Category Archive: Photography

Jan 31

What is a Full Spectrum Camera?

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

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What is a Full Spectrum Camera?

By: Sara Fawley

I have heard the term Full Spectrum Camera used many times as I am sure most of us have. I have some vague idea that it somehow captures from a light spectrum not visible to the human eye but that is as far as my limited knowledge goes. Due to this I thought I would do a little digging and see if I could explain it a little further for myself and anyone else who might be curious.

What I have found is this. A camera has a CCD sensor which in essence is it’s “eye”. This sensor controls how your camera “sees” the world around it. The sensor can only “see the visible light spectrum. Now there are other spectrums out there, the near infrared (IR) range and the UltraViolet (UV) range, that the human eye cannot see and that is also blocked out on your camera by an internal IR-cut filter in the camera’s lens. To make a camera “Full Spectrum” this filter is removed. Now the camera can not only “see” what the human eye sees but also the ranges beyond that. The theory is that these “invisible” ranges may be where spirits are “visible”.

What are the advantages to using a Full Spectrum Camera in the course of investigating?

The first advantage would seem to be that you do not need to use a flash in dark areas. While IR is invisible to the human eye it is very bright to the full spectrum camera.

The obvious advantage to no flash is that investigators are not constantly being blinded by the bright flash going off which can cut down on the tricks your eyes play on you in a changing light environment.

Another advantage is that environmental contamination “orbs” such as dust, lint, pollen and moisture are not going to be such an issue. These “orbs” are cause by the particulate being caught in the flash close to the lens. The only way this can happen with a Full Spectrum Camera is if the IR light source is to close to the lens. Keep the light source away from the lens…. problem solved.

Are there any disadvantages to a Full Spectrum Camera?

The major disadvantages that I found were that you cannot use them in the daytime or natural light because they cast a pink glow over the picture. The other thing I found is that you must have an IR light source and this can be a little costly.

So do Full Spectrum Cameras capture images of spirits?

We all know there is no conclusive proof of spirits or ghosts or anything else paranormal for that matter. To my knowledge to date there are no 100% proven photographs of spirits, full spectrum or otherwise but we keep pushing forward and trying to get that Holy Grail. If using everything technology has to offer us can get us there I say why not try.

http://seeksghosts.blogspot.com/…/full-spectrum-cameras.html

http://www.angelsghosts.com/full-spectrum-camera

http://ghostsnghouls.com/…/full-spectrum-camera-ghost-hunt…/

Oct 20

Space Orbs

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

Alternate Assistant Director - Div 5 at National Paranormal Society
Was born in Portland, OR in 1977. Moved to Laramie, Wyoming until six years old and then moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas until I got out of high school.Have been interested in the paranormal since I learned to use a card catalog. My first library book was about ghosts. Have always been drawn to the paranormal and occult.At about age 14, I decided to start putting what I had learned from witchcraft books to use in the paranormal. Started investigating graveyards and exploring abandoned buildings. As I met more people in the paranormal I started to learn about EVP and started getting into the tech modern investigators use.I have not investigated any of the more famous haunts unless you count Ft. Knox, ME or what was once known as The Poet’s Loft in Hot Springs, the latter used to be a hangout of mine.Currently I am an unemployed chef seeking employment due to binary pulmonary embolism I had about 6 months ago and doing landscaping work until then.

That’s about all I can think to say. Let me know if I need to include anything? Thank you.
Jamie Harris

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Space Orbs
By Jamie Harris

 

There seems to be a lot of controversy about UFOs shot by NASA cameras in space. Some are questionable.. Some not so much.

As some of you already may know, “orbs” caught on camera during a lot of investigations are caused mostly by particles in the air, environmental contamination, near the camera lense. These particles which are usually dust or moisture captured close to the lense are out of focus and can appear to be far away when they are not.

Some footage recently came to our attention during a NASA tether project where they released a satellite attached to a tether from a space shuttle. A lot of people speculate that there were UFOs captured during this. One even appears to go behind the tether.

As stated before particles near a camera lense being out of focus can appear to be further away from the camera when they actually are not. Just like with “ghost orbs” they can appear to pass through people or objects and appear and disappear as they move closer and further away from the lens.

What is seen in the footage and photos from NASA do not appear any differently from orbs captured in paranormal investigations. What is seen here seems to be the same situation. NASA’s explanation for the footage is small ice crystals near the camera. I have to agree but you can judge for yourself.

