UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, August 06, 2015

UFO photo (from reader): What's your take?

GB sent us two photos, taken by his daughter August 1st, 2015. (He's provided them to MUFON and Bruce Maccabee also.) The photos were taken with an iPhone 5, ten seconds apart, near Columbus, Ohio.

The first one is here:
The second contains a "thing" in the upper left corner that GB thinks resembles a Hershey Kiss with an antenna on top:
I've circled the "thing" for you:
Our photo guy (a media photographer) offered a few suggestions but I'd like to see any ideas from the analytical among you.

So have at it.



  • It's difficult to discern, but I would suggest the possibilities of an aircraft of some sort. Perhaps a drone? Perhaps artifact that was captured on screen.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • If it were a plane or drone, Tim, I think it would appear in the first photo; otherwise it's traveling a "warp speed." (The second photo was taken within 10 seconds of the first, and something would surely have been in frame somewhere on the right of that first photo, wouldn't it?)

    Where's Larry when we need him?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • "The second contains a "thing" in the upper left corner that GB thinks resembles a Hershey Kiss with an antenna on top:"

    The pixels surrounding the digital "object" are not homogenous with the background. That's very good evidence they have been manipulated. Too bad.

    What's the photographer/daughter's story? An ambiguous "UFO" picture requires an eye-witness story―not what a "UFO" myth-disposed dad thinks it "looks like." (g)

    [[ Do we need a clearer example of what the "UFO" myth consists? The idea "UFO" in the head of the entirely predisposed; an ambiguous visual stimulus; and a virtual "report" of "looks like..." that confirms the "UFO" predisposition. Substitute Jesus Pareidolia for "UFO" for another example of the same circular sense-of-wonder stroking.]]

    And please, let the daughter's story not be one of those "I saw nothing, it was in the pic after" responsibility-shirking but still "UFO" picture presentations. They're worthless.

    Oh, and why did dad bother to send it to BruMac? The Gulf Breeze optical analyst has never seen a "UFO" photo that wasn't a spacecraft from another world. (Gasp!)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • Your points are well-taken, Zoam, and you can see my trepidation (and that of our photo guy, Dean) in my comment reply to Tim.

    However, there's a possibility that GB's daughter caught a pic of something odd or found an iPhone camera anomaly.

    Let's see what we can, perhaps, discover.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • Rich, the problem is that there is scant details concerning how the photo was taken, timing and exposure, even for a smart phone. More information needs to be accumulated. Was there a 10 second gap between photos? Are you sure of that? There is certainly a lack of clear definition of the "object" in question.

    Not to be a kill joy, but I personally see nothing of interest...that's me, of course.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • I mentioned to GB that the clouds didn't change enough for 10 seconds, and the "thing" doesn't tell us much of anything.

    But I thought it a possible candidate for a superficial analysis; a kind of UFO exercise.

    When you look at the enlarged photo, by mousing/clicking over the online image, you can get an idea why the thing enthused GB and his daughter.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • There's usually not a lot to be gained by analysing compressed jpeg images; analysts need the original files with EXIF data included. The EXIF data tells you what camera was used, exposure time and the time/date of images. It also tells you whether the image has been edited using GIMP or Photoshop.

    However, by opening the two images in your browser (right click, open in new tab) and alternating from one to the other, it appears that they are not taken '10 seconds apart.' They appear to be the same image. There's no discernible difference in the clouds which is key to disputing the '10 seconds' claim. There's also the question of how anyone could remain still enough to take two images using a phone camera.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • Kandinsky...

    You pose the question that I asked GB.

    As I've been taking a few cloud photos, with my iPhone 6 for my media Facebook page (to soothe the savage breasts of media folk hereabouts), I would have thought, as I mentioned to Tim (above) that the cloud formation would have changed in a 10 second interval.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • My first idea was that they were the same image with the "object" added, but I immediately saw more foreground foliage on the left of the second "object" picture, and by alternating them full screen you can see the second has slightly more sky, is more up. So the whole scene, landscape, clouds and sky are slightly more up and left than the first; the two images are not the same. Both images are 1280x960.

    And they are nearly identical, which tells me the second was made immediately after the first because, as Kandinsky correctly suggests, one simply cannot reframe a hand-held nearly identical shot after ten seconds. On that basis, not that distant clouds would change noticeably in ten seconds, is the "ten seconds apart" part of the story in doubt. Regardless, the "object's" surrounding pixels appear to have have been manipulated, and how is that white blob supposed to enhance this hoax?

