Much of the skeptical view of the UFO phenomena is based on the quality or lack thereof of photographs and video that purportedly show images of UFOs. Those of us who study UFOs are kind of caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
A photograph of an unknown flying object that is not very clear is not good enough to convince the non-believer, and yet a nice clear shot of a UFO falls into the "too good to be true" category. I have found myself falling into the later category when seeing a nice, clear shot of an unknown object flying through the sky.
Why? Well... we are so used to seeing the grainy, blurry photos that we automatically think anything else must have been created in a graphics program on a computer. And most importantly, we know that when the photograph is put into a report on the Net, we are going to get negative feedback from the skeptics.
Also, even those who are fence sitters will say, "Now, see, this is what gives Ufology a bad reputation." So... what does one do?
I was recently asked by a gentleman why there are so many photos of UFOs that are out of focus, and why are there so many in which the object in question was not seen at the time the image was shot, and only noticed later when the pictures were uploaded to the computer. I would like to address these questions.
Out of Focus Photos
As to seeing UFOs, there are several things at play, and the most important rule is there are no rules. You have to remember that everyday people go about their lives with their eyes on the busy world around them - watching traffic, store signs, talking on the cell phone, listening to the radio, watching television, and more.
It is very rare that anyone really looks into the sky to see if there is a UFO there. We have all seen the unusual phenomena of when one person starts looking up to the sky, everyone around will soon be doing the same thing. Going about our everyday business, we never look up unless we see someone else looking up.
Very few people actually are looking for UFOs. And if you saw a person walking around the mall parking lot looking up at the sky, well... you might call the men in white coats in. Skeptics do have a rule they often follow - it is quite normal for a person to make a UFO report, but when that same person starts making one after another, that person can't be trusted, and their reports can be summarily discarded.
Object Not There at Time of Photo
As to the photographers themselves, unless there is that rare individual who is specifically looking to photograph a UFO, any person taking pictures is pretty much watching the subject of his shot, and when you look through the lens, everything is much smaller, and an object in the distance would usually not be seen.
It is true that the new digital cameras see better than the human eye in a sense, because the camera is not distracted by sounds, or confused by reflections, shadows, or other movements that are seen peripherally by humans. It only takes a photograph of what falls within its range.
This applies primarily to daylight settings, and night time photography is even more difficult. Of course, some digital cameras have all of the normal photographic adjustments on them, and depending on how they are set, they can take a photograph of a distant object that is moving extremely fast without blurring.
There are also some inherent problems with digital cameras as to reflection and glaring that is quite common. This is normally caused by the chemical coating on the lens, which refracts bright light source, and causes "ghosting." These difficulties only add to the debunker's cache of weapons.