What looked like the hand of God or a fiery dragon in the Edinburgh sky captivated a junior doctor and triggered a flurry of filming from residents with smartphone cameras. Tom Foster, 25, saw that the ‘heavens opened’ while he was taking pictures of the Scottish capital.
As you can see in the photograph below, with a bit of *pareidolia the clouds plus the sunset combined to what looked like either the Hand of God with a blaze of fire rising into the heavens, or a fiery dragon breathing its fury over the city.
*Pareidolia is the ability or tendency to perceive a specific – often meaningful – image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern – such as seeing shapes from clouds that remind you of things including somebody’s face, perhaps a witch, or an animal. In extreme cases people believe what they see is real, as has occurred when individuals believe they saw the face of Christ on a piece of toast.
What do you think? Hand of God, Fiery Dragon, Phoenix rising, Klingon Spaceship, or Angry Pigeon? I can see all of them, except for the pigeon one. (Image: facebook.com/SpectacularEdinburgh)
Image posted on Facebook
Dr. Foster, an amateur photographer, posted his picture on Facebook earlier this month. Since posting it, he has received a flood of suggestions on what the image represents, ranging from a furious pigeon, a fiery dragon, the hand of God, a Klingon spaceship, to a phoenix rising from flames.
Dr. Foster, from Derbyshire, who has lived in the Scottish capital for the past eight years, said:
“When I first saw the cloud I knew it looked spectacular but it wasn’t until after I took the picture and looked at it on my camera that I started to see the unusual shape it made.”
“What I see most often is the ‘hand of God’ like quite a lot of other people do. I’m not incredibly religious so not sure about the God bit but can certainly see the hand. But then I can also see the dragon’s head and neck. It looks like it is breathing fire.”
Another spectacular Edinburgh sky in March
— Edinburgh News (@edinburghpaper) 7 March 2016
So many different interpretations
What he likes most about the picture is how people can see so many different things in it. He says he has received literally hundreds of comments and messages from people across the globe suggesting different things.
While he is able to appreciate some interpretations he has received “I’m not sure about the pigeon,” he commented “I just really like how it is open to interpretation and has provoked debate.”
Dr. Foster was on top of Carlton Hill, a hill in the centre of the Edinburgh, hoping to capture a good shot of the city’s skyline as the sun was setting.
As he was about to position himself to take the picture, a large black cloud started to gather. At that point he was just about going to give up and go back home. It looked like rain was coming and he did not want to risk getting wet.
He is now glad he decided to stay a bit longer. Initially, he took a couple of pictures of a normal sky, before the large rain-cloud appeared. When it did, he said it looked “absolutely fabulous against the sunset and I knew I had to get a picture of it.”
The real thing was more spectacular
He says even the picture he took does not do justice to how impressive the sky really was at that moment – with the naked eye it was even more spectacular, he said.
After he took the shot that has gone viral on the Internet, the heavens opened and he got completely soaked. However, he believes it was worth getting drenched for.
Dr. Foster said:
“I’m really happy with the picture. As a doctor I don’t get a lot of time to take pictures so it’s great to capture one like this. I love photographing Edinburgh too – I just fell in love with the city when I came eight years ago.”
Video – Edinburgh Sky: Time Lapse
Enjoy the Edinburgh sky in this beautiful time-lapse video (2014).