The above photo was analyzed by Dr. Bruce Maccabee. Dr. Maccabee is a well respected optical physicist who is retired from the U.S. Navy. He has had years of experience in analyzing photos and videos of UFOs. He has written several books and has appeared on numerous TV UFO documentaries. UFOS Northwest is very grateful that Dr. Maccabee took the time to look at this photo. His synopsis is below.
Bruce Maccabee Summarizes His Analysis of the Above Photo: Thanks for the picture. The object is nearly a perfect ellipse, but I detect a slight “pointedness” of the left end, somewhat. (See analyzed photo above.) It is similar to the “pointedness” of the left end of the image in the first Trent photo.I am bothered by the lack of left-right smear expected of the tree branches if he was panning with the object, The tree image have “fuzzy” edges which could be defocus if smeared vertically and horizontally by the same amount. The UFO edges are fuzzy, all the way around. Did he pan with the object? What was the shutter speed? A comparison photo would be nice: from the same location photo the scene using the same camera, same settings, even the same time of day. You (don’t have to wait until March.) We would like to know how sharp are the images of the branches under camera-steady, non-UFO conditions.
Bruce Maccabee Further Comments: I agree that the more or less uniform fuzziness of the edges could be a result of relative motion (camera versus object) toward (or way from) the observer. Yet, at the angular elevation and placement of the image I would expect that a large portion of the shift of position of the object during the shutter time would have been transverse to the line of sight. Evidently there is “structure” in the bottom that would be better seen if we had the negative.
Description: Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. Basically, on April 15, 2004, I was home recovering from a badly broken arm. I was watching TV, like any normal day. It was approximately 3:30 in the afternoon. The weather was great, calm and it was a bright sunny day with very few clouds. Suddenly my house seems to start shaking and I got alarmed as to what may be causing it. The room I was in felt electrically charged. I felt a tingling all over and this got more intense. When I stood up the feeling was even more intense and I felt like I was becoming paralyzed and having trouble breathing. I did not feel that this was something inside me, but around me that had a great deal of force. This went on for what felt like minutes from beginning to end. All of a sudden the force seemed to leave. I fell back onto the couch, very shaken up and it was a little bit before I could get my composure back.
Unknown to me at the time, but I later found out that at the same time, my neighbor was getting ready for his yearly trip to Darlington Motor Speedway. It was also 3:30 PM. He is an avid photographer and likes to take pictures of the cars during the races. He had a zoom lens with high speed film to capture the action. His camera was not digital. He saw an object coming across the sky from the direction of the hydro dam which is only one mile from our houses. The object was moving to the south and he was facing north, so he was able to get 2 shots as it came around and flew over my house before it shot off to the southwest at a high rate of speed. He really did not know what the object was because of the speed it was traveling. When he got the film developed, he was shocked to see that he had gotten such good pictures. He thought he would have good pictures, but not this good. It cleared any doubt in his mind of what he had seen. As soon as he got the film developed he showed me the pictures and we put two and two together about what had happened at my house. My neighbor has since only been able to come up with one of the pictures. Hopefully at some point he will be able to find the other, but this one speaks for itself. I have lived in SC my whole life and served in the Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington during the Vietnam Era, but I have never heard anything about something like this.
I hope this information helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Sighting information: April 15, 2004 at 3:30 PM. Great Falls, SC 29055.
Additional Information Sent by Witness: I am very pleased with your response. I know the picture to be authentic as it is what happened to me. I spoke with my neighbor. The camera specifications are: Minolta X-3A, SLR model, 65×300 zoom lens, using 400 speed film and with a shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/150 seconds. He said hopefully he will be able to find the additional photo. Since we are at this point, I would appreciate being able to speak by phone. I am not the best at email.
Witness Clarification of Date: I do believe you may be right about the date. Mr. Hollis and I have discussed this many times, but have gone on memory, not ever trying to researched the race date. So according to your information, this sighting would have to have taken place on that Friday March 19, 2004. Mr. H. would have been at the race that weekend and he did not get the pictures developed right away, so some time had passed. Maybe that is where the April 15th date came from as it could have been the developing date. Thank you for helping put some clarity on this for us. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Another Report From Witness: Mr. H. is not a computer guru. He doesn’t own a computer. As for copies of the picture, Mr. H. had his film developed and when he showed me the picture, we went and had a copy of the picture made, which he gave to me and told me to do with it what I wanted. I made a copy of my picture to send to you. I have also made copies for a very select few people (Bill Birnes who supposedly sent his to Bruce Maccabee and one to Jamie Havican). As I said last night, Mr. H. is looking for the other picture and the negatives. Hopefully this will actually happen. He has a lot of stuff. He could have put them anywhere for safe keeping. Oh, I also emailed the picture to Cheryl Gilmore, head of MUFON here in SC. Does this tell you what you need or did I misunderstand what you wanted to know? Would really prefer if you could give me a call. Anytime is OK.
Note: A Google search revealed that the first race at the Darlington Speedway in 2004 was on Sunday, March 21, 2004. Another race occurred in November of 2004. I suspect that the date of the photo may have been on March 15, 2004 rather than April 15, 2004. We are attempting to confirm the date. We received prints of the photo which was not taken with a digital camera, but was taken with a quality camera with a telephoto lens and high speed film. The photo was scanned at 200 DPI color. If this photo in authentic, it is of a classic flying saucer. It is important to note that the object was seen by the photographer and not later found in the photo. In addition it should be noted that strange effects occurred within a mile of where the photo was taken at the time of the photo.
I have also learned that retired Naval optical physicist Dr Bruce Maccabee is analyzing this photo. His analysis has not yet been completed.
Update – November 19, 2013: Given the witness response above regarding the date I have changed the date of the sighting to March 19, 2004. A check of weather conditions confirms that skies were mostly clear on that day. It should be noted that the trees and power-lines are out-of-focus. This means that the photographer was panning to keep the object in view. The object was flying towards him. Also I have learned that the photographer doesn’t even own a computer and is not a computer guru. I know that debunkers will conclude that the photo had to have been “Photo-Chopped,” but I don’t believe that happened given the background of the photographer.
December 23, 2013 – Photo Analyst David Mason Writes: I am 100% certain this saucer UFO is a hoax. If you look at the tree branches closest to the camera at the right corner (at about 10 feet) they’re more in focus than the more distant trees which are out of focus. If the camera lens had been properly focused at ∞ the more distant trees (at about 300-400 feet) would be in focus for this particular field of view.
I tested the focus blur and it is linear. It is not caused by camera shake or directional motion. The variations of focus also rule out camera shake or motion blur.
Since the camera focus was set for a short distance and the object of interest is in sharp focus it is conclusive that the object is relatively close to the camera (about 10 feet) and therefore the scale of the object of interest would have to be around 1 to 3 feet in diameter. I did not find suspension wires, but this image could be produced with a balloon, an aerial remote UFO model, or a tossed Frisbee object.
What’s interesting about this photo is that our selective perception of the object is altered by the power lines just below it. When the power lines are removed in Photoshop, the object looks more like a thrown hub cap. See the attached photo with the power lines removed. (See below.)