1. NoParty

    NoParty Senior Member

    November, do you remember if it was "Forest Fresh" or the "Vanillaroma" little tree air freshener hanging from the rearview of the 86 TC3 Plymouth Horizon?
    I think the forest one would probably make the photographer move a little more.
    In all seriousness, gents, I applaud your efforts, re. trying to nail this pic down. I don't think I have the patience many of you do.
    I DO however, want to claim my prize for being first to identify it (posts 7, 10 & 12) as a green reflective street sign. :)
  2. November

    November Member

    Highly doubtful bikes were on the road. Think desert. Think very dark. Think potholey road that turns to dirt. No one would be out there on a bike at night. But it was a thought.

    I absolutely would not have taken the photo -- if there were any sort of tail lights in the distance. This was a quiet road, especially back then.

    The house on the corner I'm thinking is new. I don't remember it.
    Reflectors were very possibly there. But I think I would have noticed them if they were blinking - lit - hazard lights. Can't say for sure.

    I notice that the lines are shorter at the street level than they are where they go up into the sky. Not sure what that might indicate.

    Mick, thank you for going to so much trouble! I am nowhere as near as efficient with posting images and what you do with them on the computer. I couldn't figure out how to get a Google street view like that. Do you have a link?

    These are the best photos I have. It's been so many years.

    For the heck of it, here is a picture I took of the glow - a few months later, from my front yard, I think. Those would be my neighbors lights on the next street over. Pretty obvious I didn't set the camera down for this one. But I did get that glow!


    Anyway, if anyone gets any more ideas...

    That geologist from Stanford was a pilot and a photographer -- and she was completely baffled by it.

    One time there were laser burns on the ground going through the desert for about ten miles, from the town of Sunfair to the Marine Base. Military claimed they didn't know anything about it. Newspaper took pics and investigated, got nowhere.

    I saw lights over those hills moving like an airplane, then like a helicopter, then going in reverse, then flying overhead, completely silent. I saw lights that bounced across the sky. hahaha

    OK, staying focused here... (It's late, I'm tired... strange memories.)

    Thanks for your efforts!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  3. November

    November Member

    No Party: hahahhaa, I agree. Bless their hearts. They are plum determined to figure this out. I have full faith. :)
  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member


    It means the camera is moving slower when the lines are shorter (or the UFO is moving slower). It's a constant blink rate, as can be seen by the lines getting darker as they get longer.

    For the combined street view, just drag in the little guy onto a blue road:
    Then click the arrow on the mini-map:
    You can then click the "Link" button in the sidebar, and copy the link it makes:
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I doubt we'll get a solid resolution to this one. Too long ago, too many possibilities. Fun investigation though.
  6. November

    November Member

    I can't thank you enough. I've been wanting someone to look at this photo objectively, since it developed. I appreciate everyone's efforts.

    I also learned a lot about how to manipulate Google today. I feel stupid now. How do you capture an image of something you see on
    Google? (Do you mind straying a bit here?) Oh I see you already explained that, never mind.

    I found a building in the middle of nowhere today... that was three miles long. What the heck was that? I spent the whole day today, exploring the earth on Google. I would have never figured out how to manipulate it, if I hadn't made this post and Mick hadn't been so generous with his time. Something gained. :)

    Well, we may never know. Aliens, the Military, "God" or camera doing exactly what it was programmed to do... who knows. My mind is always open.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    If you mean a screen image rather than a link, have a look at:

    You're welcome! You should try Google Earth as well. 3D!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  8. Z.one

    Z.one New Member

    One of the google earth pics shows a telephone pole on the side of the road. Many power poles and transformers have small red lights on them to indicate their power status. I don't know if these were led's in 1992, but I wouldn't be surprised. They are so small as to be easily unnoticed at the time, but a camera with a long exposure would pick them up.

    The OP said he set the camera for a delay. I'm guessing he actually set it for a flash with a long shutter exposure, a common setting. (He also said he's not a photographer.) So the flash illuminates the road in the foreground and reflects off the sign in the distance. The photographer picked up the camera after the flash but the shutter was still open, catching the flashing led "trail". That's my guess.
  9. November

    November Member


    I'm pretty sure I set it for a delay. I don't think I turned off the flash because I figured it wouldn't matter. I'm pretty sure I would have waited a minute or so before picking up the camera. Sad thing is, I may have mailed the original pics or the negatives to the geologist at Stanford, and there may actually have been a 2d similar picture to this one. But like everyone says, it's been so long, geez.

    A statement I found in an article about using Laser pulses to irradiate clouds struck me:
    "The effect exerted on a typical thin sheet of cirrostratus clouds can be imagined to resemble laser-written contrails,"

    Just adding more thoughts to the mix.
  10. November

    November Member

    There were a lot of strange things going on at the time.

    I disagree with the flickering lights conclusion. There were no flickering lights down at the end of that road.
    It was a stable camera. You can tell this by the lack of movement as far as the street-sign is concerned.

