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Sunday 25 February 2018

Galway restaurant owner admits ‘tornado’ pic is fake

Picture: @GMITSU
Picture: @GMITSU
Twister spotted in Ireland‏

Aishling Phelan

A RESTAURATEUR was behind the hoax tornado image that circulated online and in the national media yesterday.

The owner of a bistro in Galway posted the photograph on the restaurant’s Facebook page claiming that the snap had been taken in Salthill to play a joke on its customers.

A message accompanying the fake picture read, ‘‘Twister Spotted at Salthill!!!!!! Spotted by Sinead and Daisy boo while out walking the prom.’’

Speaking to the Irish Independent, owner Micheal O’Meara said he was shocked that the altered image went viral on social media and was picked up by the national media.

‘‘Viral? Goodness no. I thought it would get a couple of likes and that’s about it. It was both strange and at first a little daunting seeing it take off.

‘‘I just popped it up on our own Facebook and within 15 minutes it had over one hundred shares. But again it really was a bit of fun, the hoax picture was even plagiarized,’’ he said.

This morning he posted a picture of the original and altered image together, showing that the hoax image had been heavily manipulated using Photoshop.

‘‘The picture was pretty simple to do. I waited for it to rain as the drops looked good on the lens. Then using layers on CS5 the twister was added. After that I made some contrast adjustments to give a darker ambiance as well as some simple blending of the images.

Twister spotted in Ireland‏ - @PaddyBrennan7
Twister spotted in Ireland‏ - @PaddyBrennan7

‘‘Also I reduced the image quality to a point that it would be impossible to focus in and spot the image manipulation,’’ he added.

The photograph of the fake tornado was shared by thousands of online users and picked up by national media outlets..

‘‘I think it was the Dutch weather service, I may be wrong, that really set this one up on Wednesday with their twister prediction for Ireland,’’ he added.

Mr O’Meara told Galway City Tribune that he used Photoshop to superimpose a waterspout over The Great Lakes on to his photograph of Galway Bay.

The hoax was initially identified by a contributor to boards.ie who posted a picture of similar-looking waterspouts she had found online.

‘‘Was suspicious so searched images of waterspouts... Wasn't that hard to find,’’ she posted.

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