A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

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wadinga
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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by wadinga » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:05 am

Fellow Contributors,

Hello Hans,

I posed the question:
Can we return to Bild 146-1990-061 and NH69729 please? As A photogrammetrist are you able to say anything about the angle between the camera axis and the rail?
Bill says above :
My sense of it, though, based on the numbers I've been able to work through quickly, and doing some graphic analysis, is that the angle between the stanchions and the observer is only a few degrees, perhaps two to five, meaning that the camera is pointed almost directly perpendicular to the railing.
If the camera is almost directly perpendicular to the railing, and the railing is parallel to the centreline of PG and we are seeing Bismarck head-on, then Bismarck and PG are at right angles to one another.

Only these two pictures show Bismarck coming head -on straight down the camera axis and therefore perpendicular to PG's rail and were probably shot seconds apart. The other is the flash effect which I believe was taken a few moments later as Bismarck was about to pass PG's stern and Brinkmann's ship having crossed the flagship's bows, likely having turned through more than 90 degrees, prepares to swing hard back to port again to parallel the flagship, thus fouling her own range. I postulate this three frame sequence shows Bismarck and PG starting on courses at right angles moving to Bismarck being somewhere slightly abaft the starboard beam of PG with the muzzles of the midships 105mm in the edge of the shot and Bismarck seen from c 30 degrees on her starboard bow as seen in the Flash Effect. Very close.

Are you saying you believe the axis of the camera in Bild 146-1990-061 is actually at 50-60 degrees and not 90 to the railing? Can you see any foreshortening or differential blur across the frame to suggest this is true?

Kine Exacta/Leica: I believe it is likely the fastest lens, ie the one with the biggest aperture, would be the 50mm in both cases. There is increased chance of camera shake and blur when using a telephoto in the "action situation" and the standard lens allowing the fastest shutter speed is the safest option. If the shot is found to be sharp it can always be enlarged later to simulate the use of a telephoto. If the telephoto is used, not only will this slower lens require a slower shutter speed, but the magnification makes it harder to hold steady. With guns going off and shells flying around one's ears.

For the record I have never been confident in the distance postulated for NH69722. Or indeed that it depicts the first salvo at Denmark Straits.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by hans zurbriggen » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:45 am

Hello,
to Mr. Wadinga writing: 'Are you saying you believe the axis of the camera in Bild 146-1990-061 is actually at 50-60 degrees and not 90 to the railing? '
Thanks to Mr. Wadinga for posting Mr. Jurens sentence, that I had evidently missed.
Despite that, I still believe angle was not 90° but 50 - 60° because the railing is too close to the photographer POV to get any info from its inclination.
I have already posted at link viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8756&start=225#p85474 the explanation why inclination of railings can be misleading especially when camera is so close in height to railing itself. We all know NH69724 was taken looking c 20° fore the beam from Prinz Eugen. Inclination is similar in the two images, once horizon is rotated to be perfectly horizontal. Photographer is much higher in NH69724, enhancing the railing inclination effect.
Herr Nilsson sees a possibility of such angle as well for all the thre photos.
A 90° course between the two ships is inconsitent with all other evidences and would not apparently allow to build a map, while a 50 - 60° is consistent with reconstruction and available evidences.
I think we can agree to disagree about this specific point, but I still kindly suggest you to propose your alternative battle map to compare with the widely accepted one and see which is more consistent.

hans

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:26 am

hans zurbriggen wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:48 am
... H (actual height of Bismarck main mast over water = c 45 meters) ...
The height of the main mast was ~ 46,5 meters above the top of the bootstripe. Looking at pictures from the Grimstadfjord I think ~ 47 m or even more seems to be more plausible.
Bill Jurens wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:31 pm
Herr Nilsson has given an alternative frame format for German motion picture cameras of the era. My data was based on North American standards, which I assumed -- it appears, in this case incorrectly -- were universal, i.e. international, in nature. I trust his figures. The discrepancy between our figures helps, I think, to illustrate how 'slippery' this sort of analysis can really be.
As far as I know 22x16 mm was the Academy ratio. In German this format was called "amerikanisch" [american].
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by hans zurbriggen » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:16 am

