An analysis of photo #505

Image 505 has generated some controversy throughout the years. Based on low quality images people tended to see all kinds of things, from Kris having her hands tied behind her back to people hiding in the vegetation. As we show in our book, there’s nothing wrong with Kris in this picture. She is bending down and turning slightly towards the camera, sticking her tongue out and making a mock salute.

We already knew the location of the photo can be found beyond the Mirador; several video’s made by hikers confirm it, as did some of the locals we spoke to.

Behind Kris, hidden in the shadows, the path bends sharply to the left in a downwards angle. But now I’ve found a nice video where it’s actually demonstrated with some compelling evidence, including a plausible explanation of Kris’ rather strange stance in the picture: since the path is going down and is overgrown with vegetation, it functions as a tunnel and she needs to bend down slightly to be able to see Lisanne, who likely called out to her to have her picture taken. Find the video here.

After studying the high res image, it also becomes clear there are no cables crossing above the path, just stems of plants. The sunlight creates deep shadow, which obscures a lot of detail and can misdirect the eye.

As the aforementioned video shows, the rock which “hides” Kris’ feet is a real rock, one she likely just stepped over before Lisanne called out to her to take the picture.

As far as we are concerned, there can be no doubt that the photo is in the right sequence, meaning that it falls between the Mirador and the Quebrada photo’s. But there’s more.

Several other details can be seen in the high res image. One of the mysteries (for me as well, in the early days), was the blue splash of color seen in the foreground. This turns out to be noting more then litter, an empty blue package of some sort. Maybe a crisp package or a drink carton. Sadly, the bright sunshine obscures most of the details.

I find it implausible to think Kris or Lisanne left it there, so it’s likely something thrown away by another hiker or a local.

We have also studied Kris stanbce in depth. As mentioned above, it’s clear to see she is bending forward, while doing a part turn, closing her eyes against the sun and either making a salute or placing her hand behind her ear to act as if she did not hear Lisanne call her.

Looking at it again now, I think there is a third option: she is shielding her eyes against the sun. In her pocket she carries the small water bottle with the yellow-and-white cap we also see in other photo’s.

There is no-one behind her. I think we can safely say she looks cheerful and happy, playful even.

Rest assured, we and our Photoshop specialist studied this image inch by inch. We did not see anything out of the ordinary. Therefore we can conclude with certainty this photo was not manipulated. Kris does not indicate any signs of stress that indicates she is being forced to act cheerful either, so no third parties were involved in taking this picture.

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