One moment, captured through two lenses, by two photographers, resulting in nearly identical photos.

Ron Risman and Eric Gendron were both taking photos of waves crashing against the Whaleback Lighthouse in the Great Island Commons in New Castle, New Hampshire when they took nearly indistinguishable photos. The only obvious difference, when side by side, is the color. The two photographers, set-up in slightly different locations, weren’t even aware that someone else was taking photographs at the time. 

It wasn’t until Risman’s photo was published on a local TV station, along with Facebook, and someone accused him in the comments of stealing Gendron’s photo, that he became aware of it. But Risman suspected that, in fact, to the contrary, Gendron had stolen his work.

Ron Risman

Risman wasn’t ready for accusations, though and instead examined the two images. Despite only having a low-res copy of Gendron’s photo, he was still able to see sublt differences between the works (mostly in the water in the background and foreground). Later, in comparison between higher resolution photos, differences in the space between the iron grating around the lighthouse became apparent.

Equipment-wise, both photographers shot with different cameras with different size sensors and different fps. What was similar were their focal length, exposures, and depth-of-field.

Eric Gendron

An interesting aspect is how the edits of each of their individual photos came into play—an aspect of photography that most non-photographers tend to overlook. Whether you are using Lightroom or Capture One or whatever it may be, the photo you take in-camera is hardly ever finalized without a few tweaks in post. Most photographers do much more than that, establishing the “look” of their photos, and in turn, the style they wish to convey, in this process. Seeing the two images side by side is a clear cut example of how the edit affects the overall look and feel of your photos. This might be an obvious process for photographers, but for the average person, I think it’s interesting to witness it first hand.


Risman Wrote A First Hand Account Of The Story over at Peta Pixel and also made a video for Vimeo that is definitely worth checking out.

Ron Risman: Website & Instagram

Eric Gendron: Website & Instagram