    Mick, could you please remove the semi-conclusion from the title? I don't want to discourage others from bothering to look into it.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Whatever it was you did not see it at the time, so how do you know what it was?

    Flickering lights and long exposure is the most likely thing. It's not conclusive.
  12. November

    November Member

    How would you explain the motion?
    I would like to leave this post open to further investigation.

    I am not convinced there were any flickering lights because I made it a point to take the photograph from a place where there were no interfering light sources in the photograph. This was a dark desert road, with dark hills in the background. The lights come from the middle of the road near the end of the road. There would be no reason for any lights to be there.
  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Picking up the camera would account for the motion.

    There was obviously something there that you did not notice at the time. Either something interesting or something banal.
  14. November

    November Member

    Picking up the camera within five seconds of the photograph being taken would not have happened.
    Also, there is no movement showing of the street sign.

    To be honest there were 20,000 aftershocks that summer, so that would not be an impossible possibility.
    But it doesn't coincide with the stillness of the street sign.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  15. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The street sign was illuminated by the flash.
  16. November

    November Member

    I was there. There were no lights on that road.
    The street sign is not moving.
  17. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    Bumped the car it was resting on after the flash? Would that account for the movement?
  18. November

    November Member

    There were no teeny tiny lights down toward the end of that road that would have illuminated to this degree.


    Like I said, there were 20,000 aftershocks that summer (it was reported) that could account for movement. But the street sign is not showing motion, and there were no lights.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  19. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    It really looks like a camera tracking movement rather than a real-world movement though.

    The fade-out is the key.
  20. November

    November Member

    The fade-out is strange. Why does it seem to "wibble-wobble" at the top?
    The originals that I have do not show this so much. It just sort of fades upward.

    My original thoughts were when I saw this photo -- was that someone had shot these things down from space.
    If that had been the case, would the trail at the top -- show more fuzziness?
    Would the atmosphere, the air, have caused some of these light-effects to waver?
  21. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    You were there, did you see a ten thousand foot column of fire ascending in space?

    If you accept not noticing that, why do you think you would have noticed some briefly flickering lights?
  22. scombrid

    scombrid Senior Member

    It was illuminated by the flash.
  23. captfitch

    captfitch Active Member

    If this was a scan of a real photo taken on real film and exposed in a lab the old fashioned way then there could be all sorts of weird things that may have happened. Including but not limited to mistakes made at the lab.

    I also feel like we are looking for the simplest, least fun explanation for this and you are trying to infer something much more glamorous.
  24. November

    November Member

    I said that that was my ORIGINAL thought. That is what it appeared to me to be.
    I've been trying for years to find a simple, logical explanation for the photo.

    Now we are adding things -- that as far as I know -- did not happen.

    Such as movement of the camera, such as there being mysterious blinking LEDs in the middle of the road for some reason.
    There would be no reason for blinking LED's in the middle of that road.
    There would be no movement because I set the camera down.
    I am sure I did not grab the camera an instant after the photo was taken. That did not happen.
    Why are we adding factors in to the picture -- that were not there -- in order to explain the picture?

    I wonder if there is anyone who has worked in a photo-development lab -- that has seen this happen and can explain it.
  25. November

    November Member

    I was basically struck by lightning once. I have a photograph to prove it.

    I never saw it, I never felt it. A friend caught it the following day, when we were reviewing a video of a thunderstorm, where an earthquake had happened in the same time period. We were looking to see if we could notice when the earthquake happened, and he saw the bolt of light come from the distance. It took us quite some time to find the one or two frames that showed the lightning bolt hitting right where I was standing.

    From that, I am aware that light can happen so fast, the human eye can not see it.
    You would not even know it happened by watching the video at normal speed.
  26. captfitch

    captfitch Active Member

    Ok, I just feel like you are fishing for something with this whole thread. Maybe you should go to a photography forum.... We here are good at analyzing, interpreting and explaining things (especially aviation things) but we don't know everything. Part of that process is sort of a brain storm/stream of consciousness thing where we bounce all sorts of things around in plain view to tap into the group knowledge. It can be messy but it works.... In this case I think we've run out of ideas.
    • Like Like x 1
  27. November

    November Member

    I've tried to find one. Maybe someone here knows of one.
    I appreciate everyone's efforts, and I liked the brainstorming.
    It was an honest effort, even though it hasn't been solved.

    In the mean-time, I think Mick's changing the title of the thread -- implies it has been solved, when it hasn't.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  28. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Note this thread is the only one with the word "likely". It's not been solved, but it's been determined what it likely is.
  29. November

    November Member

    Chance of rain - likely.

    It is not likely that there were blinking lights 1/2 mile down, in the middle of the road.
    It is not likely that the camera moved, because the camera was set down before the picture was taken.
    It is not likely that if there were imperceptible, blinking lights 1/2 mile down, in the middle of the road, they would be illuminated to this degree, in the photograph.