Hello,
thanks Mr. Nilsson, I agree mast height is more precisely 46,5 (without small antenna, obviously not visible in film) than 45 meters.
With the quality of the film available however, I do not feel it is worth to go more in detail, as other measuements have to be approximated when using the images available. Distance will change by 50-100 m anyway, depending from used lens (35-75 mm), from 1200-1600 to 1250-2700 m.

hans

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by wadinga » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:49 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Hans has observed:
I think we can agree to disagree about this specific point, but I still kindly suggest you to propose your alternative battle map to compare with the widely accepted one and see which is more consistent.
I am quite happy to disagree with you on this point since both Bill Jurens and Mr Bonomi apparently agree with my view that the camera axis is perpendicular to the railings. I am at a loss to explain why Mr Nilsson cannot concur. He usually has very good reasons for things. Since Mr Bonomi's agreement is at odds with his own map, perhaps "widely accepted" somewhere, and he has never bothered to resolve it, commencing some redrawing before indeed withdrawing, I consider his map even less acceptable than before, given the new evidence we have.

Can you describe the "evidences" which for you deny the evidence (clear to myself, Mr Jurens and indeed Mr Bonomi) in these two photos? Can you say why are these other "evidences" more weighty than what is shown in the photographs?

The recent very commendable, and undoubtedly correct identification of the specific handrail as being parallel to the ship's centreline means Mr Bonomi's previous attempts to imagine it is some other piece of chained rail in some other location somewhere (anywhere) which allows it be a view perpendicular to the chain, but also viewing the aft quarter- purely to suit his conjectural map, is rendered obsolete.

I and others have explained the pointlessness of creating another conjectural map which cannot pretend to be definitive, when basic matters like this are unresolved, I decline to do so at this time. Kindly. The research continues, since one day the hidden photos will become available, and the corrected Gefechtskizze and the detailed gunnery report may even come to light.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by hans zurbriggen » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:59 pm

Hello,
to Mr. Wadinga writing: 'I consider his map even less acceptable than before, given the new evidence we have.'
Respectfully, so be it. Instead, I say that Mr. Bonomi map is the most consistent and widely accepted, among the published ones. If a better exists, I have not seen yet. Possibly some minor changes are possible (and I understand from Mr. Virtuani that Mr. Bonomi is working on a new map that will be published soon). However nobody else has done these changes yet or produced a different one that better matches all available evidences.
The reason why the railing inclination is not proving the cameraman direction of sight has already been explained by Mr. Nilsson and by myself at these links: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8756&p=85476&hilit= ... ion#p85476 and viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8756&p=85474&hilit=took+time#p85474.
Kindly, as I understand that you are not interested to propose an alternative yourself, I agree to concentrate, as you suggest too, on technical aspects, documents and photos research. Let's not insist on our own personal opinions about Mr. Bonomi map reliability. It looks to me a point on which we will be in disagreement forever, without making any progress.

hans

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by Bill Jurens » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:24 pm

I would tend to concur that it would be worthwhile making some effort to avoid involving ourselves in the seemingly intractable questions revolving around our opinions of Mr. Bonomi's track chart(s). Some will feel they are worthless, while others may claim they are the best yet produced, or at least superior to other alternatives. In the absence of conclusive -- and probably NEW -- information, that's likely to remain an issue of opinion. It's well to keep in mind that ones FEELINGS about Mr. Bonomi's work, reflect not the slightest upon their actual historical utility.

I did revisit the film frames with the railings in the foreground again, and concluded that there is simply not enough information there to reach any meaningful conclusions regarding the exact direction in which the camera might be pointed. Had the railings not appeared at all, there would be basically nothing upon which measurements might be taken at all and the entire issue would be moot. In this particular case, more-or-less by coincidence, we have rather blurry images of a couple of stanchions and railings, which basically yield -- if that -- only a few firm points of reference, those being the tops of the stanchions and their vertical angles of convergence. Further, there seems to be no really firm way to determine exactly what the geometry and position of the stanchions in question actually was in the first place.

