Thousands of articles and books have been written about UFOs. Tens of thousands of photos and videos are all over the internet. There are “believers” and skeptics, we all know the stories. People are convinced they have been abducted just as other people are convinced they are lying through their teeth.
Let's start with UFO photographs and videos.
My educational background is multimedia, graphic design and photography. Many years I earned my living with manipulating and taking images for different purposes. Among other things I worked on the restoration of vintage images as well as the alteration of fashion and model shots. Although I made a drastic career change within the last five years, I'm still very much involved in the photographic and digital and analog image world. (Check out my other website www.archeophotography.com)
I can guarantee you that every image can be faked. With my background I could create UFO images that not even the best experts could tell if they are fake or not.
The most important development in photography over the last decade is of course digital photography and videography.
Even the best digital cameras today have relatively poor resolution. As of 2013 the best DSLRs have a resolution of 16-36 Megapixels. That sounds like a lot, but the “UFOs” in photos are usually small somewhere in the background. That means you have to crop the image in order to see some detail.
Let's say a cameras resolution is 16 Megapixels, that crop could easily end up being only 2 megapixels or less.
Unlike in fictional CSI TV shows were the image expert seems to be able to “zoom” in and clear up the image almost indefinitely, the reality looks different. The truth is that you can't create information in an image were there is none.
That's why in the digital image world most UFO shots are pixelated
But that's not the only disadvantage with digital photos or videos. The other big problem is that digital cameras produce no negatives. The closest thing to a negative is called a RAW file which only better digital cameras can produce. A RAW file is the basic information that the camera's image sensor records without any color correction (white balance), sharpness enhancements or compression (to make the image size smaller).
Most photos taken with digital cameras are .jpg files. Those files are transferred to a computer for manipulation by a photo editing software like Photoshop. From there on out EVERYTHING is possible and it just depends on the skill of the operator to produce convincing images.
Because of the above, digital UFO images are basically worthless. The only person that knows for SURE if the image is genuine is the photographer, other eye witnesses or the person that manipulated the image.
Images taken with older film cameras are more interesting. That's because film produces a negative. A film camera basically consists of three parts: A lens, a black box (the camera body) and the film itself. There are no computers controlling the image which is only created by the light that shines through the lens directly on the film. Because of that there is very little room for manipulation when the image is created on the film. If something shows up on the negative, it means it was in front of the lens.
Of course that doesn't mean negatives can't be faked. But a lot more effort has to go into creating a convincing fake (like throwing the old hubcap in front of the camera)
Film negatives also yield incredible resolution. A 35mm film negative (the most common film size) can yield the equivalent resolution of a 50 Megapixel digital image if a good scanner is used.
A medium format camera has even more resolving power, but I have never seen or heard of a UFO photograph captured with a medium format camera. If you do, please let me know!
I had a very interesting experience with a “UFO” photo taken by myself in Peru in 2009 which shows you what I'm talking about. I usually take several cameras on my trips and that time I had a digital DSLR and an old fashioned Hasselblad medium format camera with me. Hasselblad cameras are widely considered the best professional grade cameras with extremely good lenses.
I used the camera to take images in Saqusayhuaman in Cusco, Peru.
The film I used was 50 ISO slide film, pretty much the best film with the best resolution possible. Negatives from this camera can be scanned with the equivalent of 200 (!) Megapixels and more.
During the scanning of one of those slide positives I spotted a metallic object hovering above the ancient walls above the Inca fortress of Saqusayhuaman.
It looked very intriguing. I usually scan my medium format images with 2400 dpi which results in images that are approx. 25 Megapixels in size and can be printed in nice quality to about 24x36 inches in size.
At this resolution - which is already far beyond of most digital cameras – the “UFO” looked very “classic”, a shiny metallic disc.
To find out what I captured here I had to examine the negative (or in this case the positive as it was a slide) with a magnifying glass as sometimes during the scanning process foreign objects like dust can be picked up.
But sure enough the metallic object was on the film slide. That meant that whatever I captured was actually there. Very intriguing!
But even with the magnifing glass I couldn't make out more details as the object was very small. It still looked like a classic UFO. I got really excited!
Since I do have professional grade scanning equipment, I decided to maximize the details of the slide. I scanned the image once again, this time with the scanner's maximum optical resolution of 9600dpi. In combination with the medium format slide the scan resulted in a equivalent of over 200 megapixels. Far beyond of what even the most expensive digital photo equipment is capable of.
In this resolution the detail captured is incredible. Now it turned out that the “UFO” had in fact wings with engines and a fuselage, just like any other airplane starting and landing at the nearby airport from Cuzco. Bummer!
Would this photo have been taken with any other camera, I would have had a pretty good UFO photo, because there would have not been enough resolution. Even with a pretty good setup this one was hard to figure out. Any other “lesser” equipment like a digital camera would have not resolved this mystery.
That's why it is very hard to say from a photo if it is truly a shot of a UFO or not. And like I said before, if you have a bad picture to start with, even the best experts can't really tell.
So are all UFO photos worthless? No, certainly not. It gets more interesting if the photo is accompanied by good, credible eye witness accounts, preferable other people than the photographer. Even better would be a second shot from a different camera from a different angle.
If you are interested in UFO photos, look for the ones that have been taken with film cameras.
About UFO witnesses:
If you have a rash, you go see a doctor. If the doctor tells you you have the measles, you have two choices: You can believe that you have the measles or not. Now, if you consult a second doctor and he also tells you that you have the measles, the chances that you really have them increased dramatically.
If you are really daft you still don't believe and see a third doctor. This one also tells you that you have the measles.
What are the chances that you have the measles? Yup, pretty much 99%.
Now what makes critics still don't believe if three experienced airline pilots with thousands of flight hours under their belt tells them that they have seen an UFO?
What makes critics still don't believe if Airforce soldiers - that are trained aircraft observers - tell them that they have see an UFO?
What makes them still don't believe if Police officers tell them that they have an UFO?
What makes them still not believe if hundreds of witnesses independently tell them that they have seen the same UFO(s) and even document the siting with different cameras from different angles?
The answer is: Ignorance. Plain and simple.
There are UFO cases that are so intriguing, so well documented and so “bullet proof” even if you look really close, they would hold up in court anytime.
Here are some of them:
• One of the most intriguing UFO cases is the “Shag-Harbor incident” that happend in 1967 on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. This case is very well documented and I had the pleasure to personally meet the main witness as well as sight, analyze and study main pieces of evidence.
• Roswell. Well, what can I say? There is so much literature out about this most famous of all UFO cases, I don't think I have to repeat it here. Google it, if you don't know anything about it.
Yes, I think UFOs are real. Because I'm convinced that earth had visits throughout history it is the only logical conclusion. The ancient legends are sometimes so similar to modern UFO reports it can't be a coincidence.
But I also think that at least 90% of UFO reports are fake or have another explanations.
So it's the remaining 10% we have to focus on.
Since the UFO “community” has no regulating body, it's purely up to the researchers to “weed out” the fakes from the interesting cases. A difficult task that requires dedicated individuals that have to open minded to what the “other side” has to say.
I strongly believe that the only way to solve the UFO mystery is to look at our past FIRST.