Andrew Alvarez

Author's details

Name: Andrew Alvarez
Date registered: October 20, 2014

Biography

Hello I'm Andrew Alvarez. I'm 34 years old. My interest in the paranormal started at about 8 years old after an experience that happened when my grandfather passed away. I'm a founder and director of the Paranormal Organization of South TX POST. We formed 7 years ago and have been serving the South Texas area since. I am an ordained Christian Minister and am studying demonology and theology. I also plan on learning the art of exorcism. I have a background in website administration, music performance and production (pre and post), web graphics, and some video production. I look forward to working with NPS in contributing my talents and learning from other's talents.

Latest posts

  1. Alter Pictures Without Software or Apps — September 24, 2016
  2. Perspective [per-spek-tiv]: Noun – A technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface — June 25, 2016
  3. DUST IS EVERYWHERE pt2 — February 28, 2016
  4. Shadow Manipulation — November 30, 2015
  5. Control photo — October 1, 2015

Author's posts listings

Sep 24

Alter Pictures Without Software or Apps

Alter Pictures Without Software or Apps.
By Andrew Alvarez

As part of the Photography Team for NPS, I look at data held within the file of the photo. We call this exhif data. It contains data such as time, date, how long the exposure was open, if the flash fired, iso settings etc. One key bit of information held in that data is the type of camera used. If no camera is listed, we can often times dismiss it as being altered or not an original file.

We review pictures, and I have personally aside from NPS, that have all the required exhif data in them, model of the camera included. There seems to be no reason this photo shouldn’t be considered an actual example of a paranormal occurrence. There are many things you can do to unknowingly alter your photo. Here are a few:

Movement: Movement does a few things and is probably the biggest culprit. A camera works by allowing light to enter a focal point and rendering it to an image either on film or digitally. The shutter is the device that allows the light in. For low light shots, it’s recommended to have a slower shutter speed and for bright light, a faster speed. The problem is today most cameras have an automatic mode and are usually set on them by default. In situations where the light detected by the sensors can either be low or high, the mechanism has a hard time deciding which way to go. This results in sometimes an even longer shutter time. While that shutter is open, unless the camera is on a tripod, we will likely move, as our bodies do naturally, and cause what’s called motion blur or light streaks in darker environments. For a quality shot to be achieved, the camera must remain perfectly still while the shutter is open.

When we breath, our bodies also move. And can create the same issues

When we move around, as in walking and sitting, we can also disturb dust or bugs which can cause the orb affect.

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Dirty Lens : Often time oil from our hands (especially after we eat pizza) or dirt gets on a lens and we may not even know it. If you are using a cell phone, it’s especially difficult as the lens is about the size of an erasure on a pensile. The oil can distort the light coming through the lens and alter the image. Dirt, or other contaminants, can have the same affect. There’s been videos on social media posted with this as an example to create a vignette effect. The photographer smears petroleum jelly on their lens to get that effect.
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Blocking the flash: Have you ever taken a picture and saw your finger in it? Well I think we all have. Unknowingly blocking the flash is just as easy. A flash is designed to wash or fill an area with light. Light travels in straight lines though. If part of the light source is blocked, the rest of the light from such a small light source, doesn’t have the chance to fill the area. Instead you are left with shadows or sometimes a person that looks like they may have an entity near them because they are darker than others around them.

These are just three things we come across as a photo analysis team. Learning what causes these and how to prevent them is an important step in our field. When we can eliminate the variables, our samples will be cleaner and scientifically more acceptable. What are some other things you can think of that can alter an image without apps or software?

Jun 25

Perspective [per-spek-tiv]: Noun – A technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface

By: Andrew Alvarez

Perspective [per-spek-tiv]: Noun – A technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.

Ever see one of those pictures where someone is holding up the Leaning Tower of Pizza or squishing the sun with their fingers. What you are seeing is a camera trick playing with perspectives. It’s the same reason we can cover the moon or sun with our hands. Obviously, each one of those objects is larger than our hand but we can block them out with such a small object.
Perspective also plays with shadows. Being in the paranormal field, a lot of our work is inherently done in darkness. We often get claims of shadows. A light source close to a small object can cast a large shadow. This is shown sometimes in a comedic manner in cartoons.

What does this mean to us? As paranormal investigators, we may from time to time also get shown pictures from people and asked to analyze those or get the “what do you see?” question asked of us. Part of the analysis we do should take perspective into account. If we get a claim of “See the figure in the door” yet the supposed figure is perhaps half the size of the door or larger, we know there’s most likely another issue such as pareidolia happening. The face in the mirror that covers the full dresser sized mirror is like caused by a combination of smudges and reflections. The large batman shaped shadow may be from your cat or kitten playing close to a light source.

