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.
  • #36
glondor said:
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.
We'll just have to take your word for it as to what's not in the background.

However, one thing it is not is a bat. It is a non-moving source of light. At least, it did not move over the duration of the lens aperature, which is a large fraction of a second.
 
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  • #37
That looks like an electrical current floating in the air.

Could that be the ghost of Nikolas Tesla?

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  • #38
OK, let's just separate what we know from what we don't.

The light trails are caused by a long exposure ( > 1sec.) on the camera. The camera was moved during the exposure.

- The operator presses the button.
- The software senses the darkness, and determines that a long exposure is best.
- It opens the shutter and then very shortly after, the flash goes off. The flash is VERY fast, freezing the foreground subject in the (bluish) light of the flash.
- The shutter stays open, capturing the background lights in a spot in the image.
- The operator then lowers the camera while the shutter is still open, causing the lights to (jerkily) zip off the top of the image.

If there had been more than two lights in the background, they would have all had the exact same trails.

This is VERY common in night photography. I worked in the industry for ten years and processed a million of these.


Here are some examples I Googled:
http://pixoftoronto.com/cavalblueXmas.jpg"
http://www.amateursnapper.com/images/car-night-trails-2.jpg"
http://www.digitalimagemakerworld.com/gallery/main.php/d/839-2/DIMi.JPG"


The only thing we don't know is the source of the two lights.
 
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  • #39
I have taken over 10,000 pics with this camera. I know how it works. I try very hard not to move while on night shot, I wait till i hear the shutter close. There were no lights on the beach that night in that area. Try again. That bridge shot at night is very nice.
 
  • #40
glondor said:
I have taken over 10,000 pics with this camera. I know how it works. I try very hard not to move while on night shot, I wait till i hear the shutter close. There were no lights on the beach that night in that area. Try again. That bridge shot at night is very nice.
I am astonished that, in 10,000 shots you have never encountered this phenom.

There are other possible explanations as to why those lights are in this shot, such as a double-exposure, but I assure you, there is absolutely no denying what has caused the streaks.
 
  • #41
Insect? i.e. the glowing beetles (memory is blank right now) Small ember from a fire? Do you smoke and could it be an ash?
 
  • #42
I have never encountered a phenomenon as unexplainable as this. I have seen many camera oddities however. The key part to this picture was that there was NOTHING lit on the beach that night. It was dark. period.
 
  • #43
glondor said:
I have never encountered a phenomenon as unexplainable as this. I have seen many camera oddities however. The key part to this picture was that there was NOTHING lit on the beach that night. It was dark. period.

But 'easily replicable, extermely common circumstance and clear, unambiguous photographic evidence' beats 'witness insistence of recollecting not seeing something'.

While I grant it is a mystery as to what the lights are doing in the pictures, it is no mystery at all as to why they've streaked the way they have.

Here's another set of pics which, coincidentally, are part of descriptions of ghostly effects:

http://www.pbase.com/bcplaces/image/67692305"
http://webzoom.freewebs.com/aghostpage/FalsePositive2.jpg"
http://www.neprs.org/photos/whataboutimgs/fakedplasma.jpg"

http://www.neprs.org/aboutecto.html" says thus:
"One tried and true way to spot fake plasma lights is easy. If the plasma lights run parallel as they do above, they are false. The movement in the photo above all follow the same path.. This is because it is actually representing the moviment of the camera in our hands and not the lights in front of the camera. If the lights move uniformly together, you have camera movement and a slow shutter speed, not ghost phenomenon."
(Regardless if this person's belief of supernatural phenomena, he certainly understands how cameras work.)
 
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  • #44
I remember something about Tesla experiments.He tried to take a photo of his radiant one wire powered lights (brilliant light) and it was so hard because even after a few minutes of exposure light was not clearly visible on photo. Apparently ghosts and radiant light are somehow similar ...
 
  • #45
well speaking of orbs...what if you see one and it zooms past you into another room...what is that then?

I saw one go into my parent's room a few times..since it was dark in there and the halway light was on and I was playing with my cat whilst sitting on the floor and I saw something in my peripheral vision and looked into the doorway where I was sitting and saw it go in.

pictures are one thing but seeing go past past you is another thing. It was slow enough for me to see that it was a circle but not fast enough to form a streak.

not sure but I've tried to look it up but I haven't found this..it's usually that people see the orb in pictures and not in person.
 
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  • #46
Sorry I missed this before:
DaveC426913 said:
But 'easily replicable, extermely common circumstance and clear, unambiguous photographic evidence' beats 'witness insistence of recollecting not seeing something'.
Have a look at this pic, guys, and tell me what you think... (The blue "ghost" must have been between me and the porch column! :bugeye: )

Most cameras have a "night mode" where the shutter opens twice. Once wth the flash to record the near subject and once without it, longer, to record the background. I suspect the previous poster was using that mode.
 

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  • #47
binzing said:
Insect? i.e. the glowing beetles (memory is blank right now) Small ember from a fire? Do you smoke and could it be an ash?
Possible, but due to the spacing, my guess would be the headlights of a car.

btw, glondor, if you could link the original pic, I might be able to positively ID the object. I threw the pic into photoshop and applied a "curves" enchancement. There is a lot more data in there (the lights illuminate their surroundings), but the jpg compression kills the detail.
 
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  • #48
russ_watters said:
btw, glondor, if you could link the original pic, I might be able to positively ID the object. I threw the pic into photoshop and applied a "curves" enchancement. There is a lot more data in there (the lights illuminate their surroundings), but the jpg compression kills the detail.

Yeah, I was trying that too. But for some reason it never occurred to me that I might not be looking at the highest quality incarnation of the pic...
 
  • #49
russ_watters said:
Sorry I missed this before: Have a look at this pic, guys, and tell me what you think... (The blue "ghost" must have been between me and the porch column! :bugeye: )

Most cameras have a "night mode" where the shutter opens twice. Once wth the flash to record the near subject and once without it, longer, to record the background. I suspect the previous poster was using that mode.

Or the shutter simply stays open after the flash. This was common on film cameras, where the shutter speed is independent of the flash firing. I can't be postive that digital cameras have the same behaviour, but it's basically what you deascribed.
 
  • #50
DaveC426913 said:
Or the shutter simply stays open after the flash. This was common on film cameras, where the shutter speed is independent of the flash firing. I can't be postive that digital cameras have the same behaviour, but it's basically what you deascribed.
I've read the instructions on a couple and I'm reasonably certain the shutter opens twice. I think the reason is that the flash isn't adjustable, so even with the flash on, you still need to time the shutter speed appropriately.
 
  • #51
Hey Russ I would be glad to upload the pic. Are you talking about .raw format? I will see if the camera or the backups are larger files. I will do it when I get home next week. EDIT Did not realize I had the photo on my road computer. Here is the link. It is in my ghost file hahah

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v697/23224/our ghosts/
 
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