Can You Spot the Sniper?

German artist Simon Menner has shot – er – photographed snipers doing what snipers do. You can see a few more at theguardian.com‘s post or all of them at Menner’s site. Menner says that the German Army was kind enough to loan him two shooters for a day to get it done. Can you spot the shooter?

comments

  1. avatar peirsonb says:

    Not in that one, no. I did find the sniper in two of the pics, but that was only because I knew there was one in the picture.

    1. avatar Andy Kay says:

      3 o’clock on the very edge. Sitting up.

      1. avatar Kyle says:

        According to the website, the sniper is on the left.

    2. avatar G says:

      Same, only found two because I knew there was even a sniper in the frame

  2. avatar T says:

    Well, I failed trying to locate the sniper and probability would be dead if I had to go up against this guy. But it is cool as hell how hid himself like that.

  3. avatar speedracer5050 says:

    Not yet!!

  4. avatar O-Hebi says:

    I went to the website with all of the pictures and I could not spot one! Which means, at the very least, that if the government sends snipers after me I am screwed.

    1. avatar Bruce L. says:

      When they circled the sniper, I think I could see something, but even then I didn’t see a sniper. *BANG* I’m dead. Glad I was never on sniper duty in Vietnam.

  5. avatar Steve in MD says:

    Question: How effective would a drone with a thermal camera be at spotting the sniper?

    1. avatar seans says:

      There are thermal netting that can be applied that can significantly reduce a mans thermal signature. But it is incredibly variable dependent. Cold weather, completely open terrain, deserts make it harder to hide, but drones are nowhere like the movies, I have watched motorcycles disappear cause the sensor operator lose sight of it cause it took a left when he thought it would take a right, and he couldn’t find it again. Its like looking thru a soda straw sometimes. Its a great asset and a game changer, but they still have a lot of weaknesses.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        What seans said. I was looking for a carjacking suspect who fled into heavily forested hillside on a warm day. A helo arrived with a FLIR (forward – looking infrared). Even though the suspect had taken his shirt off, neither the chopper nor I could see a damn thing. The suspect was subsequently found with a patrol dog.

        If a chopper with a FLIR couldn’t see that dirtbag with his shirt off, a FLIR may very well have trouble against a trained sniper intentionally minimizing his thermal signature. Your FLIR mileage may vary.

    2. avatar peirsonb says:

      It depends on which scene we’re talking about. Probably pretty effective in the one above. Some of the ones taken in wooded area? Not very. Even a thermal imager can’t see through thick vegetation. The canopy would break up the heat signature to some extent. The thicker the canopy, the more invisible the sniper.

    3. avatar Bill says:

      answer: Very

    4. avatar William Burke says:

      A drone with a thermal image device would do quite well against the snipers, I think. They’d be toast, which is what all snipers should be.

      1. avatar seans says:

        Just curious, how much experience do you have with both snipers and drones.

      2. avatar Bruce L. says:

        If the sniper doesn’t kill the drone.

      3. avatar Kyle says:

        Snipers are a necessary part of warfare when you need one guy to shoot the enemy without them being able to hit him back. Your wording seems to imply that it is morally wrong for the sniper to do what they do. So how are they supposed to fight? No war is about fighting fair.

  6. avatar JR says:

    I got two out of the three that I looked at. Fun game.

  7. avatar Mark Mc. says:

    Maybe if these pictures were bigger than low-res thumbnails….

    1. avatar JohnO says:

      And many were underexposed.

    2. avatar Robb says:

      This. The images are entirely too small to allow for a realistic chance at finding them.

  8. avatar Shawn says:

    I only saw two. That was fun. Gotta have some more games like this.

  9. avatar Chris. says:

    Half of them I can’t even spot in the circled image.

  10. avatar Bigred2989 says:

    I don’t see anyon

  11. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Not even gonna lie. I didn’t get a single one at theguardian. However, theguardian has one marked incorrectly, at least according to his site. The sixth one down, the grassy field, they have a small dark patch circled, and noted as “just left of the centre.” The same photo on his site doesn’t have it marked, but has it noted as “slightly right of the center,” and you can see what the photographer is referring to. Once you’ve looked at several of his images, the same “tuft of grass” seems to be more obvious in some of them. I mean, I still didn’t find it on first examination, but once you know where it is, you find a consistent shape/size/texture in some, but not all of the photos. The trick would be learning to recognize that in the wild.

