Explained: Colorado Man Photographs Flying Jellyfish-Like ‘Critters’ [Water on Lens, Caustic Bokeh]


Senior Member.
From Cryptozooloogy News


Now I''m not sure about the credibility of the source for a start, Larry Smith has also claimed to have seen Mongolian Death Worms, encountered saquatch and seen 'many' UFO's. He is also claiming the 'creatures' are some kind of undine, or water spirit.

Now I'm no expert, but first glance at the photograph doesn't seam to show creatures as big as an 11 foot fire pit, the green one appears to be in front of the garden chair, and there are sticks from the bonfire behind the orange one. (also comparing the fire to the size of the chair shows Mr Smith is also exaggerating the size of his fire)

I think what ever is causing the effect is on glass, there are streaks and smears all over the picture, including one notable one running diagonally across the centre of the shot and several of what appears to be finger prints. But as these also appear in front of the alleged critters is suggests to me that the photograph was taken through glass, the mucky streaks on the inside and the 'critters' on the outside.

As to what they objects actually are, I guess at water droplets but dont know how that would explain the colouring. Lens flare may be, or even water droplets AND lens flare. may be some one here with more technical savvy than me could explain this better?

And for reference here's the camera that it is claimed was used http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/62430


Mick West

Staff member
It's just water on the lens (or maybe on a window). More serious paranormal researcher have come across this before:
http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/htmlfiles/Weird shapes.html


Mick West

Staff member
I gave it a quick go, flicking some water at my camera:

Some interesting shapes, they mostly form very briefly, while the lens is being sprayed

The one to the upper right of the chair here has the distinctive "twist".

It forms very rapidly, this is 25% speed:

And while the dark dots are not as pronounced, they are certainly there.

Mick West

Staff member
To more effectively reproduce the effect, you would need a waterproof camera, with a wide aperture, and then actually spray it with water.

Wide aperture is essential. Set to small aperture, you get very little effect.

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
I think it's a form of "bokeh".



Mick West

Staff member
I think it's a form of "bokeh".


It's like bokeh that has been distorted by bending through irregular water shapes on the surface of the lens. Looking at the animation, you can clearly see the round shapes of wide-aperture bokeh, but it gets twisted around as the drop moves downwards.

Mick West

Staff member
The twisted shapes are actually Caustics:

So what we are seeing here could well be labeled "Caustic Bokeh".

Mick West

Staff member
Here's a video I made using a F1.4 lens. It's a bit blurry, but you get the general idea.

Just before the end, as my leg partially obscures the light, you can see there are multiple overlapping caustics from the different drops.


Active Member
DSC_0194.JPG I've come across similar effects with my own camera when the lens got wet.

I'm come across claims like this before as being some sort of cryptid, alien life form, interdimensional being, etc.

It boggles the mind how people come to such fantastic conclusions when some basic knowledge or research shows how prosaic the explanation really is.


Senior Member.
Fair and balanced!


Senior Member.
I actually saw those flying jellyfishes this morning when I woke up and looked into my lamp. These were bright red, but seemed rather harmless.

Seriously, I did, the same phenomenon of light through water apparently works on the eyes if they are wet. I wish I could have taken a screenshot.


New Member
I believe John Lamb Lash would probably call these "Archons." I have no desire nor energy to search for his description but I distinctly remember the phrase "space fish."

Mick West

Staff member

Just another example. I took this a couple of years ago. I think it got lost in the great Giphy purge of 2020
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