Unravelling the Mystery of Orb Photography

In summary, Benjamin Radford discusses the history of orb photography and how it has evolved. He also provides some examples of great orb shots. Ivan provides a photo of his son looking at an orb that he didn't see. Finally, two more pictures are provided that show different effects that can be achieved with a digital camera.
  • #1
Evo
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I found this to be an interesting article by Benjamin Radford on orb photography. Anyone have any photos with really unexplained effects? I tend to think that most "orb" photographs I've seen are so obviously dust or small insects. Who was the first to claim dust was actually "ghosts" Does anyone know the origin?

http://www.livescience.com/othernews/061030_ghost_photos.html
 
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  • #2
I've got a few in my photographs. I'd always guessed they'd cropped up during development for some reason. Has anyone seen any in digital photos?
 
  • #3
Yes, I have some great shots of orbs on digital. IIRC, in this case they were rain drops but they look much like dust orbs. I'll try to find one and post later. Also, nowadays, most stuff out there is digital, and there are plenty of recent "orb" shots found on the net.
 
  • #4
Lens flares? Sure, any time you use a lens, you can get lens flares. It doesn't matter if it is digital or not.

As for ghosts, I have a few accidental ghost photos of me I've taken at night, with no flash. With a 5+ second exposure, I occasionally move before the exposure is finished.

[edit] I said lens flares, but there are several different effects, and I'm not sure if that's an all-encompassing word. You can have dust (or water) in the air, dust in the lens, or internal reflection.
 
  • #5
This was taken as the first of a before-and-after set for an equipment installation. Since I was standing right at the door, the rain drops had to be no more than about three feet in front of the camera, and probably more like a foot away.
http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/9435/rainorbsom3.jpg

I also made a great smokey ghost shot - the misty type - by using smoke and a flash. It was in another thread, but it seems that imageshack has dumped their database. I will try to find the original... I think it's on my wife's computer.
 
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  • #6
russ_watters said:
As for ghosts, I have a few accidental ghost photos of me I've taken at night, with no flash. With a 5+ second exposure, I occasionally move before the exposure is finished.

I've seen some fantastic photos from delayed exposure at my work. One shows a girl standing against a brick wall, half transparent so the brickwork shows through. There's no trail to show where she left/entered the exposure was so long. Its really spooky. I wish I knew where it was, but its part of a collection of about 2000 so I'm not likely to find it again.

Ivan Seeking said:
Yes, I have some great shots of orbs on digital.
Well that's shown me :smile:
 
  • #7
Of course, Tuff Shed may sell their structures pre-loaded with ghosts.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking said:
This was taken as the first of a before-and-after set for an equipment installation. Since I was standing right at the door, the rain drops had to be no more than about three feet in front of the camera, and probably more like a foot away.
http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/9435/rainorbsom3.jpg

I also made a great smokey ghost shot - the misty type - by using smoke and a flash. It was in another thread, but it seems that imageshack has dumped their database. I will try to find the original... I think it's on my wife's computer.
I remember that ghost shot, can you find it?

Good orb shots, btw.
 
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  • #9
Have you noticed that imageshack dumped! Much of the caption competition is gone. :cry: :cry: :cry:

I hope I still have it. With Tsu in Cal on dial-up, it may take a little time. I'm almost sure that I had that on her computer. Of course, if she hadn't taken the camera I could just make another one. :rolleyes:
 
  • #10
Evo said:
Who was the first to claim dust was actually "ghosts" Does anyone know the origin?
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If I remember correctly, it originated from Dave of the International Ghost Hunters Society. At least he was the one who coined the term "orb" to describe these 'anomalies'.
 
  • #11
yenchin said:
If I remember correctly, it originated from Dave of the International Ghost Hunters Society. At least he was the one who coined the term "orb" to describe these 'anomalies'.
Thanks, so he's to blame for all this orb nonsense.

Ivan, I noticed a number of my photos were deleted and had to upload them again.
 
  • #12
Here we go. Two different effects are seen.

http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/4503/dsc00297smnw9.jpg
http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/6409/dsc00298smzk3.jpg
 
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  • #13
I have one!