Working from what is there, I was able to establish a few additional reference points, but these are so ill-defined as to make any meaningful analysis impossible. I worked the problem several times, using the same image, and each time proceeding independently, i.e. re-creating the geometry each time from scratch, and not working the problems through until the very end. The results in each case were rather significantly different, which suggests that the small visual variations even in establishing initial geometry were sufficient to 'blur' the estimates beyond meaningful utility. To take just one example, the location of the Principal Point and a line extending from the Plumb Point perpendicular to the horizon do not coincide, and vary fairly dramatically from construction to construction. This alone makes even geometric reconstruction highly questionable. Further, it's unlikely that the lenses used for both exposure and enlargements were photogrammetrically calibrated, rendering the geometric relationships between various components somewhat problematical. (This represents the rarely-utilized distinction between the nouns 'photogram' and 'photograph'.) In short, the photo can be 'interpreted' so as to support almost any pre-determined theory or, conversely, almost any theory can be successfully generated from the photograph.

More work, of course, can be done analytically, but in this case it's probably futile because, in essence, in this case the 'noise' almost entirely obscures the signal. Is that one-second-long clip of music something from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Credence Clearwater Revival? Almost anything can be made to fit.

Bill Jurens.

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by northcape » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:18 pm

Bill Jurens wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:24 pm
In short, the photo can be 'interpreted' so as to support almost any pre-determined theory or, conversely, almost any theory can be successfully generated from the photograph.

More work, of course, can be done analytically, but in this case it's probably futile because, in essence, in this case the 'noise' almost entirely obscures the signal. Is that one-second-long clip of music something from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Credence Clearwater Revival? Almost anything can be made to fit.

Bill Jurens.
Amen.

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by hans zurbriggen » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:14 am

Hello,
I repeat that it is not worth continuing this debate.
To Mr.Jurens writing: 'the photo can be 'interpreted' so as to support almost any pre-determined theory or, conversely, almost any theory can be successfully generated from the photograph.'
My point is simply that there is no other theory that can be supported or generated by photos interpretation. There is only one today. To me that means there is no alternative to interpret differently what we see and what we know from other documents.

hans

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by dunmunro » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:00 pm

hans zurbriggen wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:14 am
Hello,
I repeat that it is not worth continuing this debate.
To Mr.Jurens writing: 'the photo can be 'interpreted' so as to support almost any pre-determined theory or, conversely, almost any theory can be successfully generated from the photograph.'
My point is simply that there is no other theory that can be supported or generated by photos interpretation. There is only one today. To me that means there is no alternative to interpret differently what we see and what we know from other documents.

hans
That's a very circular logic.

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by northcape » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:32 am

That is not circular logic. It is no logic at all.
This statement/reasoning is perfectly valid as an expression of what one believes, or as an opinion. But of course it is without any significance for a fact-based historical evaluation.

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by hans zurbriggen » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:05 am

Hello,
I said I will not accept the polemic, more (Mr. Dunmunro) or less (Mr. northcape) kindly expressed above.
Logic: it is a fact that there is no other consistent reconstruction available today, not an opinion.
Mr. northcape and Mr. Dunmunro are invited to build themselves (or to show from another author) a map that can be an alternative: it should put together all evidences and images in a consistent way, however.
Without alternative, while all authors accept Mr. Bonomi map, I'm afraid we will disagree forever.

hans
Last edited by hans zurbriggen on Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:36 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by pgollin » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:37 am

Hans,

( Very politely)

Those comments are NOT "polemics", they are perfectly logical statements/questions.

The whole point of others' arguments is that the available evidence is insufficient/incomplete to support any claim that the map/reconstruction is "consistent - and no one can claim that it is "accepted" by anyone/everyone.

.

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by hans zurbriggen » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:23 pm

Hello,
to pgollin writing: 'The whole point of others' arguments is that the available evidence is insufficient/incomplete to support any claim that the map/reconstruction is "consistent - and no one can claim that it is "accepted" by anyone/everyone'
Very politely, everyone who has recently publisehd a book has confirmed Mr. Bonomi map, supposedly considering evidence more than sufficient/complete.
No one can claim it is not accepted. Can you show any author who has recently published anything different, disproving Mr. Bonomi map ?
Why don't we accept at least to agree to disagree ? Why such others' urgency to insist that the map is not consistent ?

hans

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Re: A correct attribution for the "Flash Effect" photo?

