Wednesday, June 12, 2013

HDR image of a UFO over The Netherlands goes viral

Did HDR photography pick up an object traveling too quickly for a human eye to follow? An image posted on the Internet seems to show a UFO flying over the Netherlands. The image has gone viral, as of Monday.

According to Corinne Federer, she and her mother visited Muiderslot Castle on May 25. The medieval castle was built in 1285 near Amsterdam. Federer was HDR, or High Dynamic Range, photos of the castle.

Wikipedia says:
High-dynamic-range photographs are generally achieved by capturing multiple standard photographs, often using exposure bracketing, and then merging them into an HDR image.
It's something that can be achieved with both your Android or iOS device. In fact, Apple first added HDR photography to its camera app with iOS 4.1. The company announced iOS 7 at WWDC on Monday.

Federer, 43, told The Huffington Post:
In order to create HDR images, you take three or more exposures -- this one happened to be five -- and you shoot them all at the same time, because you then overlap the images and it gives you the full spectrum of light, which your camera can't capture but your eyes can.
Upon reviewing some of the images she had taken, Federer noticed something that startled her. In one of the HDR images -- remember, they are really five-image progressions, she saw what looked to be a UFO.
It was a tubular-shaped object that had an S-shaped fin on it. If it had been any type of missile, it would've had multiple fins, but facing the same direction. We heard nothing, it was completely quiet out. The more I flipped through the frames, it was kind of creepy. I've been shooting for quite some time and I've seen other stuff in the news, but I've never seen anything [like this] with my own eye

I couldn't wait to get home where I could blow it up and see what was really there. I looked at the image information -- at the shutter speed -- and (the object) was blurred at 1/250th of a second, so it had to be going superfast. The object is not in the frame before or after, so it had to be going really, really fast. I was kind of blown away.
In one interesting factoid, Federer compared the five raw images and noted that in the image following the appearance of the UFO on the right side of a frame, she suddenly saw a portion of another object, or possibly the same one, on the left side of the frame.

Federer continued:
The most interesting part of that, for me, is those fins are on the opposite side. At first, I thought the fin side must be a tail, but after looking at it from the second image, it almost looked like the fins were (at) the front and it was turning around and coming back into the frame.
Ben Hansen, a former FBI special agent and the lead host of Syfy's "Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files," took a look at the raw images, and gave his opinion:
Having reviewed the raw files, there's no overt indication that the photos have been manipulated with post editing software.

The object's appearance is internally consistent with the rest of the photo. For instance, look at the darker area of the underside of the object compared with the clouds. The shadowing is similar on the underside as well as the lighting on the top of the object and the clouds where the sun is brightest.

Having the sun in the frame is helpful because it indicates where shadows should appear. This further supports that the object was photographed "in-camera" and not added later.
While saying the photos did not appear doctored, Hansen didn't necessarily agree that they showed a UFO, though.
If we were to assume that the protrusions are stabilizing airfoils -- such as might be found on a rocket or jet -- then it would make sense that the larger fins would be placed on the rear of the object and, consequently, we would know its direction," Hansen wrote. "However, the available pixels which blur and separate the protrusions from the main body equally suggest maybe they are NOT airfoils, but some other part of the object that is in rapid motion.

If I had to place my money on it, I would say that we're looking at insects. We typically see many wing protrusions on insect rod cases, but they do come in the single pair variety, too. It all depends on the shutter speeds and motion of the insects.
Federer used a Nikon D800 to capture the HDR images. As we said, though, you can even use an Android or iOS device to capture HDR; it's built into both platforms although not all Android phones have the capability (translation: the cheap ones do not).

There are also add-on HDR apps in both the Play Store and the App Store.

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