Pics or it didn’t happen
Every year, thousands of people across the world report seeing strange things in the night sky. Along with these reports come a staggering number of poorly taken photos. Photos that don’t look like spacecraft, or stealth craft—or even aircraft. They just look like lights in the sky. For example:
This is a space-ship
This is not a space-ship
Many people make claims of the fantastic things they’ve seen. Perhaps you know someone—or maybe you yourself have seen something. But if all you’ve got is a picture of some lights…nobody is going to take you seriously.
Fear not. We’re here to help…
If you’re like us, you suspect there’s something to these sightings. But what? To find out, you have to properly document such things. And to properly document them, you need the right equipment. In the examples below we’ll show you the results you can expect from various kinds of photographic equipment. As you’ll see, basic cameras are useless for the task at hand; but there are alternatives which provide great results for documenting and evaluating pesky mystery craft.
Meet Boogeyman One
In our search for the optimal documentary equipment, we started by engineering a test craft which would conform to low observable technologies of the past decade. We call him Boogeyman One. He’s triangular for a low radar signature, and covered in a light-absorbing material to make him optically stealthy. We reckon this is the toughest case scenario for cameras trying to photograph things that sneak around in the dark. We can tell when our Boogeyman is sneaking around, though, because he smells like French fries.
Enough talking—show us the action!
One suitably dark night, we took Boogeyman One out, flew him over the house, and photographed him in action:
We used a variety of cameras representing typical consumer options, from simple point-and-shoot digicams to high-end documentary equipment. Here are our findings:
This is a picture of Boogeyman One at night, taken with a typical point-and-shoot camera: a Nikon Coolpix S70. As you can see, cameras of this ilk have nowhere near the sensitivity to capture a night shot of a dark object. We’ve had to highlight Boogeyman in red just so you can see where he is.
This picture of Boogeyman One was taken with a Nikon D200 at ISO 1600 (that’s a fancy way of saying “very high light sensitivity”). We adjusted the gamma with Photoshop to make the model more visible, because it was pretty hard to see before. Although better than a point-and-shoot, the DSLR is still a very poor candidate.
Grade: barely pass
DSLR with laser pointer
This picture was also taken with the Nikon D200, but this time we attached a laser pointer to it. While the picture doesn’t have a lot of clarity, it’s clear the laser is hitting a tangible object. This is important (especially if your camera isn’t up to scratch) for proving that the object you’re shooting isn’t just some kind of visual artifact or shadow. Plus, you can use the phrase “fricken lasers” when you show your friends. FYI: Do NOT point a laser at commercial aircraft. This means YOU.
This is a picture of Boogeyman One taken with a fourth-generation night vision camera. The Boogeyman can be clearly distinguished from the sky above—and you can even just make out that it’s three-dimensional. With this camera, not only can you capture suspicious night-time craft in vivid green clarity, but you can look like James Bond doing it.
Grade: epic pass
This is the pinnacle of Boogeyman One pictures. It was taken with a FLUKE thermal infrared camera in total darkness. Boogeyman One’s dimensions are clearly discernible, and even variations in his surface temperature can be made out with ease. A thermal camera can be used day or night, and see even objects through fog and haze. Bonus points for a thermal video camera. Nothing can escape you when you are armed with “predator vision”.
Grade: ultimate pass
How can you be certain if what you’re seeing is a legitimate plane or not? Get your own radar of course! The Kinetic SBS-1e Real Time Virtual Radar system is a computer program which will show you airplanes in your area which are flying with IFF turned on—as required by the FAA.
Grade: ultimate pass
Great, but how do I get all this stuff?
We figure you realize that any decent camera store will sell you a DSLR; and you can pick up a laser pointer just about anywhere these days. But if you’re convinced that night vision or thermal imaging equipment is the only way to go, you’ll want to check out these links: