I'm reading a book about most common mistakes in English by Polish speakers (written by George Sliva, a British native speaker).
As an example of a common mistake he gave a sentence:
"In this picture I can see an old woman watching TV."
Almost every person taking an FCE Speaking Test starts describing a photo with this sentence. I have never heard any native speaker use that expression, it sounds very awkward or even funny. It's like saying "I can see because I have eyes".
Instead, use one of the following:
"There's an old woman watching TV."
"The picture shows an old woman watching TV."
[it's my translation, the book is in Polish]
However, I have found many sources that suggest using that expression, for instance:
If you are asked to describe a photo or a picture in the exam, here is some language you can use:
In the picture I can see...
I also have found some similiar cases in Corpus of Contemporary American English:
Dan Cooke, KITV, Honolulu Prediction: Looking at the satellite picture I can see some strong tan lines developing on the beach at Waikiki.
[source: Weather Forecast, USA Today]
He makes a right onto an indistinguishable dirt road (...) and we bump along through the woods until we come to a bosky clearing of giant ferns (...) In my side mirror I can see the buck's hooves, crossed like a ballerina's, bouncing along.
[source: Jay Kirk, Harpers Magazine]
I'm quite confused. Does that expression sound unnatural for native speakers or is it just not very common?