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Ghost Running Around With A Flashlight? Help!  
User currently offlineLeviticus From New Zealand, joined Oct 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1752 times:

This is actually not about aviation but digital photography in general, anyway. I have a problem with a disturbing (but sometimes nice) "effect" that confuses me, and I would like to have some things sorted out. Basically it ruins night shots, it looks like a ghost have been running around in front of the camera with a flash light.
Now this might be something that probably everyone knows about except me, I have only been shooting digital for three months but have a couple of hundred regular SLR night shots behind be and this have never occurred before.

Now to the examples.

This picture is the first one I have seen the effect on, my girlfriend took it in Egypt, and neither she or me can explain what causes the light-lines in the picture (nope not a single airplane passing by). 3 second exposure and the camera was not moved.


And tonight I was out taking some "artsy" night pictures at my former high school and I got this, also here the camera was not moved during the 13 second exposure (ISO 50, on every). I find it very strange, like if an invisible man was runing around with some lights  Wow! (Well now I am silly).


On the other hand I took three other perfectly normal shots in the are just within minutes.


Can somebody explain what causes the effect ? Is it some kind of "bug" because I do not have a fancy DSLR  Big grin ? Or is it just something that I do wrong. Please share your opinion / experience on the subject, and maybe even some examples.

By the way, please do not complain about the quality of the picture I was just playing around  Laugh out loud


13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFotodj From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1721 times:

I think you are lost....
this forum is about aviation photography,
try to find some forums about ghost photography  Confused  Confused  Confused

Polishman in New York
User currently offlineArmitageShanks From Costa Rica, joined Dec 2003, 3927 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1691 times:

I don't know about this, but I can stand in from of the camera for 30 seconds with a flashlight at night and not even show up if I keep moving.

Are you SURE that's what's going on? If so, I have no clue, haha.

User currently offlineAvroArrow From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 1046 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1684 times:

Very strange looking indeed. What make and model digicam do you have? The light trails do seem to have some tie in with the light sources in the pics, but the pattern certainly is confusing.

Give me a mile of road and I can take you a mile. Give me a mile of runway and I can show you the world.
User currently offlineAndrewuber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1669 times:

Was your cell phone on "vibrate" and sitting next to your camera?  Big thumbs up

I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
User currently offlineLeviticus From New Zealand, joined Oct 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1659 times:

Fotodj, sometimes people ask questions about regular digital photography I was just looking for some help since people here usually have a high level of knowledge.

ArmitageShanks, I have no Idea what is going on but I suspect that these semi-good cameras are sensitive to something, maybe a special kind of light. I Do not know what.

AvroArrow, I have a Minolta Dimage Z1. My girlfriends picture is taken by (what I think is) a Fuji Finepix s5000. That is the strange thing, the connection to the light sources and that the trails also seem to have a "deep" in the picture, that is not 2 dimensional.

Andrewuber, Nope ! I was ten feet away and nobody else was close either  Laugh out loud

[Edited 2004-05-15 05:31:07]

User currently offlineFutterman From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1301 posts, RR: 40
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1638 times:

Perhaps fire-flys were doing their thing (seriously)? Really odd patterns, and they seem to start and stop in the middle of nowhere. I can't see how it would have anything to do with extra sensitivity towards a specific kind of light, unless you had a filter on...even then, it's a long shot.

What the FUTT?
User currently offlineLeviticus From New Zealand, joined Oct 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1593 times:

Mr Futt, I did not have any filters on and joke aside, do not know how it is at your place in the US but in Europe fire-flies are only "on fire" (what is it called ? Anyway when they are glowing) during August or late summer/early fall depending on the weather. And I took those pictures yesterday  Smile

User currently offlineMAS A330 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1565 times:

Your camera is busted.  Laugh out loud

User currently offlineJofa From Sweden, joined Apr 2002, 320 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1557 times:

I think you pushed the trigger before you thought you did, while still setting up the camera on your tripod.

User currently offlineLeviticus From New Zealand, joined Oct 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1538 times:

Jofa, because I did not want to risk what you just said, I used the self timer as I always do when shooting from a tripod  Smile

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21652 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1531 times:

Looks like insects flying through, reflecting the lamps...

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 1517 times:

Sounds like an episode of Scooby Doo if you ask me.

"I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"

User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2170 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1475 times:


I do photography for a living, and though that doesn't make me an expert I'll take my stab at it.

The 2nd picture is telling. The light string eminates from the lights on the poles and the window, and the trails all follow the same trajectory. You say the camera didn't move... I say it did. I have experimented and have a passion for night time photography with the shutter opened to create an artistic affect, and this seems to be that.

If the camera was moved, as in putting it on the tripod, with the shutter open... while the lights with their intensity would expose the film, the background would not as it is dimly lit and not bright enough to be exposed that quick at night. After the camera settles for a few seconds, the scenery exposes itself and a rather normal picture appears but with the burned in images of the light transitting the view. I have used this purposely on many many occassions for a desired affect.

In a dimly lit situation or dark, I can open the shutter via a cable release, walk to a point in front of the camera, stand still long enough to expose the film, walk to another point and linger long enough again, than walk back to the camera to shut the shutter. Any of my movements will be 'ghosted' away for lack of exposure, but the long standing movements will expose the film.

Hope that helps. I don't see the 2nd pix in particuliar as being anything but what I've described.

Here Here for Severe Clear!
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