Monday, 8 December 2014

Strange light

Ball of lightI love examining strange photos! I like taking strange photos even more. However, I never thought the photo (right) odd in any way when I took it. So, I was a bit surprised when, viewing it later, I found a mysterious ball of light in it.

It isn't an orb, being too bright and its edges not well-defined. Nor does it appear to be lens flare, because there was no bright light source just outside the frame. Nor does it look like typical lens flare. So, is it really a floating ball of light? Here are the clues to what is going on.

It would help, of course, to know what the photo is actually of. It is an eroded bed of chalk on a beach. There are several flat, white areas on the knobbly surface. These are pools of water, left by by the retreating tide. The shadows on the knobbly bits of chalk are all facing the camera. That means the sun was directly ahead.

Now it becomes obvious that the 'ball of light' is actually a reflection of the sun in a small pool of water. It is over-exposed, which is why there is no detail in the 'ball of light'. The photo was actually deliberately overexposed (by 2 stops) for effect but I never realised there was a reflection of the sun in shot. It was unintentional and ruined the intended effect. It will make do as an illustration of what a mysterious floating ball of light might look like, however.

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