STS-75 Tether Incident On Sunday, February 25, 1996, the Space Shuttle Columbia deployed an experimental tether into orbit. The experiment was…
YOUTUBE.COM

Sep 24

Alter Pictures Without Software or Apps

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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.

——-

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.
——-

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?

Aug 05

SNAPCHAT FILTERS

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

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SNAPCHAT FILTERS
By: April Abercrombie

Lately people have been submitting photos (screenshots) containing weird faces from their Snapchat apps, which they are concerned may be paranormal in nature.

The Snapchat app has a facial recognition feature built into it that allows the app to map your face, creating a mask. This allows the user to add various silly faces and effects to their image. These masks are completely animated, and will move and react with your facial expressions. It is just for fun, but the technology really is quite remarkable.

How the filters work:

The facial recognition software uses your device’s camera to scan for your face, looking for contrast areas (areas that are lighter or darker in color tone), which tells it where to place a series of points. Once it places these points, it matches them up to its pre-programmed facial features, adjusting them where necessary to match your own unique facial features as closely as possible. It then creates a mask based on this data, which is fully animated and can move, and in some cases, emote with you.

It is not perfect. In all of that mapping and image comparing, it doesn’t always work as expected. You might get a mask that doesn’t fit quite right. Also, it can only find your face straight on front view. If you turn too far to the side or tilt the camera too far, it will lose sight of your face. Lighting is also a factor. Because it is looking for high contrast areas, if your image is too bright or too dark, it will have problems locating your face.

When the software loses track of your face, it tries to relocate it, and then redraws the mask. The problem is, it doesn’t always relocate your face. It can locate another object in view, and be tricked into thinking that is your face.

In other words, just like the human brain, it can experience cases of pareidolia. It may map a face on a ceiling, furniture, a light fixture, etc.

There are a series of different face masks you can choose, one in particular allows you to pick another person’s face out of your existing photos and it will place that face over your own. This can appear very creepy if it manages to map the face where you wouldn’t expect it.

I am including a sample screenshot taken from my phone where the face mask mapped onto a lamp behind me, when I panned the camera too far.

Could this Snapchat filter phenomena ever be considered paranormal?

The reality of it is, most likely not.

Firstly because there have never been any confirmed photos of ghosts. It may not even be possible to catch a ghost in a photo, even if they do exist.

Secondly, there are far too many variables involved with the facial recognition technology employed by Snapchat, not to mention all the variables that go into photography itself, to ever say for certain that your Snapchat filter has found a ghost.

So in closing… even with it being as creepy as it sometimes can be, weird snapchat filter images are completely normal and explainable.

No automatic alt text available.

Jun 25

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

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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.

 

Jun 01

WHY THERE ARE NO AUTHENTIC GHOST PHOTOS

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

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By: April Abercrombie

This question comes up quite often – Do we have any authentic photos of ghosts that we can show? The answer is unfortunately no.

For the following reasons, no matter what any expert has said, there are no authenticated ghost photos in existence:

FIRST – Ghosts are not proven to exist. It is impossible to say there is definitely a ghost in a photo if we are not even sure they exist. Until we have proven scientifically that ghosts exist, we can’t say there is one in a photo.

If we ever do get that scientific proof, it is ONLY then that we might be able to photograph a ghost, which would give us an authenticated ghost photo with which to compare.

SECOND – It is impossible to say for sure that a supposed photo of a ghost is genuine and unaltered. There are tell-tale signs of a fake, but if those signs are absent, we still can’t be sure. With the quality of the softwares and talented graphic artists we have today, there can be some really convincing fakes. If only they would use their powers for good! 🙂

THIRD – Even if there is a strange image in a photo that we can’t explain and we are sure the photo is not fake, we STILL cannot say it is anything paranormal. There are so many variables that go into still photography of which we have little control, such as light values, angles, motion, air particulates and other environmental factors, etc. Due to these variables, sometimes we will get weird images in photos – weird, but completely normal images. This is especially true of cell, computer and tablet cameras, which are even more notorious for creating weird images.

We hear it quite often – someone will say they had their photo authenticated by a photo expert.

Well…what does that really mean? – No expert of any kind can do this. No seasoned investigators and not even a professional photographer can do it.

