Sunset Photos with "Angel Wings"

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
These photos just cropped up on Facebook again. I think they were discussed somewhere else, but can't remember/find where.

http://www.cornwalllive.com/photogr...gs-sky-hayle/story-28932931-detail/story.html
13387479-large.jpg
And:
http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/sunrise-angel-and-cross-photographed-same-day/
sunrise-angel-FB-600.jpg
Now the have been discussed before, and the obvious suggestion is that they are fake, as they are so unusual, and look so similar.

But is it possible that there's some camera artifact that could (rarely) result in this shape? Maybe one is an actual artifact, and the other is a fake?

One thing to note is the Langley photo has some glitches in it:
20161126-113304-6ekfj.jpg

Which could indicate fakery.
 

ZARk

New Member
Most probably the camera switched to "HDR" mode, which it uses to capture very bright & very dim objects in the same frame.
It does this by stacking up multiple exposures (by either changing ISO, or ExposureTime) . Which poses issues with fast moving objects, as the time between two shots can have the object move.

This also means that the picture is automatically a composite, and therefore a computer made choices on how to "merge" the two (or three or four or more ) pictures.


I can't find any references to the camera used, it would help though.
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
Is the foreground glare in the Warne pic (un-cropped version) 'normal'? The light and dark areas almost look to line up with the angel.

Ray Von
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Is the foreground glare in the Warne pic (un-cropped version) 'normal'? The light and dark areas almost look to line up with the angel.

Ray Von

I just took this photo of the sunset, unaltered from the camera (Nikon P900), to demonstrate similar flare. (Not to explain the "wings", just to show the photo is not fake because it has these flares)
20161130-163136-7x2eq.jpg

So it's not an atypical pattern. The actual position of the ovals of light depends on the zoom, and on the position of the sun in the frame (the are fixed relative to the sun, unlike the circular flares).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Most probably the camera switched to "HDR" mode, which it uses to capture very bright & very dim objects in the same frame.
It does this by stacking up multiple exposures (by either changing ISO, or ExposureTime) . Which poses issues with fast moving objects, as the time between two shots can have the object move.

This also means that the picture is automatically a composite, and therefore a computer made choices on how to "merge" the two (or three or four or more ) pictures.

This cropped up again, and I think the most likely cause is as ZARk suggests, HDR compositing.

Source: https://twitter.com/NickHintonn/status/1307882754957246466
 

Amber Robot

Active Member
But that is not how it "looked". The photographer admitted it:

“The shape is only in the photo,” said Langley, a former photojournalist for a network television affiliate in Florida. “It looked like a normal giant pink sun [when taking the picture]!”

Which makes it an exceedingly high probability to be a camera effect of some sort.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think I'm 100% with the HDR compositing explanation now. Consider this photo:
https://www.cristenjoyphotography.com/sunset-haze/

Metabunk 2020-09-22 11-12-48.jpg

Then look at the gradients within the picture

Metabunk 2020-09-22 11-15-19.jpgMetabunk 2020-09-22 11-14-05.jpg


This is essentially the sun setting behind a bank of fog/haze. The combination of the vertical density gradient of the fog (thicker lower down) and the forward scattering of light close to the sun creates a combination of encircling bands and a variety of "wings". You can play around with the curves to further isolate them.
Metabunk 2020-09-22 11-19-31.jpg

So the wing shapes are there in a normal photo. The HDR blending algorithm in the phone used for these photos has just done a poor job in blending together different exposures.
 
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