Sunday, February 3 2013

Like shooting skeet in a barrel…

Lots of folks are having fun with the recently-released photo of Obama firing a shotgun (“just a sportsman like you, honest”). Many of them are promptly jumping to the conclusion that it’s faked or photoshopped, of course, mostly revealing their ignorance of shooting, photography, or both. The Swallowing For Obama activists are gleefully cheering their hero’s latest triumph over the unbelievers, based on their own ignorance of both (while still wishing he hadn’t sullied his hands with an evil gun).

The truth is simpler: it’s a staged publicity photo. He wasn’t shooting anything but air, with a camera perfectly positioned to capture a burst of images so they could pick the best shot. That’s why his stance is so static compared to photos of actual skeet shooters: he’s posing for a picture. That’s also why there’s no choke in the lower barrel: the handler didn’t install one because Obama was never going to fire a second shot.

The most likely reason the photo exists is that the manufacturer sent the gun as a gift, and the administration sent back a signed, framed photo showing him using it.

[Update: having now looked at the full-resolution image, with EXIF data intact, I have no doubt that the photo is real but has nothing to do with skeet or other sport shooting. His left sleeve is in crisp focus, but his left hand is slightly motion-blurred, with the motion increasing out toward the muzzle, precisely what you’d expect to see during the recoil from a shot. The escaping gas from both muzzle and porting is realistic for the lighting conditions and the 1/320 second exposure time. At the same time, his stance is an awkward attempt to shoot it like a rifle, he’s getting battered in both shoulder and cheek by the recoil, only the upper barrel has a choke in it (making it useless for skeet), and he’s shooting horizontally, something not commonly done in any shotgun sport. I say Browning sent him a Citori for his birthday, and got back a signed photo and a thank-you note.]