Superstorm Sandy photos that aren’t what they seem

Megan Cloherty and Heather Brady, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – As the hurricane raged toward shore Monday, a number of incredible photos created a storm of response on social media. But as some may have wondered, many of them were too incredible to be real.

One photo out of D.C., picked up and passed around Monday wasn’t what it seemed.

The photo shows the Old Guard standing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington as rain pours around them.

Unfortunately, the photo isn’t related to Hurricane Sandy. It wasn’t even taken in October.

The photo is from a changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the tomb in September, photographed by Karin Merkert, a military spouse. Many news organizations and social media users thought it was taken during Hurricane Sandy.

While Merkert says it was unexpected that her older photo was picked up and shared Monday, she is happy it brought deserved attention to the Old Guard, who were working through the storm.

“It was nice to recognize not only were the guard in the Tomb yesterday, they were also participating in funerals at Arlington National Cemetary, filling thousands of sandbags, prepositioning sandbags … They were very busy yesterday,” Merkert says.

In response to the photo’s popularity, the Old Guard responded to multiple re- tweets of the doctored photo, and released new photos ahead of the storm.

As misleading photos go, it wasn’t the only one. As Hurricane Sandy approached the East Coast, more doctored photos began making their own waves on social media. The Atlantic did some digging and discovered which were real and which were fake.

As the Atlantic reports, the fake photos come in three types: Real photos taken long before the storm that were re-released in anticipation of Sandy, Photoshopped photos that are not real and a combination of old photos that are Photoshopped pictures being sent out again.

That said, there are plenty of real photos of storm damage. There is the photo of a facade that fell off a New York apartment building, leaving it looking like a dollhouse; the photo of flood waters rushing into the Hoboken, N.J. PATH station and another photo of water spilling into the construction site at Ground Zero. Those are all real.

The photos of sharks swimming in New Jersey’s flood waters are not.

For more storm photo confusion, check out Buzzfeed’s story featuring the notorious images often sent circulating onto social media during bad weather.

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