Lens flare or something else?
November 23, 2005 9:23 AM   Subscribe

The image on the left side of zeus.com shows a photo of a man with some sort of optical effect partially overlying his head. Any ideas on what caused this? Both a name and a simple explanation if possible? Suggestions I've heard so far include lens flare or reflections on an intervening pane of glass but noone seems entirely sure of it.
posted by edd to Science & Nature (10 answers total)
If you look at the original image here, there's clearly a pane of glass between him and the camera. They've cropped it out on zeus.com.
posted by chrismear at 9:26 AM on November 23, 2005

I'm not sure if you're referring to A or B:

A - In the background there are out of focus blobs from lights on the panels; this can be heightened by using short focal lengths (low light and fast film).

B - That thing on the left side of his head, I'm having a tough time grasping the idea it was intended. The only thing I can think of when I see it is a Borg implant of some kind. It's a hideous and distracting effect.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:28 AM on November 23, 2005

And what chrismear said. Looks like the cropping is what made the artifact distracting.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:29 AM on November 23, 2005

Comment of friend on seeing the solution appear within three minutes:
Damn, they're *good*
Blimey! That's quick!
How he found that is a question edd should ask on that site
and so on. Count us all impressed.
posted by edd at 9:30 AM on November 23, 2005

I gotta admit, I didn't expect a search for 'black datacenter man' would work so well.
posted by chrismear at 9:37 AM on November 23, 2005

I gotta admit, I didn't expect a search for 'black datacenter man' would work so well.

hah! that might be the funniest thing i've read in a week!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2005

Looks like a reflection of a flourescent bulb in the window glass to me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:53 AM on November 23, 2005

The article to the left of the head is the 'C' from the logo of CORBIS (remnant) that looks like a watermark as well as the refelction of flouro tubing to the left of the image, and the flare to the right is just that, a flare from a light source on the rack behind the 'head' or, more likely given the angle, the flash used in the picture.

Cause is the same thing as pointing a camera at the sun - the camera is trying to compensate for a brighter than average light source and effectively fails, I think? There's also refraction going on due to the glass of course, and the bounce back angle if it is due to a flash being used.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 11:37 AM on November 23, 2005

At the risk of incurring the wrath of the gods of Corbis, here's an unwatermarked version.
posted by chrismear at 12:06 PM on November 23, 2005

Flare is "scattering and internal reflection and refraction of bright light in the optical components". It's not a "failure" in the camera or lens, it's just the way it behaves as constructed.

Distracting reflections however are failure on the part of the photog or editor, so it goes.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 3:14 PM on November 23, 2005

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