    "Possibly" would be better than what you have added at this point.
    I just don't know why you had to add anything to the thread title, when the strangeness of the photograph -- hasn't been solved.
  30. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Is it more likely there was some kind of alien spacecraft or weather controlling laser that you did not notice?

    Clearly you did not notice whatever was creating the dashed lines. Is it so improbably that it might have been a car pulling out of a driveway, or some guy switching on a light in one of the houses down the road.

    It looks EXACTLY like a long exposure of a flickering light. There's nothing else it looks remotely like. So most likely that's what it is.

    Maybe not, maybe it's an alien artifact. But that seems to me to be vastly less likely.
  31. November

    November Member

    It is highly improbable that a car had pulled out of a drive way. I would have noticed.
    This is NOT a twenty-minute exposure. I am not a photographer, and the most of any long exposure I might have set it for is five-seconds.

    You seem to be missing my point.
    Please take your "Likely" conclusion from the title of this thread.
    Just leave it open.
    Is that so hard to do, Mick?

    And can you please stop throwing elements into the situation -- that simply were not there -- in order to try to explain it.

    I have said over and over again, I went to a dark road, intentionally, to try to take a picture of the "glow" over the hills that might be attributed to earthquake activity.

    I was there.
    There were no blinking lights, was no movement, and no one backing out of a driveway in the five seconds a "long-exposure" might have happened.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  32. November

    November Member

    I didn't say "alien". You did.
    But "Alien artifact" is a strange way to put it.
    It is a strange picture.
    I am a person looking for a logical explanation.
    Without Mick (the site owner) editing the title of the thread -- before anything has been concluded.

    Just leave the thread title as it originally was. That is all I am asking.

    If that is so hard, a bit of pride might be involved here, and then Mick's objectivity -- has just blown out the window, like an ornament on a coffee table, when a tornado sweeps through the front yard.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  33. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    But Mick proved this effect is possible with a 0.4 second exposure. It doesn't take 20 minutes.
  34. scombrid

    scombrid Senior Member


    All that is necessary for the effect in the photo was for the shutter to have been open when the camera was either picked up or placed down on the car.
  35. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    How about an exercise to satisfy the large physical object possibility?

    Assume a five meter object, and a one second exposure. How far away would the object be, and how fast was it travelling over what distance?

    The main problem is why it wouldn't shoot straight up rather than make that curve.
    That's why the camera movement fits as 'likely'.
  36. M Bornong

    M Bornong Senior Member

    You may not have felt an after shock, but it could still have been enough to shake the car, a short enough exposure maybe only caught one direction of movement.
  37. November

    November Member

    Ahhh... at last someone heard me.
    I am not going to say that "camera movement" would not be a possibility, because I was there that summer, and that earth would not stop moving.

    But IF that is the explanation, why isn't the street sign moving?
    I know it was a flash of light on the street sign, but that same instant flash would have made the street sign light appear to have moved, as well.

    I cannot emphasize this more. There was NO light visible to my eye, blinking or otherwise, in the middle of that road that night.

    I made sure there was no traffic. (That road had rare traffic, even in the day time.) I made sure there were NO interfering lights on purpose, so I could catch the "glow" (from what I presumed to be the earthquake activity) that was appearing -- over the hills.

    When there is earthquake activity it is (now known to be) a fact, that the earth starts squeezing out gasses. This accounts for the "glow" that many prior to recently -- have said --wasn't true.

    I had no idea if this "glow" was pertaining to EQ activity, but I knew i was seeing a glow over the hills that I had not seen before.

    Ironically, I did not get the "glow" in this shot, I got what you see in the photograph in question, instead.

    (For the sake of geologists and seismologists, -- I have shown the glow over the hills in previous posts in this thread. But it is not the question here. That same glow was present when I took this photograph, but the glow did not appear, this did, instead.)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  38. November

    November Member

    Here is a question for Mick.

    Would these teeny-tiny blinking LED lights you think were in the photograph that caused this distraction, have outshone the glow over the hills, when I have shown a photograph of the glow with the neighbors lights were in the foreground, the neighbors lights did not outshine the glow in the background?

    I am telling you, there were no teeny-tiny flashing LED's, and even if there were, they could not have outshone the glow.

    My neighbors lights - on the next street over -- prove this, when I was able to capture the glow, even with the neighbors' lights interference.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  39. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    Would the shutter have been open for longer than the flash? What was lit by the flash would only have been visible for as long as it was lit by the flash, the lights would be visible for as long as the shutter was open.
  40. November

    November Member

    I don't know the answer to that.

    I am not a professional photographer.
    If I remember correctly, I read a little bit about night photography, and may have set the shutter to remain open longer.

    However, I know that I had taken many photographs from this same setting and not one of them produced a blurry effect, day or night.

    This isn't even a blurry effect, as you can see from the photograph taken with the neighbors lights in the foreground in the other picture of the EQ glow.

    My thought is, if leaving the shutter open could have caused a "trail" effect -- and it was even possibly -- a ten second exposure (which I seriously doubt) -- those lights would not have been that distinct, and they would not have been separated so clearly.