    Now let us have the photographer/daughter's account of actually seeing some "thing" otherwise we're wasting time with this little experiment. We could make a dozen of these "ambiguous blur in the sky" digital images in an hour.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • Hi everyone! I'm the one who took the photos. They in fact are 2 separate photos...I don't know how to photoshop or edit pictures. I took several other pictures of the same scene before these 2. These 2 were taken more like a burst...10 seconds was a quick guess during questioning and was not a correct guess as to the time between these 2 specific pictures. It was a very bright day and I could hardly see the pictures as they were turning out so I took several to look at in the car to see which turned out best. I didn't notice anything odd in the any of the pictures until Monday morning when I was looking at them again to put what I thought was the best on Instagram. Then I just thought it was a bird and zoomed in to see an odd shaped thing. Yup, no crazy encounters here. Just a girl with a camera on her phone who likes to take pics of pretty scenery.

    By Blogger Michelle, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • Thank you, Michelle:

    That helps, a lot.

    The "thing" is an oddity -- what kind of oddity, we may never know but it intrigues in several ways.

    I, too, love to take scenic shots.....placing them on Facebook, to the ooohs and aaahs of the media crowd I serve there: fwmediawatch.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • A drone where the sun reflects on the mounted camera or other accessory?

    I have checked a lot of drone pictures, and some look like the object photographed, but the small size of the object on the
    image and the JPEG compression artifacts are obstacles to proper identification. As some other mentioned, access to the original photo as well as EXIF information would help.

    Examples of drones with camera mounted:




    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Thursday, August 06, 2015  

  • I live in Columbus, so if anyone is near me, I would be more than happy to meet up to provide full access to my phone to obtain any information regarding the photo. Just let me know!

    By Blogger Michelle, at Friday, August 07, 2015  

  • Hello Michelle, you don't need to meet up with anyone for the photos to be analysed. If you upload them directly from your phone to a site like Photobucket, people can work out what the object probably is.

    A site like http://regex.info/exif.cgi can be used to read the EXIF data although genuine experts will have applications already.

    Most of the time, objects in digital images are birds and bugs ('blurds')in motion. There's also a frequency of hoaxes that are regularly uploaded to MUFON. These have included added objects, props and a classic from this year...full-bodied alien. The majority of UFO images are just common things that are later identified like the birds and even raindrops on a window that look like flying saucers.

    Anyway, if you post a link to Photobucket (or similar), there's a very high chance that someone will ID the object.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, August 07, 2015  

  • http://s288.photobucket.com/user/shellbrown1109/library/

    By Blogger Michelle, at Friday, August 07, 2015  

  • Good afternoon,

    It is not possible to post pictures in replies, but with the original image, I think I found the explanation due to greater details.

    It is not a drone, but simply a flying insect. When you look at the object at the maximum magnification that makes sense,
    you notice immediately that the object is asymmetric. At the right, we can distinguish that looks like an insect head with antennas. The bright part is one of the wings that reflects sun. If you look carefully, you can also see the other wing over the
    other side of the body.



    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Friday, August 07, 2015  

  • The link for the annotated picture:




    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Friday, August 07, 2015  

  • The daughter said the two photos were taken back to back, no more than 2 seconds later.

    By Blogger Rob Mercer, at Saturday, August 08, 2015  

  • That's enough time for an insect close to the lens to cross the field of view. Cell phones have a deep depth of field, so the insect
    and the background may be in focus at the same time.

    A very interesting exercise in photo analysis!



    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Saturday, August 08, 2015  

  • @ Jean,

    The EXIF has both photos being taken within a couple hundred seconds of each other. There were no obvious signs of mischief although I thought the file sizes were small for an iPhone 5s. These days that doesn't mean a lot.

    Conceivably, the bug flew from behind the photographer's head at a close range. This would allow for it being there in one image and not there in the other.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Saturday, August 08, 2015  

  • WITNESS: The photos were taken ... ten seconds apart
    INSTRUMENT: The EXIF has both photos being taken within a couple hundred seconds of each other

    Ah, witness testimony, where would ufology be without you?

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, August 12, 2015  

  • Terry:

    The photographer's father provided the 10 second timing, not the photographer, herself, as she explained in her comment(s).


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, August 12, 2015  

  • Her comment does not say that. She says, "10 seconds was a quick guess during questioning." She in no way indicated the duration came from anyone else but herself.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, August 12, 2015  

  • The photos, Terry, came to me via a private e-mail, and I had a dialogue with the photographer's father,GB.

    The 10 seconds was his guess, whereby I questioned the status of the clouds.

    His daughter corrected the 10 second duration, indicating it was much less, nearer to a few seconds.

    Either way, the image seems to be an insect, according to some, but our photo guy thinks otherwise, and we're still pursuing a denouement.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, August 12, 2015  

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