Keep perspectives in mind when you’re analyzing photos and you’ll find more and more normal causes for the alleged paranormal.

Think, ask questions, analyze and re-create.

Andrew Alvarez's photo.

 

Feb 28

DUST IS EVERYWHERE pt2

DUST IS EVERYWHERE pt2

I was recently approached by a client stating that she kept getting orbs in videos of her child. She mentioned to me that it only happened when she was playing. I quickly searched YouTube using the search terms “Orbs Around Kids.” There were a few videos…quite a few…that matched that search criteria. The one that matched closely to what she was describing was titled “Ghost orbs flying around children”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HscRZuJWfnw

There are a few things going on in this video that could cause the appearance of orbs. One is the jumping around, in this case, on a bed. Similar to last week’s post “Dust Is Everywhere,” jumping on a surface that inherently collects dust will cause dust to fly. My first full time job was a door to door vacuum sales person for Kirby and one of our major selling points was the amount of dead skin (aka dust) we would pull out of a mattress.

Let’s take a look at something that may be not so obvious. It’s a hypothesis and hasn’t been proven but can likely happen. Dust is light weight. So much so that it sometimes appears to float in the sun light. If one of these children or even the person recording, disturbed some dust with the smallest bursts of air from clothing being moved, breath, or anything, it could be then caught by an ac vent or draft, that small speck of dust could potentially be moved from one side of the room to the other.

Let’s now look at the statement “That only happens when the child plays.” I asked this question right after and I’ll ask you the same as well, “How often do you record that spot when the children don’t play?”
Remember, Ask questions, think about the logical possibilities, ask more questions, make an assessment and test your assessment. Wash Rinse Repeat

Nov 30

Shadow Manipulation

w1The day gets late, the sun gets lower, the light gets dimmer. All of a sudden, that 5ft sapling tree is casting a 15 ft shadow. A big monster of a man’s shadow is being cast by an 6yr old little boy.

Shadow – A dark area or shape produced by an object between rays of light and a surface.

Basically, a shadow is created when a object is blocking rays of light. Shadows are created on objects as small as a face to objects as large as a moon during an eclipse.

Shadows can be manipulated by changing the light source. Anything from the position of the light source to the type of light can change a shadow. Some lights have softer washes which will reduce a shadow and blur the edges while others are sharper creating more distinct shadows. Moving the light source will also change the shape of the shadow. A higher altitude angle will produce a smaller one while a lower degre angle will stretch the shadow and produce a longer angle.

w2Included are two pictures that illustrate the effects of manipulating a light source to produce different effects with shadows. The image with the camels shows almost perfectly shaped camel. Look again, the angle of the picture is almost directly on top of the camels so you aren’t looking at the camels, but at their shadows. The second shows an artist’s efforts in adding different objects and changing the light source to produce an almost paridolic effect by creating a shadow in a familiar shape.

So, being a group of paranormal investigators and students, how does this affect us? Taking a client’s testimony into consideration when talking about shadows, we can use this information to determine if perhaps a child’s toy is casting a demonic looking shadow on a wall every time the light from a passing car enters through a window. When we check for shadows (the absence of light) find the light source that is causing the shadow.

Oct 01

Control photo

12036365_10153336513673962_1838278039367839102_nControl Photo: A photograph of a location or object taken under normal conditions without environmental or light contamination. Can be used to compare anomalous photos in less than sterile conditions.

Standard protocol for control photos can be to take 3 pictures of an object or location. These 3 photos can be used to compare each other. The first pictures ideally should be one taken during ideal photography conditions which include decent light, little or no wind (which can cause dust) etc. A good practice would is also to use a tripod for these pictures. Mark the location of the tripod with masking or gaffing tape to ensure a similar photo. You can get similar photos of the same locations at different times. If no tripod is available, still use the masking or gaffing tape to mark the location of the photo.

Once you have your set of photos you can use your control photos to compare to other pictures. The object is to find the difference or find similarities. Locations look different in light and dark. Shadows play a big role in how a photo turns out. Shadows are a major cause of pareidolia. Pareidolia is where your mind processes random shapes to make them appear like something they are not.

After finding the similarities and dismissing things that can be seen as different but aren’t in normal conditions. Look for differences. The illustrations shows how different two pictures can be when they look alike. It’s a simple “spot the differences” picture. It’s very similar but there are differences. This method is also used by NASA to find anomalies in space. Now your challenge is to find the differences in the two.
Photo courtesy of www.4yougratis.de

 

Jun 23

Light Painting – The Art of Long Exposure

Light painting is the art of using customizable shutter speeds to create masterpieces using light emitting objects such as flashlights, glow sticks, even cell phones, and a slow shutter speed. Objects can be illuminated, shapes and designs can be created and light can be shown towards the camera for more effects.

11059479_10153084147798962_5030557103739466996_oPainting with light and long camera exposure dates back to 1889, and was used in Frank Gilbreth’s work with his wife Lillian Moller Gilbreth in 1914, when they used small lights and the open shutter of a camera to track the motion of manufacturing and clerical workers. One method of light painting is for the artist / photographer to set their camera at a shutter speed of around 20 seconds with the timer set. For this method, a tripod is mandatory. They then walk to the focal point with a hand held light or glow stick. When the shutter opens, they spin the light around them to create balls of light.

So how does this tie to the paranormal? Many anomalous photos show the same effect as light painting. Instead of a light emitting object, we often look at a light reflecting object. Shutter speeds are generally slower than daytime photos but more along the lines of 1/15 or 1/30 of a second. Now these speeds may not seem long, but when you look at action photos using a speed of 1/500th of a second. 1/15 of a sec takes about as long as saying the word “one” when saying “One Mississippi” That leaves time for a light streak to appear from a reflective surface as it moves across the focal point of a camera. Generally, paranormal investigators hold their cameras and don’t use a tripod which allows more movement to make a more extreme effect.

The photos show examples of light painting and the possible effects in paranormal photography.

Jan 31

Leica II

leicaLeica II Manufacturer: Ernst Leitz Date: 1932-1948

The Leica II is a rangefinder camera introduced by Leica in 1932. They were the first Leica cameras with a built-in rangefinder. Several models were produced over the years, in parallel with the Leica III series from 1933.
The Leica II uses a coupled rangefinder distinct from the viewfinder. The viewfinder is set for a 50mm lens; use of shorter or longer lenses requires installing an alternate viewfinder on the accessory socket.
The II’s combination of rangefinder, interchangeable lenses, built in 50 finder, and shutter speeds from 1/20th to 1/500th made it Leica’s first real system camera.
Resolution – With an ASA 50 slide film the camera is capable of 16Mp depending on who you ask and how you scan the negative and how geeky you are.
The Leica II is well sealed from water. In 1994 in the glacier of Wielinger Kees in Upper Thuringia at 2,200 meters of altitude, the camera body and les survided the weather and pressure of the ice. Leitz’s archives indicate that the camera was sold on April 11th, 1932 to Mr. Jansen
Shutter speeds: 1/20th to 1/500th sec
Finishes – Chrome or Black
Iso Range – pretty much all of them
Current resale price for body only – £295-525
Availability- since 1932

Jan 31

Minolta 7000

miloMinolta 7000 – Date 1985

The Minolta Maxxum 7000 35mm SLR (often called the “Dynax” in some areas) camera was introduced in 1985 and was the first camera to feature both intergrated autofucus and motorised film advance, the standard configuration for later amateur and professional single lense reflex camera. This revolutionary camera redefined what an SLR was with the addition of computer chips in the camera body, senses and accessories. In addition to autofocus, the Maxxum had manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and program modes. Knobs and dials were replaced with pushbuttons and internal and external liquid crystal displays (LCD’s). Popular with many new buyers, the LCD displays were disliked by some photographers used to the older controls.
Lens Compatibility -Stainless-steel self-lubricating bayonet.
Works with all Minolta MAXXUM AF and Sony Alpha lenses.

Autofocus
TTL phase-detection with 8-bit digital on-board computer.
One central point.
Rated EV 2 to EV 19.
Focuses and locks in Single advance mode, continues to track moving objects in Continuous advance mode.

Finder
0.85x magnification with 50mm lens.
94% coverage.

Bright Acute-Matte screen.
Bottom data LCD is lit from ambient light above the MAXXUM 7000, or by amber LEDs when the light is dim.
To the left of the data LCD are four big LEDs: three LEDs ( > o < ) for focus, and one red flash bolt.

Light Meter
Center-weighted silicon photocell.
Second silicon photocell for TTL OTF flash meter.
Rated to read at a very wide LV —1 (LV negative one; 4 seconds at f/1.4 at ISO 100) to LV 20 (f/22 at 1/2,000 at ISO 100).
DX coded and sets manually from ISO 25 to ISO 6,400 (only to ISO 1,000 with TTL flash).
±4 stops compensation, set in half stops.

Exposure Modes
Program, Aperture-, Shutter-priority and Manual (P, A, S and M).
Program shifts itself when wider than 35mm or longer than 105mm.

Manually shiftable program.

Flash
Through-the-lens (TTL) off-the-film (OTF) real-time exposure control
Standard hot shoe (lacking in all newer MAXXUM and older Sony cameras).

Dedicated contacts.
The Minolta 4000 AF (large), 2800 AF (medium) and 1800 AF (small) were the usual flashes sold with the MAXXUM 7000.

Flash Sync
1/100.

Shutter
Vertical metal focal plane.
30 seconds to 1/2,000 and Bulb.
Maximum Bulb time: 9 hours with alkaline AA, 4 hours with alkaline AAA.
Sets in full stops in manual.
Sets steplessly and reads in half stops in auto modes.
10s self-timer.

Remote control
RC-1000 cord attaches to three pins hidden under a plastic cover on the front corner of the MAXXUM 7000 body.

Frame Rate
2 frames per second.

Power
As shipped, the MAXXUM 7000 uses 4-AAA cells in the standard BH-70S battery holder
The BH-70L battery holder takes 4-AA cells as shown here, making the camera bigger and heavier while increasing battery life.
The EP-70 external battery holder takes 4-AA cells and is used in cold weather so you can keep the batteries warm in your pocket.
The BH-70T takes a 6-volt lithium battery.
Maximum Bulb time: 9 hours with alkaline AA, 4 hours with alkaline AAA.

The manual claims that there is a lithium cell in the camera to retain frame count and ISO if you remove the main battery grip. If this cell is dead, you won’t see these displayed with the main batteries removed, and supposedly they’ll blink when the main battery is attached to let you know.

Jan 31

Polaroid Land 95

poloPolaroid Land 95 Manufacturer: Polaroid Date: 1948-1953

This is the first successful instant camera and the Great-Grand Daddy of all Polaroids. It featured a sturdy metal body as found in most 40’s 60’s roll fill model and unlink most plastic bodied future Polaroid cameras.
The film used was 40 series roll film that made 3 1/4 X 4 1/4 prints with 8 shots per roll. I have none to show as it was all discontinued by 1992.

1948-1950: “40” film, the original. Sepia tone and ISO 100.
1950-1959: “41” ISO 100, orthochromatic B&W. The film was prone to fading, so Polaroid kits came with a print coater to fix the print. It wasn’t until the 70’s when B&W could be used without a coater.
The basic concept is the same as all Polaroids–a picture is taken and the film squeezed through rollers that releases developing chemicals. In the last Polaroids it was all one unit and brought us the infamous waiting for a picture to appear from a white background. The earlier pack film cameras had the film/developer manually pulled out as a unit and peeled apart after developing. This was a few steps more complex, as the film came in a roll, the leader was manually cut, and after developing you opened a back door to peel it off the developer.

This was actually more complex than just loading roll film, and so the move to pack film–while affecting quality somewhat as the film was not longer held flat against a pressure plate–was still a good idea.

The lens is a 135mm F/11 3 element glass, with a four speed shutter (minimum of 1/8 and maximum of 1/60) and an M-sync flash connector. The shutter only has an I/B (Interval/Bulb) setting, but from what I can tell does vary with different exposure settings.
Lens: 135mm, f/11, 3-element glass.
Shutter: 4 speed everset rotary-leaf design; 1/8 – 1/60, plus Bulb.
Flash: M-sync via ASA-bayonet post connector.
Exposure set by Light Value scale. (“Polaroid numbers”)
Folding viewfinder, with simple “ball-and-mast” parallax compensation device.
Scale focus, with distance set by arcuate lever.
Has two tripod sockets and cable-release socket.

Jan 28

Box Tengor

Courtesy of:  http://camera-wiki.org

boxtengorCamera: Box Tengor
Manufacturer: Zeiss Ikon
Date : c1925-1956

Box cameras were dedicated tophotographic beginners. Some models of Goerz’s and later Zeiss Ikon’s Box-Tengor series were more sophisticated models of such beginners cameras, with simple distance and aperture preselection. Different Tengors were offered for the film formats 116, 120 and 129.

Specifications of type 54/2, later version:
Type:  Box camera
Manufacturer: Zeiss Ikon (product line taken over from Goerz)
Years of production: 1934-38
Film: 120 roll film
Lens: Goerz Frontar
Shutter: single speed
Aperture: switchable: 1:11, 1:16 or 1:22
Focusing: switchable: 1m, 3m+, 8m+
Viewfinder: two built-in brilliant finders, one for vertical, one for horizontal image format

Source:

http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Box_Tengor

Oct 21

Paranormal Organization of South Texas

seal Contact Name Paranormal Organization of South Texas – POST
Location Victoria, TX
Phone (361) 298-0671
Email email
Follow Us facebook
Specialty:
We use modern,state of the art, technology to examine all claims.  We specialize in ruling out all possible normal causes and or reasons to come up with an accurate and the best answer to your issue. This is done by examing photos, audio, video, and historical data.

 

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