3 other teammates inside. He's got the highest kill/death ratio on the team but also the lowest score.

I got really good at hovering over the "1" key in earlier Battlefield games, just in case my "pilot" (ha ha!) decided to bail out to snipe from a tower somewhere. There was just a tiny bit of lag in the game that would allow you to take over and save the other guys inside.
posted by Thistledown at 7:27 AM on February 20


Just to say that I love that a 2001 post on Vanishing America shows up below in related posts.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:48 AM on February 20


We had a much easier time finding the sniper at the end of the MS150 in Austin last year, and his presence WAS NOT AT ALL CREEPY NOSIREE.

I suspect he was not trying to hide.

(Link's to my own site, but that's where the pic is, so...)
posted by uberchet at 8:10 AM on February 20


An otherwise-innocuous high-res landscape photo with a sniper in it, without tipping off viewers that they're supposed to be looking for a sniper, would be a fun little ARG puzzle. Like the coordinates of the pixel in the dead center of the barrel is the next clue or something.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:13 AM on February 20


Then we'd get a very cool chance to see if we could spot a sniper hidden a few hundred metres out in the landscape.

You can't.

In stalking school snipers learn how to get within a few hundred meters of spotters who are actively looking for them with a walker holding a big day glo red stick standing incrementally closer to them, ultimately being practically on top of them and pointing to them. Meanwhile the observers are looking for the ground effect from the rifle blast ('cause you have to shoot).
If they're spotted they lose. Insanely hard.

Any picture taken of them fails to take into account that you don't know where to look. What would work better is a sequence of pictures of the area around the photographer and then trying to spot the sniper in a series of pictures. Or one big landscape.

Urban camouflage is actually harder to spot. You can look like a set of pipes or chunks of debris and wood.
Of course, there are counter-sniper systems that use lasers to look for reflections from optics or even retinas.
But there are scopes that use lasers and data synch so you don't need time to calculate or need a spotter and eliminates ranging errors even in cross-breezes (with air scintillation from the laser) so it's about 1 second to engage and fire.

The technology gets so fiendish (in Second Variety terms) that you can't trust your friendly neighborhood kitty cat.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:23 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


"Spot The Loonie" is much easier.
posted by Mister_A at 9:39 AM on February 20


And yeah real snipers are shooting at targets that are a few hundred yards away. They still have to be concealed but the crucial thing is to have good line of sight on whatever you're targeting. I don't imagine lying in a dry river bed is really part of sniper 101; they're all about high ground for LOS on the target.
posted by Mister_A at 9:53 AM on February 20


I would love to learn all the concealment and observation skills behind sniping

Here's a tip: Stick some flowers down your rifle barrel.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:06 AM on February 20


This sniper is terrible at this.
posted by Mister_A at 10:40 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


One of my good friends was a sniper who apparently did a significant amount of counter-sniping work (urban, though, not fields) and was, by accounts, very good at it. I asked him about technique, and he said that he was just good at being able to look out and visualize how it would look from another perspective. Then he'd think "if I was on the other side of this block, where would I set up?" and that's where he'd put the round.
posted by kjs3 at 12:48 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Sniper had lunch here, sir. McDonald's. Quarter Pounder. With Cheese.
posted by bowmaniac at 12:57 PM on February 20


This one is trickier...
posted by mazola at 12:57 PM on February 20


We the people need to get into urban camo, since the war, wallstreet, and political suppression money is so big. Chop, chop. If I were funded I would have already made it, with square umbrellas that match the sidewalk patterns in cities, asphalt printed square umbrellas, grass printed sun hats, soft edged weed printed umbrellas, for those of us who like a little privacy from time to time. I imagine the asphalt printed umbrella would be a great accessory for the no-tell motel parking lot. I imagine very light tube prints, airy, mesh, printed to look like common terrain, what can be worn as a waist sash, for runners, who would like to suddenly disappear. I just haven't gotten to this yet, feel free. As a photographer I have to say print media has radically improved. But this sniper stuff, if they want you out of the picture there is always Photoshop.
posted by Oyéah at 1:44 PM on February 20


I'm kind of pissed off on behalf of the snipers here. Presumably they went to some trouble to actually, you know, conceal themselves. And then the photographer obscures all of their work by throwing up shitty, low-res, artifacted-all-to-hell photos, apparently for no other reason than to "win" some made-up contest with the reader.
posted by bjrubble at 2:41 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Smedleyman -- despite being able to spot the sniper, that was far more badass than anything I'd have imagined from the FPP link.
posted by bjrubble at 2:47 PM on February 20


From my days of lugging a spotting scope around in Norwegian forests: Your priorities are these: 1) Eyes on target, 2) Radio coverage, 3) Concealment. Then a host of others things like cover (which is different from concealment), possibilities for exfiltration, access to a hidden rear position for rest, etc etc. I don't know much about sniping, but I expect that one consideration might be dust or snow that might be kicked up from the muzzle blast. Police snipers would also consider what's behind their targets in case of a miss, I guess.
posted by Harald74 at 12:22 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


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