Friday, May 26, 2006

Bob Shell on the Heflin photos

[Click title to see post]

Bob Shell adds his 2 cents on the Heflin photos, but misses a primary point on the lack of a suspension thread in the photos.

He claims that the only way for a suspension thread to be invisible at such close range (5 feet or so from the lens) is for the thread to be non-reflective and very thin.

This is actually not true. While it is much easier to "hide" a thread when it is very thin and non-reflective, it is not necessary. What is important in the Heflin photos is that they were taken from inside a dark truck cab. The Polaroid 101s automatic exposure would average the scene lighting and expose accordingly.

So, as the majority of the field of view is dark, the camera would over-expose, which causes the sky to become very uniform, and any suspension thread is over-exposed to invisibility just like the clouds in the sky.

So even a fairly thick suspension thread could be hidden by ensuring that the images are more dark than light.

And when looking at the images, what strikes me is that in each of the object photos, the object is NOT centered in the frame, as a human instinctively seeks to do, but the camera remained well within the truck as if Heflin did not instinctively move as close to the window as possible to get the object centered in a field of sky.

Look at each of the photos 1-3 in see the object very near the top of the windshield in photo #1...Why didn't Heflin lean forward to allow the sky to fill the frame with the object in the dead center? Well, I know that if the object was hanging from a fishing pole, it would possibly show the pole, and if I filled the frame with the bright sky, the exposure would be such that the thread would be quite visible.

Same with the other two object photos...object is very near the door frame, and not centered. If Heflin had leaned out the window to get the big sky and the object centered in the frame, we'd see the thread, and maybe the pole. By staying well within the truck and centering not on the object but the windowframe itself, he insured that the exposure would be over-compensating, and the thread would vanish.

This would mean that the object itself would be actually much darker than the photo indicates, and would enhance the "shine" noted in photo 1. This item could have been a pork pie hat dangling from a fishing pole with plain old fishing line or kite string. No fancy tungsten wire required.

Note also that once the model is no longer the final "smoke ring" photo, that Heflin has moved outside the vehicle and we see the smoke ring centered in the frame with big sky all around...just like you'd expect.

For what it is worth, the images above were done using the large images in the Re-analysis cited before, with levels adjusted to enhance the contrast. I think there's a case for a filament between the object and the window frame. You be the judge...

I think we can chalk this up to hoax unless some compelling evidence comes forth to refute these conclusions.

[hat tip to UFO Updates]

Nice commentary, Kyle! I've always been a Heflin agnostic. I think you've pointed out some potentially damning issues.
Hey Mac -

Thanks. I wish I could get some first-generation scans...border to border.

I really think this one goes to the hoax basket...drat, it was my favorite case for many years.

And for Dick Hall...who maintains that his stellar reputation for integrity is "evidence" of his honesty, I can only say this word..."Enron".

In other words, we are ALL utterly honest until we tell a lie. :)

Thanks again!
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