UFO Type: Small, darkish, reddish blob with shape change.

Sighting Duration: 56 seconds between first and last photo.

Date: July 10, 2010.

Time: 8 PM.

Place: At a SW Portland, Oregon, park.

Witnesses: Keith Rowell, OM Assistant State Director; Randy Bell, Portland UFO Network Director; Will, a member of PUFON. 

Randy Bell, the Director of the Portland UFO Network, holds UFO sky watches in the Portland, Oregon, area every three to four weeks. Anywhere from three to eight people have accompanied Randy on his watches. The point of the watches is to witness UFO activity and to hopefully photograph and/or videotape UFOs, too.

To be successful, you need to have a digital camera (or camcorder) with at least a five times zoom lens (the UFOs are generally pretty small) and hang around Randy because he attracts UFOs like nectar attracts bees! Seriously, some people seem to be psychically in tune with UFOs and Randy is one of them. He has seen and photographed numerous UFOs in the last few years. After a close sighting of a UFO, Randy started photographing UFOs and then decided he wanted to share his interest. He created the Portland UFO Network in the spring of 2010, and he's had a number of successful UFO watches since.

Photographing UFOs at a PUFON Sky Watch

People generally do not see UFOs. Randy tells people to simply focus their cameras on infinity and point them at a spot in the sky where they "feel" UFOs might be. With Randy, this feeling is more than a feeling; it is a deeper psychic intuition. Randy might take a couple of hundred photos in an hour. UFOs show up in perhaps one, two, or three percent of his photos.

As you might expect, a lot of curious things show up in his photos besides UFOs. These curious things are perfectly ordinary bird "smears," bug "smears," tree cotton stuff, airplanes, etc. This particular time (7-10-10) we spotted and photographed some party balloons drifting by. Sometimes it can be a challenge picking out the UFOs from the normal stuff moving around in our air and sky.

What UFOs (Mostly) Look Like in Photos

Generally, UFOs are very dark, or very light, or colored. They are circular, oval, or oddly angular, or change shape rapidly in a quick sequence of photos on continuous shutter mode. They can include very dark and very light areas in one shape. Birds and bugs are generally of medium gray or brown, not really dark or really light, and they are elongated smears because they are moving fast relative to the field of view. Many times, birds are quite recognizable as, for example, a hawk or swift. Airplanes are not hard to recognize. Balloons are easy unless they are very far away and the pixel size is less than 10 across or so. (Balloons are more rare than UFOs when you are with Randy!)

Photos Without Eyewitness Experience Not Very Evidential

UFOs captured by video or photography when you don't see the UFO are a very low value UFO experience because all you have is the video or photo to interpret. But trying to capture UFOs photographically seemingly at random (or is it truly psychically?) is still fun, and you will learn a lot about the natural/conventional world trying to separate your UFOs from everything else.

Camera Artifacts

Speaking of that "everything else," you will also run into digital camera and video artifacts, so be prepared to learn a lot as you separate the UFO wheat from the artifact and natural/conventional world chaff. A common DSLR artifact is the pesky dust mote adhering to the sensor inside your camera.  My dust motes show up as medium gray, fuzzy, round blobs of 30 to 40 pixels in diameter.  (Time to clean the sensor!)  Also, I have a dead pixel on my sensor that shows up as a white pixel surrounded symmetrically by four other white ones. Dust motes can move around from photo to photo, but dead pixels will stay in exactly the same place.

The UFO Photo Evidence for Our Outing

The upshot is: the most important thing seems to be to find a fellow like Randy and hang around him. Then sooner or later you'll start photographing UFOs as I have done.  Good luck and start your own photographic UFO hunt!

The four photos below are almost certainly of UFOs and probably the same object. I did not see it at the time, but at about the same time Randy and PUFON member Will were using 15 power binoculars and spotted a UFO of generally the same description visually as you see here in the photos.

Note the times the photos were taken. The same 640 mm telephoto lens (35 mm equiv.) was used on a Canon 40D at the same zoom extent for all photos. The Photoshop magnifications are the same for all four photos at 400%. Note the shape change within one second between photos 1596 and 1597.

 Photoshop Array of UFO Photos From the Skywatch