Debunking “Striking Multiple Exposure Shot of Takeoffs at Hannover Airport”

For the past few months on a nearly daily basis the same image appears somewhere in my Twitterstream, Facebook Wall, Google + feed or in my email box … often more than once a day. The photo is a beautiful image of dozens of aircraft lifting off from Runway 27L at Germany’s Hannover-Langenhagen Airport.

The image, created by Korean artist Ho Yeol Ryu, was intended to bring awareness to air traffic congestion’s impact on global warming. As fantastic as this image is … and it really is … the image is not a multiple exposure photograph and many of the aircraft in the image could not have been photographed at Hannover’s airport.

How do we know this wonderful piece of aviation artistry … and it is a wonderful piece of aviation artistry … could not have been photographed at Hannover’s airport? Well let’s find out.

1) The positioning of the aircraft in relation to the terminal behind it, even accounting for telephoto lens compression, would have the aircraft taking off from taxiway beside Runway 27L, rather than the runway itself.

2) The image shows multiple Boeing 747 and 777 variants airborne at a point in the runway where these aircraft would first be lifting their nose off the ground, or still be firmly on the ground before becoming airborne.

3) Many aircraft appear to be flying towards the terminal or away from the terminal; a direction an aircraft would not fly moments after lifting its wheels off the ground.

4) Proportionally aircraft sizes do match size dimensions of real-life aircraft when matched to scale. For example an ATR-72-500 turbo prop never appears larger than Boeing 777-200 wide body jet when viewed from a consistent angle and distance.

5) Many airlines in the image do not service Hannover-Langenhagen Airport and have never flown anywhere near Europe.

6) Many of the airlines and aircraft in the images would never, and have never, crossed paths, such as an Air New Zealand Link ATR-72-500 and JetBlue Airbus A320 …not to mention the U.S. registered Cessna 172S flying through the image.

7) A number of the aircraft depicted in this image can be directly found in the photo archive … including the U.S. registered Cessna 172S. The images are credited to various photographers in various geographic locations ranging from Texas to New Zealand.

So folks, especially you photographers, continue sharing Ho Yeol Ryu’s image as a Striking Multiple Exposure Shot of Takeoffs at Hannover Airport” considering referring to it as something else.

Click the image below to view a large version of Ho Yeol Ryu work or art.

Happy Flying!


a group of airplanes flying in the sky


  1. Too much political agenda…anything goes with respect to climate change…even if its fake! Neat photo collage though.

  2. Mr Fish,

    you have left out the technical camera reasons while this is clearly NOT a true multi-exposure.

    To take a ‘nice’ shot of the aircraft you are required to have the shutter open to get that ‘perfect’ amount of light onto either the film or the sensor. That light will also show the background detail because it is the same shot.

    To then take another exposure you are adding the same amount of light for the background details again… and again… and again… for each new aircraft. With film this will result in a detailless overblown white field.

    “Sure Muddy”, I hear you say, “but this is digital. We have editting software!”

    Yes you do, and if you are editting it THAT much post production then it’s effectively a fake as well.

    So there 🙂

  3. Don’t want to get into the Global Warming (oops, that name was changed to ‘climate change’) debate, but why do people have to make fake photos to make a political point about an environmental issue? If aviation is a problem, then what is the solution? Getting rid of aircraft merely creates new problems we then have to fix (probably with government funded bailouts). Anyway, I said I didn’t want to get into this (LOL).

    Did anyone notice how Ho Yeol Ryu used a Tilt-Shift technique to add the look of small models to the image?

  4. Plus the airport itself: No airplanes EVER seen taxiing, no planes using any of the jetways in the picture…

  5. To further prove the point; Qantas & AirNZ do not fly to Hanover and even if AirNZ did they certainly wouldn’t do it in a prop plane!

  6. Another one for grins:

    The CRJ200 is rotating at about 30 feet with it’s thrust reversers deployed. Not to mention it’s as large as the 737 below it.

  7. Courtney,

    What’s that you say? Aircraft don’t rotate with their thrust reversers deployed?

    Ha ha ha … that’s a good find :0)

    Happy Flying!


  8. And if this is a multiple exposure exposed over what would have to be several hours worth of take-offs, how is it that that particular cloud formation in the sky stays pretty darn still during the whole shot with only a slight amount of movement? Pretty miraculous I must say.

  9. It seemed fishy from the start, but the real tip off for me was the Midwest Express MD88/90. The Germans must really love warm chocolate chip cookies for that plane to be in Hanover.

  10. In other words, it’s just another big lie. A false image intended to advance an agenda. Create alarm and stampede people into believing the fantasy that we can use less energy per capita without a huge reduction in quality of life. So. Now that we’re just absolutely appalled at how much jet fuel is being used every day (thanks to Mr. Ho), who’s going to be the first to volunteer not to go on vacation next year? Anyone willing to reduce their business’ income by 30% by not courting out-of-town clients? How about you there, your elderly mother wants you to visit. Sorry, your carbon footprint will be too big. Maybe if you’re willing to live with an ambient temperature of 15C in your house this winter we’ll let you go. But not next year. What with population growth and all we have to spread the allowable energy use even thinner. But the saddest thing of all is that none of energy-saving measures Mr. Ho’s agenda surely include will make the least bit of difference to the planet. Ooops! I’m not supposed to point out that the Emperor has no clothes, am I?

  11. Wake up world, virtually all the problems we face today relate to over populating the world. Just too many people!!! The days of needing 8 or 10 kids to help work on the farm are gone for most of the world.

  12. It’s a lovely image, synthetic though it may be.

    I fear in the digital now, phrases that have specific technical meaning for those of us from the film-chemistry era of photography are now becoming generic effect names. I was hoping this was stacked registered multiple exposures with regions select-composited from each, like in an HDR but for different purpose, but no, apparently not. (Although some size differences could be accounted for by having planes from 27R & 27L both? )

    If the real-world subject analysis in the comment tread fails to convince anyone that it’s cut and paste not a true cumulative multiple exposure , here’s a quick technical look. While HSV and LAB analysis (via GIMP plugins) don’t indicate a highly processed image [] , the ELA is conclusive that it’s composited –

  13. Does anyone argue whether a Picasso is proportionally correct? It’s simply a fun collage. Dorks get a life!

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