The grey angel?

The grey angel?

So I got a nice pic of what looked like a grey angel hovering over a house (see right). I can already guess readers will not be terribly convinced that it is anything truly remarkable. There seem to be so many anomalous photos in the media and on-line these days and few, if any, look terribly convincing. So what might the grey shape be?

One obvious answer is a cloud. But what about a flock of starlings? These birds form murmurations this time of year at dusk (the time of this photo) forming all sorts of interesting shapes. Well, if you zoom in on photo editing software to see more closely the shape does not become thousands of birds - it is indeed just a cloud!

So mystery solved! But it is not so easy with many contemporary anomalous photos. That's because if you zoom in there is no more detail, instead just pixilation. The reason for that is most anomalous photos these days are taken using smartphones. Modern smartphone cameras actually have pretty good specifications but they are still not as good as purpose built cameras. So while you CAN fiddle with things like ISO, shutter speed, focus and so on with a modern smartphone camera hardly anyone does. So they rely on automated settings which cannot always cope with all situations. And there are other disadvantages for smartphone cameras versus cameras .

Another big problem is that, though smartphones can take quite high resolution pictures, resulting photos often end up heavily compressed. This often happens when the photos are copied using various bits of photo software. Indeed, sometimes it might be necessary to deliberately compress a photo to email it to someone because of file size limits. In the days of film you could always go back to the negative and make another print but once a digital photo is compressed, detail is lost forever.

Obviously, a photo of an anomaly taken with a smartphone is better than no photo! Just don't expect it to provide definitive evidence.

Author :© Maurice Townsend 2022

Join ASSAP for as little as £5 for Electronic membership

Copyright 2023 © ASSAP is a registered charity, number 327422.