Was enjoying a most lovely day while visiting in Modesto, California. I was trying out some old lenses and filters on my camcorder/binocular combo set-up and really having fun watching the sun go down. I had just attached an older 3X optical conversion lens (from yesteryear) and was preparing to videotape the sun setting. Nice cumulus clouds were gently lying on the horizon in the distance and I knew I would get some good footage. The only doubts I had was in this old lens and thought I'd better check it out first beforehand to be safe. I always align my camcorder lens to reflect exactly what I see in the binoculars, this way I can view thru them and if something gets my attention, I can just flip the record button on the camcorder to capture what I'm viewing in the binoculars without moving my eyes away.
I was just getting ready to start my alignment and aimed my binoculars at these trees in the distance to be a centering point for both devices. As I was center targeting, an object of some form with some length to it in an upright stance was traveling to the right of my POV (Point of View). I instantly flicked on the record button of the camcorder and started taping. I have to apologize as I didn't get everything aligned up nor had a chance to turn on the "anti-shake" mode prior as I was caught a bit off guard. Needless to say the footage is quite shaky even on a tripod. Nor did I have the tension set for tilting and panning ready for any form of recording on the tripod.
The object was going slightly into the blowing wind which in my mind eliminated the chance of it being a balloon. While observing it moving slowly to the North (I'm facing West at the time), I could see that it had some length to it despite the distance from the camera. It resembled a large piece of pipe or a section off an aqueduct. It's trajectory was smooth and slow moving (evident despite all my shakiness). It appeared to maintain the same constant elevation throughout my viewing and capturing of footage. In the last two minutes it's speed appeared to have increased by maybe three or four hundred percent. Usually an object as it gets further away would give the illusion of slowing down, this was not the case here. It also had the appearance of a shape change shortly after recording and passing in front of some trees to a more spheroid shaped object. This could also have been caused by a change in the angle of the object itself. For the continuation of the capture it maintained this appearance.
I'm not sure what I captured, but as always I am thankful that I did videotape something unusual. I've attempted to stabilize the footage somewhat to keep the object nearest the center. Once you see the frames go everywhere, you'll understand why I felt compelled to do this.
Date and Time: May 22 nd, 2006 7:54 PM to 8:05 PM (PST)
Location: Modesto, CA.
Weather: Fairly clear blue skies with a northwesterly wind
Air Traffic: None till about 5 minutes later
Object: Cylinder or perhaps a cigar, later it's appearance was that of a circular object
Color: With my seeing only the backside (from my pov) its appearance was dark in color
Speed: Indeterminate, but as things generally appear to have velocity when viewed thru a zoomed lens, it is this researchers opinion that it was very slow moving.
Distance: Unknown, but would speculate that vehicles traveling on highway-99 would have been able to see it if they looked upwards and to the left of them (heading north towards Sacramento).
Trajectory: The object was on a Northern heading
Sound: None heard, general ambient noise
Observe Time: In total about nine minutes
View video clip Modesto, CA Windows, (streams in new window)
Download Windows Media File, 3.9MB
(right click & select "save target as")
Clip #2 shows the object after it has perhaps leveled off and heading away from my POV. It has been suggested that this may be one reason why it's shape has changed and that perhaps I am now seeing the back-side of a horizontal position. This actually makes more sense to me than another theory offered that it was morphing from cylinder to spheroid. When zoomed in it does have the appearance of being a bit squashed.
In clip one you see the object enter in as a upright object/craft. It took approximately a minute or more before I was able to reposition the camcorder and wait for the object to pop out on the other tree-side. To my surprise a horizontal craft was what was seen. It is assumed that they are one in the same.
Traveling into the wind: If you'll look at the trees you can tell that they are being blown from the North (they are leaning to the left) which means the object (whatever it is) is going against the wind along it's trajectory.
Download Windows Media File, 1.2 MB
(right click & select "save target as")
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