Sunset Photos with "Angel Wings"

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
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Article:
Ian Warne, 51, was walking along Peter's Point when he decided to take a picture of the picturesque sunset.

When he got home and uploaded the photo on to his computer he noticed the odd phenomenon.

Ian said: "I was just walking along with my dog and saw the sunset. I took a couple of shots and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary until I got home


sunrise-angel-FB-600.jpg
Article:
Langley told WND she photographed the sunrise at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday with her Samsung 5 phone while standing outside of her car, not looking through the windshield.

“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]!”

“I was mostly worried it looked like a giant breaking wave,” she added, believing it was a “total flare in the camera lens. It was incredibly bright, mixed with southern winds that push ‘vog,’ volcanic haze from a big island volcano across Hawaii.”


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.
 
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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



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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