Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fairy or ghost?

Yellow ghostGhost or fairy, I can't decide (pic right)? While it resembles a mist, something which often gets reported as a ghost (see below), it is small, yellow and shiny. So why not a fairy, this time?

I'd love to report that it is a photo of a ghost or fairy, but alas I can't. It is, in reality, a falling leaf. And it was a lot more difficult to photograph deliberately than you might imagine. I had to take dozens of shots to get just this one with an actual falling leaf in it. And that was in a place where brisk gusts of wind were regularly detaching leaves right in front of me. The blurriness is caused by the motion of the leaf, rather than any lack of focus. I'm not sure what is causing the shininess. However, since this wasn't evident in the leaf at the time, I guess it must be a photographic artefact associated with the motion blur. It looks like a future subject for research.

I have examined several photos, reported as anomalous, that looked like this. My first thought would be, on seeing such a photo, that there is something close to the lens and out of focus. Which would be wrong, this time. The only clue to its correct cause is the trees in the background and the date - autumn! This shows why it is so important to try experiments like these (xenonormal studies). How else could we even guess that a 'glowing yellow fairy' in a photo was actually a falling leaf without a known example to compare it with?

PS: If you happen to be going to horror-themed fancy dress party, try turning up in your everyday clothes. If asked, say you're a ghost! Happy Samhain!

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