    Also, theguardian’s final photo, I think they may have it mismarked, though I can’t tell for sure. The photographer’s site has it noted as “behind the sapling in the left center,” and I think theguardian’s mark isn’t far enough to the left.

    Either way, I wouldn’t have seen him, and I’d be dead before I found him. Glad he’s not pointed at me.

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      Rather than just circle him, it would have been cool if they could have gotten him to stand up in place…

      1. avatar Curious says:

        There was a great Monty Python episode about concealment and what happens when you reveal yourself…. you would like it.

    2. avatar C says:

      My first thought was the tuft on the right and then switched to the left before scrolling down. I actually got more than half of them. Not quickly enough to keep myself from being shot, but yeah.

  12. avatar Jack B says:

    I could only find one…….

  13. avatar ropingdown says:

    Dan: The artist makes it crystal clear who the snipers were: The German Army, Bundeswehr, loaned him two snipers for a day.

    1. I looked on his site and couldn’t find it. Link please. I want to update the post.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        Dan, the information is on Menner’s page. Just hold your cursor over the text at the bottom “On the Camouflage.” Fun post.

  14. avatar RightYouAreKen says:

    On of my favorite shows on TV in recent years was a show featuring sniper training. I can’t recall was service branch it was from, but the practical test was amazing to watch. They had to maneuver into position, signal to an observer they were going to take a shot, take the shot, then wait as instructors with binoculars look for them. If they couldn’t spot him, he took another shot, and they looked again. If they couldn’t find him, the observer would walk within several feet of the sniper with a large pole standing straight up, and the instructors would look for the sniper again. If they couldn’t see the sniper, the sniper passed the course. Amazing. Even my wife was amazed and loved it.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Even more amazing – they had to “sneak” to the firing position without being spotted.

      1. avatar RightYouAreKen says:

        Yep, that’s what I meant by “They had to maneuver into position…” but didn’t detail it enough to give them the credit they deserve. Amazing stuff!

      1. avatar seans says:

        Its the marines not the army, the army has you fire, then a observer comes within the set distance radios it in, then is walked on, if he is within a foot of you when the observer calls sniper you fail, if not you then have to read a card the observer holds on his chest. Read it correctly you pass. You don’t have to fire a second shot for the army’s stalking portion.

        1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

          We did when I went through, Ft Lewis MTT, Feb 2006, I think. I passed, but took until the last chance to do it.

        2. avatar seans says:

          MTTs training varies greatly, but at benning you only fired a shot.

  15. avatar Roscoe says:

    Look at base points for a relatively clear field of fire. That works well for all but the rocky gorge.

  16. avatar Javier says:

    Spotted six, but only because I knew there was a sniper there to begin with which isn’t really fair. And I was only *sure* of two of them (the two where you can see the guy’s scope as a perfect circle), the rest were mostly guesses based on where he could be and what didn’t look right.

    Once you realize that the camera has the viewpoint of the sniper’s target, you can filter out most of the picture as places where a sniper definitely wouldn’t be if he wanted to shoot at the camera.

    The one where the guy set up a fake hide blew my mind. I totally thought I had him. =/

  17. avatar William Burke says:

    Barely, in a couple images. They’re very, very good at what they do. Even if what they do is disreputable, in my humble opinion…

    1. avatar JR says:

      Disreputable? You have no stomach for effective warfare?

      I gotta say, I’m a bit surprised given some of the other comments you have made here.

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      Disreputable? Individual marksmen and quasi snipers are our best bet in the event of insurrection. You’d better get over your objection to them quick and start training or else stop espousing the inflammatory rhetoric you’re know for.

    3. avatar ropingdown says:

      WB, its was Redcoats in formation and colonials behind trees. What is disreputable is grapeshot aimed at disarmed peasants, whether that grapeshot is the original or the high-tech versions.

    4. avatar jwm says:

      So you’re against assymetrical warfare? One of the most cost effective assets a country can have is snipers.

      And for the record, I’d have been dead if I’dhad to spot those snipers.

    5. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      People have been hating snipers for as long as snipers have existed. It is a natural extension of the Greek phalanx style of fighting, since Western Civilization since that time on has admired the courage of men who have stood up tall, shoulder to shoulder and faced death head on. Probably why we like football better than soccer, too.

      Archers were hated by knights, until the English realized what they had with the Welsh longbow. Captain Patrick Ferguson decided not to shoot George Washington in the back because he felt it was dishonorable. And the US Army shut down formal sniper training after Korea and after Vietnam. The current school was started in 1987.