What can they do then? – Experts do have knowledge of known factors that create certain anomalies in photos. They do have softwares to use that can scan a photo for irregularities and they can look at the EXIF info of the photo. All of these methods CAN give some clues as to the authenticity of a photo, but these methods are not fool proof by any means.

The most any expert can say is that a photo does not appear to have been manipulated. In that statement, there is quite a bit of wiggle room.

Any person that calls themselves an expert and then tells you your photo definitely has a ghost in it is not really an expert. Any person who has real, extensive knowledge of photography and photographic softwares would NEVER tell you this.

Apr 08

The Investigative Side of Taking Pictures

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins

The Investigative Side of Taking Pictures

We enjoy seeing our members share their pictures on the NPS page and ask for input from fellow members and the NPS Photography Team as to what may have been captured in their picture. However, the NPS Photography Team has started to notice that when we ask for additional information, the person who shared the picture may not always have it. In order to help educate our members on how to be prepared with this information we have decided to provide some steps to assist with taking your pictures. We hope this helps you when you are taking your pictures to maintain an objective viewpoint when it comes to debunking your pictures as you are taking them.

TAKE THREE! If you have followed the NPS page for a while now you know that we always recommend taking three pictures back to back. The reason we recommend this is so that you can compare the three side by side and determine if the anomaly in question appears in all three. It also allows you to rule out logical explanations such as if your finger was in the way of the flash and caused a black area; if there was a lot of environmental contamination in the area that caused dust orbs to appear; if there was a light reflected off of a reflective surface such as a window or mirror in the area; if your hair or the camera strap was in front of the lens; if there was someone else who walked into the frame unexpectedly; etc.

REVIEW COMPLETELY! Once you have taken all your pictures, upload them to your computer and take a detailed look at them. Some of us on the Photo Team use Photoshop to review pictures. This program allows us to lighten pictures that were taken in the dark to get a better look at the anomaly in question as well as at times convert a color picture to black and white to determine if the anomaly adjusts with the color change. While Photoshop can be an expensive program to use, you might look into other photo adjustment programs or see what’s available for free online. The important thing is to really question your picture and see what you find by adjusting these types of things prior to sharing with us on the page. Remember it IS a requirement of Rule 15 to include what YOU have to try and debunk your picture prior to sharing it with us.

WRITE DOWN DETAILS! Remember to write down the time and date of your picture – most digital cameras have this option on them. You will also want to include what the weather was like when you took the picture. If you forget this information, hop over to Weather Underground and type in the zip code for the area along with the date to obtain this information. When the Photo Team asks you for the zip (also another requirement of Rule 15) we are asking for it to check out the weather in the area to see if moisture, humidity, cold, rain, etc. could have played a factor in the anomaly presented. You can find Weather Underground via this link:https://www.wunderground.com/history/

KNOW YOUR CAMERA! Long time members know we frown upon the use of cell phone cameras for investigation purposes. Check out our department on the NPS website for more information behind this. If you are using a digital camera you should be able to properly adjust the settings on it for your environment (ISO, aperture, f-stop, etc.) so that you are using the appropriate settings for your location. If you are using the manual mode you can pull the EXIF data from the picture to see what the settings were for the picture. Be familiar with your camera so you can take the best possible pictures.

WHAT IS EXIF DATA? The reason we ask for the photo ORIGINAL to be emailed to us is so that we can view the EXIF data from the picture. This data tells us how the camera behaved when it snapped the picture and will give us clues into what the anomaly could be and why it happened.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S PARANORMAL? One of the other requirements of Rule 15 is telling us why you think your picture is paranormal. After you have reviewed your picture, done some research into the anomaly, and asked and answered all logical explanations, why is it you still think your picture is possibly paranormal? Tell us so we know how you are viewing your picture. Once we have reviewed the steps you took to debunk your picture we will have a better understanding of why you think it’s paranormal by providing this explanation.

Taking a look at the investigative side of taking pictures gives us an insight to why the NPS Photography Team as well as NPS members ask the questions they do of pictures. We are all looking for that Holy Grail of paranormal pictures that has yet to be captured – let’s be smart in our review of the potentials so that the one that does pass all scrutiny here will also pass all scrutiny in the scientific community.

You may always email your original pictures to the NPS Photography Team at any time for review. Our email address is npsphotosubmission@gmail.com

Weather Underground provides local & long range Weather Forecast, weather reports, maps & tropical weather conditions for locations worldwide.

