Blurry Shapes in a Campfire Photo

Mick West

Staff member

I was asked to take a look at this photo, particularly at two semitransparent shapes, the very large yellow shoosh on the right, and a greenish shape that resembles the top half of a person viewed from the side.

Relevant Exif data:
Manufacturer: Apple
Model: iPhone X
Software: 13.3.1
Date and Time: 2020:07:24 22:46:12
Exposure Time: 1/4 s
FNumber: F1.8
Exposure Program: Auto
ISO Speed Ratings: 400
Date and Time (original): 2020:07:24 22:46:12
Brightness: -2.1593
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Flash: Yes, auto
Focal Length: 4.0 mm

So a typical night exposure with an iPhone X with flash. You can verify the the flash firing as it illuminates the retroreflective stripes on the chairs on the right, and the dog's eyes.

The "humanoid" figure seems to be the thing that captures most attention. On an iPhone screen it must have looked rather like a human, facing left, with eyes, a flat nose and a mouth.
Metabunk 2020-07-29 07-21-35.jpg

But looking closer, and improving the contrast, you can see all of the profile is actually from the back of the chair:
Metabunk 2020-07-29 07-22-51.jpg

If we remove the chair detail, we are just left with some green blobs:
Metabunk 2020-07-29 07-30-32.jpg

One might be tempted to view the lighter area on the right as hair, but it's just the yellow streak overlaying these green blobs.

Both artifacts seem to be something close to the camera. The yellow streak reminds me of a hair. Here's a hair close to the camera (iPhone X) illuminated by the flash.

Metabunk 2020-07-29 08-05-49.jpg

You can see similar longitudinal streaks, and the circle at the end.

But in my photo the background is dark. If a hair is fully illuminated by the flash then it become opaque:
Metabunk 2020-07-29 08-43-05.jpg

So possible it's something that's a small moving speck, like some falling ash, or a tiny flying insect.

The green blobs could possibly be a bit of foliage, but again it's hard to replicate.
Metabunk 2020-07-29 08-45-35.jpg

I'd investigate more, but as you can see, I'm still moving house. Any suggestions?
what this to the right of the demon kid?

Looks like a cooler to me.

There seems to be a few drinks in the pic (water bottle in the grey chair up front, lady with the white dog on her lap and the woman sitting deep in her chair in front of the truck in the "Swoosh" on the right side in the back). I have never been camping where that cooler is not lurking somewhere close by.