      1. avatar JR says:

        My guess is that they are hated precisely because they are no bs effective and highly efficient. For some reason, we seem to live in a world where such decisive efficiency is anathema.

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          For some reason though ‘sniping’ from three miles away with a tank gun guided by electronics, or from 30,000 feet with a laser-guided bomb…is honorable.

          I think it is the “I can see him as I pull the trigger” that bothers people. It may also be the fear of such men walking the world. People are shallow.

    6. avatar Manimal says:

      Just a guess, but maybe his dislike is because snipers are often used as a tool of covert assassination outside of declared warfare.

  18. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I spotted three on his site. but like others have said, it was only because I knew that there was a sniper to look for. Interesting photos. I’d like to know what changes they made to their uniforms for the different terrain.

  19. avatar Jus Bill says:

    OOO – sorta like a game of 2A Where’s Waldo?. Like.

  20. avatar Skyler says:

    It’s easy to hide in a photograph. It’s when you’re living and breathing and have to move that makes it hard.

  21. avatar Ardent says:

    This irrevocably proves that a sniper, given ideal conditions and allotment of time can conceal himself in such a fashion that the point man is a goner. What he can’t do is conceal himself from those who saw the first shot or necessarily exfiltration from that position before he is engaged, outflanked and destroyed.

    The concept of recon by fire applies here. After a concealed sniper shot protocol is to hose the assumed location of the sniper with fire and see if anything moves then continue the suppressive fire while a maneuver element begins to flank the snipers position in defilade from his fire.

    Lacking a serious back up force that can hold the surrounding positions, snipers attempt a suicide mission when they fire on even platoon sized elements without a concealed/defiladed exfiltration route.

    Having said all that, my own inability to spot any snipers while knowing I’m looking for a sniper makes me shiver about being the point man.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      I think you’re supposed to patrol the zone after the Spectre gunship has warmed it up, not before.

      Thermal Imaging might help. In fact, it would have been fun if Menner had taken a TI photo matching each of the hidden sniper photos.

  22. avatar Arod529 says:

    I saw one simply because the angle provided a “human shaped shadow”, and he was relatively close to the camera. Though I don’t claim that I would have been able to see them otherwise, I think the pictures are too small and muddled, due to being only 620×496, that it is far from a legitimate comparison to standing there in person.

  23. avatar Paul B says:

    Saw most of them. Or at least was suspicious of the location.

    they are good though as, had I not been looking for them, I probably would not have noticed them.

  24. avatar Gregolas says:

    Forget it! I’m dead.

  25. avatar dwb says:

    bang. too late.

  26. avatar The mayor of Candor says:

    Would be nice to see this in an urban version.

  27. avatar Phil says:

    Bottom right, front

  28. avatar H.R. says:

    Not in that one. And I only found a couple in the other pics. It’s an interesting mental exercise though!

  29. avatar Maineuh says:

    I don’t see the snipers even with the helpful red circle. I have, however, found Waldo on three or four occasions.

  30. In a few instances, I could not see the sniper even with the red ring around him!

    nice.

  31. avatar Ralph says:

    Spot the snipers? I could barely spot the circles around the snipers. I think I need new glasses . . . again.

  32. avatar Kyle says:

    Is it possible to spot the snipers in these pictures, or are they just showing where the snipers are, but otherwise are still hidden.

    1. avatar H.R. says:

      On the two or three I could see, I didn’t actually see the outline of a person. I just saw that something was out of place. There was maybe one or so where I thought something was out of place, but didn’t trust my instincts.

  33. avatar Aaron says:

    it’s cheating to use low resolution photos and then ask someone to pick out the sniper pixels. The task would be easier with the human eye, or with high-res photos.

    1. avatar Paelorian says:

      Truth! These low-res photographs do not fairly represent reality for the purpose of spotting concealed men.

      1. avatar speedracer5050 says:

        If you’re good enough at the craft you can be invisible from touch distance! Our instructors actually stood on my spotter and I during finals for graduation at Ft. Benning.

  34. avatar MD says:

    I did loss prevention in most stores for 30 yrs. A man could stand still by a wall and never be seen. Don’t susprise me none.

  35. avatar fuque says:

    cool site.. The field grass was an easy spot

  36. avatar Luis says:

    Yeah wish they had high res photos of this snipers. Reminds me of the scene from “Clear and Present Danger” with Chavez sneaking up on the observers.

  37. avatar Chris says:

    Very cool, and if they get a good shot off you’ll be dead before you hit the ground or hear it.

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