Mar 30

LIGHT STREAKS

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

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NPS PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM ARTICLE
LIGHT STREAKS

By: April Abercrombie

The purpose of this demonstration is to show how you can get streaking in your photos, even if you are using your flash. You do not need a long exposure to have this happen.

The photos provided are a couple of shots I took with my iPhone 5s. I have included screen shots of the EXIF data from both photos. Notice how the exposure time is the same for both photos.

With the first photo, I held the phone as still as possible. In the photo with the streaks, I moved the phone slightly as I took the photo. It takes only a very light movement to cause streaking from any light sources in the distance.

If you are walking around outside at night snapping photos here and there, it is very easy to unintentionally have your camera in movement as you take a photo.

April Abercrombie's photo.
April Abercrombie's photo.

 

Feb 28

DUST IS EVERYWHERE pt2

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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

Feb 28

Photography Basics: Cell Phone Cameras vs. Digital Cameras

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins

Photography Basics – Cell Phone Cameras vs Digital Cameras
Everyone has a cell phone today and loves to use it for more than just talking on the phone, which is its main function. Folks love to take pictures with their phone and then think the device is the equivalent to a digital camera. Sorry to burst some bubbles, but that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Let’s take a look at what makes up a camera then see how cell phone cameras compare.

A digital camera has three parts basically – the body, the lens and the sensor. Let’s take a look at each of these individually.

* The body simply is the housing for the working parts. It can be large or small but ultimately the user will decide on the body based on comfort and being able to access the buttons and functions on the camera.

*The lens is the eye of camera and is the most important part of capturing your photos – zooming in or out for the right shot. There are prime lenses which don’t allow for zooming but will take sharper images and are usually more economical. The zoom lenses tend to be a little more of an investment since they allow you to zoom in on subjects for your picture. The zoom lenses are heavier and larger than the prime lenses. In addition to these there are other lenses for different pictures – wide-angle, standard, medium, telephoto and ultra-telephoto. Wide-angle lenses generally have a focal length up to 35mm and can capture more in the picture but it could cause some distortion in the picture. Standard lenses have a focal length of 35-50mm and are more likely to show things how we actually see it. Medium lenses have a focal length of 60-100 mm and are mostly used for portraits. Telephoto lenses are over 100mm and will zoom in pretty far but are more likely to produce motion blur and don’t perform as well in low light. Ultra-telephoto lenses are over 400 mm.

*The sensor is what catches the exposure to capture the picture. It is exposed to light coming through the lens then records that exposure which is then processed and saved. The sensor is what affects the quality of your pictures. This is where the megapixel size comes into play. The higher the megapixel, the more likely you are to see more noise in your pictures. You will always want to test out a camera first before just buying it based on the megapixel size.

You can see just from the above how a cell phone camera can drastically differ from a digital camera. But let’s break down the cell phone camera as well.

*Cell phone cameras don’t have a body as the camera function is contained in the same device as the parts that make the phone function.

*The lens on most cell phone cameras is between 20-40mm, a range smaller than the standard lens of a digital camera. This can cause distortion in pictures so it’s important to take pictures from an acceptable distance to try and balance this distortion. Obviously you wouldn’t be able to zoom in on anything because the lens is not the right size. You can always by a cell phone camera lens kit but while this boosts quality of the pictures taken, it can add minor artifacting, prevent light from reaching the phone which can affect the exposure, and you’d have to remember to carry this kit with you when you weren’t using the phone as a camera.

* The sensor in most cell phones is obviously tiny compared to a digital camera but it also is affected more by how much light it receives and this can have a definite impact on your pictures. More light, better pictures, less noise; less light, poorer quality pictures and more noise.

After looking at each piece individually, it’s obvious why as paranormal investigators we recommend using a digital camera over a cell phone camera. In order to accurately capture anything in a picture we need to use the best suited equipment and your cell phone just isn’t the best. Will it work in a pinch? Sure. Will you be able to have your picture stand passing the debunking test? Probably not because there are so many reasons it would fail. Next time you’re thinking about adding a new piece of equipment to your team’s collection, make sure and look at a good digital camera.

Jan 26

Dust Is Everywhere

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

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When people are asked why the orb in their photo is paranormal and not just a dust particle, many answer with “The house was clean. There was no dust.”

The problem with this explanation is that dust is everywhere. If there is an atmosphere, there is dust. It does not matter how clean an environment is, there are always airborne dust particles.