Post by Bill Jurens » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:37 pm

Mr. Zurbriggen wrote:

"No one can claim it is not accepted. Can you show any author who has recently published anything different, disproving Mr. Bonomi map ?
Why don't we accept at least to agree to disagree ? Why such others' urgency to insist that the map is not consistent ?"

Without being argumentative, I for one have published recently and can claim it is not accepted. Nor, for that matter, do I consider the evidence (of any sort) "...more than sufficient/complete." For quite legitimate reasons, i.e. the lack of primary source material from Hood and Bismarck, the fragmentary evidence residual from Prince of Wales' records, and the rather poor records of Prinz Eugen, the evidence 'of any sort' is, in my opinion, a mess. Basically, aside from the rather poorly drawn and incomplete track chart of Prinz Eugen, what we really have is a collection of anecdotal comments, a few snips of (probably heavily edited) film, and a few photographs which hardly can be considered more than 'snapshots' of the action. To me, especially in the absence of any better material to check against, this renders any reconstruction by anyone, including myself, somewhat conjectural. On the bright side, of course, it appears that it really doesn't matter much; the various maneuvers of Prinz Eugen during the gunfire action, which I suspect were, at best, somewhat spontaneous and unpredictable, in the end didn't seem to affect the overall action that much at all. The idea that Mr. Bonomi's chart should be considered definitive because nobody has produced an alternative is, in my opinion, just plain wrong on two counts, one being that because no alternative has been supplied, the initial conjecture should be considered correct, and the other being that there are no alternative reconstructions. The uniqueness of a particular idea presents no inherent guarantee of its validity. Secondly, actually there are a large number of alternative reconstructions around, with (usually) few reasons presented why these should not be considered as equally valid to Mr. Bonomi's reconstruction. One can, for example, quite quickly find quite a variety of presentations made during or shortly after World War II. These are, as a group, not very satisfying due to their ambiguity, but this may only reflect the fact that the situation was never more than highly ambiguous in the first place. How do we really know that we -- sitting in our armchairs seventy-five years later -- can do better than they could, writing (and illustrating) when primary source material, such as it existed, was available in relative abundance, especially immediately post-war. Perhaps not more was done because not more COULD be done.

In my own situation, I came up with a construction similar to Mr. Bonoomi's based upon an independent examination and interpretation of primary sources. That's not to say I did not include Mr. Bonomi's reconstructions with a variety of other primary and secondary sources, just to say that I considered it as one additional voice amongst many. A fair number of other sources, including my own previous efforts, went into the reconstruction as well. So it agrees in some places, disagrees in others. With regard to track charts, please do not confuse 'acceptance', 'correspondence', and 'agreement'. These are concepts which are -- at least in English -- subtly but importantly different. I might 'agree', but that does not necessarily mean I 'accept'.

As before, I feel that this particular discussion really revolves not around the track chart itself, but on the nuances of historical technique which are used to derive the historical record. Seen in that overall context, one can I think, see this examination as a prototype for others, i.e. as helping to set the guidelines upon which other historical events, taken in military or other contexts as well, may be interpreted in general. In that regard, the issue would seem to be, at least from my perspective, more of a general one than a specific one revolving around the action of 24 May, 1941.

For whatever reasons, some will consider Mr. Bonomi's reconstructions as fairly definitive, whereas others will consider them overly imaginative. My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that Mr. Bonomi's reconstructions represent a valuable contribution to the literature and discussion, but-- at least to the serious student -- cannot be considered more than conjectural. That, for what it is worth, is how I view my own recent rendition(s) as well.

I would tend to concur with Mr. Zurbriggen's comments along the lines that -- again in the absence of NEW information -- that we simply agree to disagree for now, consider the outcome indeterminate, and perhaps move along other potentially more productive paths.


Bill Jurens

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