Monday, 3 February 2014

Foreground oddities in photos

Foreground oddityI often get to examine anomalous photos like the one here (right) which have something odd in the foreground. As in this example, the object is almost always blurred, usually because it's out of focus but sometimes from swift motion. And in just about every case, the photographer did not see anything at the time that might account for the anomaly.

In this particular example, the subject of the photo is a clue to the identity of the anomaly. The blurred object is a flying gull. The two 'anomalous objects' are its wings! With a flying object like this, it would be easy for the photographer to miss seeing it while concentrating on taking a photo. Being both closer to the camera and moving rapidly, the bird is probably both motion-blurred and out of focus. As well as flying objects, falling ones (like leaves) are a frequent cause of this kind of photo. Tree and plant branches are also frequent culprits for this type of anomalous photo.

Despite the fact that the objects concerned are usually mundane, they are often hard to recognise from the photo. As well being blurred, the objects may be lit differently to the rest of the photo. But perhaps the biggest difficulty in recognizing such objects is that, frequently, only a partial view is available, like the example here. A big clue to the identity of the object in this example is colour, though shadows make it less obvious.

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