Some scientist and industrial companies spend thousands of dollars on air filtration systems to try and create a dust free environment. While they are able to remove a very high percentage of dust contamination with these systems, they still will not cannot guarantee that there is absolutely no dust particles in the air.

I recorded the video demonstration attached to this article with my iPhone 5s. Immediately prior to this recording, I had vacuumed my entire home. All I do here is pound the carpet, and many dust particles are seen flying around.

In a typical investigation situation, people are walking around the environment, which can stir up dust, even in a clean house.

Jan 22

Cell Phone Pictures – Paranormal Pariahs

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

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c1So, it’s 2016 and who does NOT have a cell phone with a camera? All 3 of you? That’s what I thought. Now, how many of you have used your cellphone camera when looking for paranormal activity? How many of you have caught something interesting whether on purpose or by accident? Is it paranormal? Sadly, not likely. I know; I know; I already spoiled your “Holy Grail” ghostly picture in the park in the motion blur article! I have to play Debbie Downer yet again…my sincerest apologies (sort of).

So what’s my problem this time? Well, let’s start with the differences in make-up of cell cameras versus digital cameras. Keep in mind though, that no type of camera has captured a verifiable full body apparition to this date, so don’t feel too badly.

CELL PHONE CAMERA VS DIGITAL:
c2Cell Phone Cameras:
– have a fixed focus lens, inhibiting your ability to control narrow or wide focus in order to take both close up and far pictures with intended clarity and control “fuzzy edges”; also impacts quality in low light settings, such as investigations
– have smaller sensors which hinders quality in low light settings; remember most investigations are conducted in low light settings
– have slow “rolling shutters” which are prone to anomalies due to the shutter being open too long, increasing likelihood of motion blur, and other odd effects on the picture not seen when shooting. You likely have noticed that there is a noticeable lapse between pushing “shoot” button and the actual “click” of the shutter closing. So frequently, your subject has moved during that time period. Rolling shutters act just as the name implies; the exposed area “rolls” from top to bottom, picture rows one at a time, rather than all at once as in digital cameras. [4]
– have LED flash that provides less light over longer period of time [2, 3]
– “use digital zoom to get closer to subjects, which often introduces image noise and visual artifacts into the photo and degrades image quality.” [2]
– have pre-focus abilities; however, are also sufficiently slow to cause you to miss your shot, or capture something that appears mysterious due to the subject having moved much closer or almost out of range [1]
Digital Cameras:
– have a wide variety of focus settings – what you are trying to capture should lead you to change settings. Autofocus, while less accurate, is also available
– have a significantly larger sensor and a variety of settings controlling the amount and length of light exposure to sensor – even when you need to avoid using a flash; again what you are shooting should lead you to adjust accordingly
– have a variety of shutter speeds which control when shutter closes; has a total shutter, meaning the entire sensor is exposed at the same instant [4]
– flash is immediate and quite bright; of short duration
– “include a true optical zoom lens that lets you get closer to your subject without lessening image quality.” [2]
– Briefly reviewing the vital points of the digital camera, as detailed in the motion blur article, ISO settings work with aperture and shutter speed to determine how much light is allowed in and for how long. Issues such as shaky hands or movement of either photographer or subject, slow shutter speed, or incorrect ISO settings for your environment can all cause motion blur.

SO WHAT’S MY POINT?
c3Glad you asked! Cell phone camera issues are generally associated with slow, rolling shutters, such as motion blur, distortions and image aliasing. The effects of a rolling shutter become especially apparent when either you or your subject are in motion. The image appears with significant distortions, the appearance of pieces being disjointed from the whole. Also odd blotches may be seen. A well-known example of image aliasing is that of a propeller which resembles a series of boomerangs falling from the sky near the airplane (screenshot attached to article). [4] One could easily mistake this for a UFO. This anomaly occurs because, as stated earlier, the rolling shutter exposes small rows of pixels at a time.

It is these anomalies that prompt those utilizing scientific method in investigating or in analyzing photographic evidence to dismiss pictures taken with cell phone cameras with little consideration. Cell phones also may interfere with other equipment, and are not permitted on site by many paranormal research teams. In short, cell phones are simply not reliable sources of potential evidence of the fringe sciences, despite their convenience.

