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18th May 2014 – Abergavenny, Wales – Dark Grey Disc Photograph

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Last Updated: 16/06/2020

Sighting Details

On the afternoon of 18th May 2014, Lee Jessup was in the garden of his house on Mill Lane, Govilon, Abergavenny playing with his pet dog. It was a bright, sunny and still day with hardly any cloud. 

Aerial map of Mill Lane:

At 2.41pm Lee threw the ball for his dog to fetch and was looking to the North North East when he noticed a strange object in the sky. He estimated it to be about 2000 yards away from his location and at an altitude of about 2000 feet. The object appeared to be a dark grey metallic disc. It was hovering completely motionless and seemed to be silent. Lee estimates it was about 50-75 feet in diameter. There were no markings visible on the object.

Intrigued, Lee stared at the object trying to figure out what it could be. A minute later his wife Alicia got home from work. When she came out into the garden Lee pointed the object out to her but she didn’t have her glasses with her so could not see it. At this point Lee decided to head indoors a moment to get his compact camera. When he returned outside 30 seconds later the object was still present. He tried to take a zoomed photograph but the camera wouldn’t focus on it, so instead he took a wide shot. He then momentarily took his eyes off the UFO to manually zoom in on it on the camera screen and show Alicia.

When he looked back to the sky the object had vanished. It was a clear day so there was no clouds or other objects it could have moved behind, it was just gone. He and his wife continued to watch for it, but the object did not reappear.

Soon afterwards Lee got in touch with BBC Wales and sent them the photograph, but did not hear back from them. He told a number of people about the sighting. They either did not believe him, or thought it was probably something conventional, but had not seen the photograph so were basing these theories on description alone.

The Photograph

Below is the original photograph which Lee took from his garden. The UFO can be seen above the right edge of the building:

Obviously the object is quite small in terms of the whole photograph due to its distance. But luckily the photograph is of good quality so it is possible to zoom in and pick up detail. Here are zoomed, edge find and colour saturated views of the object:

As you can see, at first glance the object appears to be as Lee described - a flattened dark grey disc. The darker area around the middle of the object gives it the appearance of two plates placed face-to-face. This split into two distinct halves can be seen even clearly when the photograph is sharpened:

Another fascinating aspect is the pale aura or haze seen around the edges of the object, which can be most clearly seen on this zoomed high pass view of the image:

Confirmation of Authenticity

No matter how convincing the witness’s testimonial evidence and how compelling the photograph is, it is still important to confirm beyond reasonable doubt that the image is genuine and has not been manipulated in any way. The best way to do this is to obtain a copy of the RAW photograph file. Many modern digital cameras automatically store RAW images alongside the standard JPEG format. These are usually very large in size and in most cases would not be copied across from the camera by the standard software. RAW images cannot be modified using editing packages, so are a great way of immediately confirming if a photograph is genuine or not. Unfortunately as this photograph was taken over two years before the witness got in touch only the JPEG image exists.

The best way to determine whether or not a JPEG has been modified in any way is to analyse the metadata behind it. Most images shot on digital cameras or smartphones come with a wealth of hidden information which can be very revealing indeed if you know what to look for. I have performed extensive analysis of many images and consider myself to have a very reasonable knowledge of this.

Although some metadata tags can be seen simply by going to the Properties on the file in Windows this is quite minimal. In order to get a much more complete picture of the metadata it is necessary to utilise a tool or website specifically designed to extract it.

The following images show three metadata extractions laid out alongside one another. The first extraction on the left is of a control photograph shot on another Fujifilm camera. It is not exactly the same model as the one the witness used, but it is close enough in terms of the metadata which is generated. The second extraction is of the same control image after it has been modified in Paintshop Pro by adding a small black blob towards the top left. Most photo editing tools will affect the metadata in similar ways. The third extraction on the right is of the UFO photograph. On each image I have noted the significant tags/values in yellow, and under each image are details explaining the significance of these findings.

Basic Image Information

- Size of the image is usually greatly reduced on modification as the compression quality of the editing tool is better than that of the standard camera software. While it is impossible to say what size the UFO photograph should be, it is large enough to not be suspicious in any way.

- When the image is first photographed it will not have an embedded color profile. Once it is set the color profile is set, usually sRGB. The UFO photograph has no embedded color profile.

- Original Fujifilm camera images have a preview image tag. In the tool I utilise this leads to a preview image appearing directly under the Basic Image Information. This tag vanishes on modification, and so the preview image no longer appears. The UFO photograph displays a preview image.


- XMP tags are related to the editing software. They do not show up on original Fujifilm images, and only appear after the image has been modified. The UFO photograph has none of these tags.

EXIF (1/2)

- Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling tag only appears on modified Fujifilm images, it is missing on originals. The UFO photograph does not have this tag.

- On original Fujifilm images Software shows the name of the standard camera software. When the image is modified this changes to the name of the editing tool. The UFO photograph has the standard camera software listed.

- Original Fujifilm images have the tag Exif Image Size. This changes to Image Size once the image is modified. The UFO photograph has Exif Image Size tag and does not have Image Size tag.

- On original Fujifilm images the Maker Note Fuji Film tag exists. When the image is modified this tag vanishes. The UFO photograph has this tag.

- Many of the EXIF tags move position when images are modified. Comparing the UFO photograph with the two control images it can be seen that the order matches the original.

EXIF (2/2)