Here is a picture of my son looking at an orb that I didn't see. The picture was taken with a normal digital camera (I think 2 megapixles) at normal speed with autoflash. I am sure it is a dustparticle but it looks awesome because he is looking at it.

Here are two more pictures, same camera, same room, same res. They are taken seconds apart. In the first an orb is over my son's left sholder and not in the second. He didn't see this one, but he was laughing for no reason so it may have been telling him a joke.
 

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  • #14
hello all, I investigate the paranormal, have to say though...re orbs that they mainly seem to be moisture, dust, airborn particles, camera malfunctions etc of course we can only really be 99.9999999 recurring on that one, there always is an element open to discussion !

I do on the other hand have an interesting pic taken a few years back from a site that is giving continual alleged evidence, if you wish to see it then message me please !
 
  • #15
Hello ja50n

please feel free to upload to the image to a service like imageshack
http://www.imageshack.us/

Then you can post the image to this thread using the direct link option through imageshack. Or, you can upload here using the attachment option.
 
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  • #16
Photographing Phantoms

Seventy years ago this month, what is still considered one of the best ghost photographs of all time was taken at Raynham Hall, Norfolk. Ever since, it has been held up as convincing evidence for the existence of spectral forms but, as Alan Murdie discovered, long-forgotten files on the case point to a different conclusion.

The photograph known as 'The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall' is probably the most famous picture of a ghost ever taken. Captured on 19 September 1936 by two photographers...
http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/215_raynham_hall_1.shtml
 
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  • #17
Ivan Seeking said:
http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/215_raynham_hall_1.shtml

This brown lady ghost descending the staircase photo reminds me of the photographic hoax that was perpetrated back in 1917 or so. That affair involved exposures of little fairies placed over exposures of an english garden. The whole story is here

http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cooper.htm

however there are no examples of the photos but I'm sure they are readily available in google.

The trouble with photographic evidence is that it is often accompanied with stories that may or may not be true. Today its a little easier to dissect the process a photograph has be through to arrive at the image it offers but, in the day of the brown ghost people were still a little haunted by photography to begin with. I mean, it was a fascinating and new invention... as far as anyone knew.
 
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  • #19
Why do they think they are orbs and not moths?
 
  • #20
orbs?

Well, they appear elongated, leaving a trail and also do seem to have an inner light. If time lapse was used the people would leave a trail as well. Maybe they could be fire flies? I don't know much about doctoring film but I suppose these could have been faked, though it would probably take a fair bit of effort to do so.
 
  • #21
I did a simple experiment awhile back...

What I did was take a normal Sony digital camera and a Sony TV remote. I aimed the remote, and took a picture. It took a few tries to get it to look like an orb photograph, but it came out looking great.

My uncle had claimed to had taken some photos at an abandoned prison at a local navy base, and they looked identical.
 
  • #22
invalid said:
If time lapse was used the people would leave a trail as well.
I didn't look at the photos, but for the types I've seen before, the people would have to have an angular velocity equal to the angular velocity of the "orb" to leave a trail. Ie, they'd need to be running across the field of view.

A fly flying a foot from the lens can cover quite a bit of the field of view in a 1/10 second (a reasonably long exposure for a regular camera with less than adequate lighting).
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking said:
Why do they think they are orbs and not moths?

One explanation;

http://digg.com/general_sciences/Lightning_Balls_Created_in_the_Lab_pics_and_video

Shows evidence of how lightning orbs may form.

What look like orbs may be "rods" or " flying rods"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_(cryptozoology )

Hoax or what?
 
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  • #24
That says nothing of why we would or should think the video referenced was anything but bugs. If I see a light flash on my kitchen window at night, should I first assume that it was a UFO, or might I check first to see if my wife is pulling in the driveway with the headlights on?

There is no reason to jump to exotic explanations before even exploring the mundane explanations. And this is certainly not a discussion about ball lighting. The typical "orb" exhibits none of the characteristics that are suggestive of ball lightning.
 
