Gazing at clouds and debating the swirling shapes they form isn’t an inherently scary activity. In fact, a visit from a particularly irate wasp notwithstanding, it’s about as gentle as you can get
But things took a distinctly sinister turn for one amateur photographer when he encountered what looked uncannily like a UFO hovering in the sky.
Dmitry Gorilovskiy, who thankfully wasn’t yanked up by a stray tractor beam, captured the foreboding image while wandering through Aquila Game Reserve on South Africa’s Western Cape.
This formation — officially known as a lenticular cloud — is found in mountainous regions and is coveted by glider pilots, but it’s rare for one to be so well-defined.
Little wonder, then, that Gorilovskiy has entered his picture (simply entitled ‘The Cloud’) into National Geographic’s lauded annual photo contest. And with a grand prize of $10,000 (£6,400), you can hardly blame him.
There are more than 13,000 entries — including one of Pakistani trees encased in spider webs following flooding, and a ghostly image of Dubai’s 829-metre Burj Khalifa — jostling to be named victor in two weeks.
But even with those odds, we wouldn’t bet against a certain cloud (and a bewildered zebra) claiming the prize.