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  • #25
Ivan Seeking said:
That says nothing of why we would or should think the video referenced was anything but bugs. If I see a light flash on my kitchen window at night, should I first assume that it was a UFO, or might I check first to see if my wife is pulling in the driveway with the headlights on?

There is no reason to jump to exotic explanations before even exploring the mundane explanations. And this is certainly not a discussion about ball lighting. The typical "orb" exhibits none of the characteristics that are suggestive of ball lightning.

My apologies for the disruption. My hope was to add to the existing inventory of possible causes of "orbs". Thanks anyway.
 
  • #26
There are ball lightning orbs, but the ghosty kind are another story. :biggrin:
 
  • #27
Ivan Seeking said:
There are ball lightning orbs, but the ghosty kind are another story. :biggrin:

Well I've always wondered about those ghostly orbs. The one's in the videos that conveniently appear when the camera is on and there are "investigators" present. They have a trail and could have b een made by car lights in the lens. But its more like some FX added after the fact. Scripted acting could just cue in the FX in the studio.

They could be the ghost of Roy Orb(ison):wink:
 
  • #28
kokain said:
Here is a picture of my son looking at an orb that I didn't see. The picture was taken with a normal digital camera (I think 2 megapixles) at normal speed with autoflash. I am sure it is a dustparticle but it looks awesome because he is looking at it.

Here are two more pictures, same camera, same room, same res. They are taken seconds apart. In the first an orb is over my son's left sholder and not in the second. He didn't see this one, but he was laughing for no reason so it may have been telling him a joke.
hey, i don't know if some one said this, but if you notice there are also windows in every shot..so maybe it just has something to do with it..and the two that were taken seconds apart..maybe the camera moved just a tad bit, which was enough to get it out of the light that caused that orb maybe?
thats just what i am guessing.

~mike
 
  • #29
Definitely Mike. The light in the window reflecting on a dust particle and being magnified by the camera lens as it tryed to focus on other objects. As I type, this sounds like a swamp gas explanation but it isn't. Just dust.
 
  • #30
kokain said:
He didn't see this one, but he was laughing for no reason so it may have been telling him a joke.
Imagine what jokes a dust bunny could tell!:eek:
 
  • #31
Here is a spooky one taken on a very dark night on a beach in cuba. This is my son walking toward me. I did not see anything at the time. What do you think...

Picture159.jpg


Hmmm pic does not show...clik link.
 
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  • #32
glondor said:
Here is a spooky one taken on a very dark night on a beach in cuba. This is my son walking toward me. I did not see anything at the time. What do you think...

Picture159.jpg


Hmmm pic does not show...clik link.

Very common.

That is an image of a pair of lights in the background, possibly headlights. The trail is caused by the shutter staying open as you lowered the camera. The lit forgeround and subject do not suffer the same motion trail because they are only lit by the flash, which lasts for a very small fraction of a second.
 
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  • #33
Nice try but no cigar. There are no roads in this area of Varedero Beach. Straight behind my son is beach for miles with heavy heavy brush and tropical jungle on the left and ocean on the right. I think it is a bat myself however I know it is not a car or headlights.
 
  • #34
looks like the water people from the abyss. Was there a 500 foot tidal wave just standing still?
 
  • #35
has anyone ever watched any tv shows about ghosts and stuff. because one time i was watching like the discovery channel or something like that and they had this special about ghosts. so i was watching and they showed a video that supposedly showed a ghost of a man dancing around a parking lot through the cars and whatnot. so after they showed it they recreated the video using very simple things. all they did was take a piece of glass and a little toy man hung by fishing wire and spun the little guy in circles. when the camera took a video of the parking lot behind the glass there was a transparent man dancing around the parking lot when they were done. so i don't know if i believe that there are pictures of ghosts and stuff on the internet. because it is just so easy to fake it. and even if people do see ghosts and stuff in the pictures and it isn't caused by dust or anything it could be like one of the pictures of the world trade centers burning. in one picture there is supposedly the face of the devil in the smoke. i believe that the smoke just happened to look like a face at that particular instance and the person got the picture at just the right time and angle so it looked like that. so i think that most of all these ghosts and stuff are just hoaxes or coincidences
 

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