Sources:
121Clicks.com [1]
ConsumerReports.org [2]
Wikipedia.com [3]
Diyphotography.net [4]

Jan 16

Motion Blur versus the Holy Grail

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Latest posts by Lisa Shaner-Hilty (see all)

1You snap a picture of a peaceful park, or if you are like me, a quaint old cemetery. You notice nothing when you are aiming your digital camera and taking the photo. Imagine your initial response when you look at your photos on the computer screen and see a translucent image in the background…did you capture the spirit from the past?

The simple answer is, not likely. If you are like most people, it is not likely that you pay much attention to the settings in your camera. Most of us are not quite sure what the symbols mean, let alone what function they serve, and after all, who needs instructions? Am I right?

In reality, however, those symbols and the functions their buttons serve make all the difference in the world – literally between this world and the next! OK, so I could not resist having a little fun with that one! One of the most common causes of these ghostly figures or oddly “dancing” lights we catch is motion blur. Motion blur is defined as the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects in a still image or a sequence of images such as a movie or animation. It results when the image being recorded changes during the recording of a single exposure, either due to rapid movement or long exposure. [5]

2But it really looks like a ghost…how can this be my error? Among we non-photographers, some will be unfamiliar with the terminology. For those of us who investigate and actively debunk our own potential evidence in that endless quest for the Holy Grail of paranormal research – the full body apparition – these terms have become second nature. They are inter-related and have dramatic effect on your shots.

TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW AND USE:
ISO – International Standards Organization: ISO involves the standards for many areas other than camera settings. For the purposes of this article, the ISO settings determine sensitivity to light. These settings can be changed before each photo you take in order to allow the perfect amount of light in for the shot you want. Since most investigating occurs in the dark, a higher ISO would be used, so that the shutter speed will increase. Shooting in daylight, a lower ISO may be more appropriate. [4]

APERTURE: aperture in any context simply means a hole. For our purposes, it is the opening in the lens through which light shines. Go ahead, look at your lens, you know you want to, and you can see it!
DEPTH OF FIELD: a narrow depth of field is ideal for taking a photo clearly focused on a small area; the rest of the photo will be fuzzy. This can be accomplished using a small aperture. A wider depth of field will leave your photo with the same crispness throughout. [4]

FOCUS: finally, a word we all know!! Or do we? Focus is controlling your depth of field by manipulating your aperture. Most of us probably use autofocus features on our digital camera. Easier is better, right? Not necessarily. Your detail will vary if you take pictures of things close and far, or in rapid succession. Taking pictures in rapid succession is common in investigating. Should you get your Holy Grail, you’d better have pictures from before and after for the debunk process!

3Many cameras use a ring around the lens to adjust focus for each shot. Some advanced cameras have continuous autofocus, which “tracks” your subject in motion, maintaining focus all along. These, however, are quite pricey. [4]
SHUTTER SPEED: this one can really be a trouble maker for avoiding those false alarm spirit photos we talked about. The definition is fairly simple; shutter speed is the time that the shutter is open, or how long your camera “sees” your subject. [6]

OK, great, now you know the big words. So what does this have to do with my spirit pic? Everything!
Remembering that all of our camera’s parts and settings work together to get that great shot, let’s look at what can go wrong and cause that “spirit” or those weird lights, and how to fix it.

OK, anyone willing to admit that their hands are not steady as steel holding a camera? Come on, be honest! No one can hold perfectly still with no hand shake for as long as they think, especially when they know they are anticipating pushing that button at just…the…right…second. Our whole body will tend to move ever so slightly as well. If that hand shakes ever so slightly, or you shift your balance…ugh, motion blur! Solution: try using a tri-pod if possible. [2]

We discussed the joys and sorrows of autofocus earlier. In some circumstances, it is fine. In taking multiple pictures with little “recovery” time, not so much. “A slight miscalculation in the focus can throw the subject completely out of (focus), or give you a portrait with a perfectly sharp earlobe and blurry eyes.” [2] Again, motion blur is quite likely.

Now to the likely culprit, shutter speed. Remember that shutter speed is related to ISO and aperture, as all work together I determining how much light gets in. Should your shutter speed be too slow, more light gets through for a longer period of time. So should a jogger accidentally enter the area where you are shooting your park/cemetery pictures – even if they notice this, turn and attempt to get out of the way, they show as your ghostly figure. Headlights or other lights will show as your dancing streaks of light. Sometimes we get motion blur even when we are aimed right where we want to shoot, but your subject moves. Perhaps you are trying to catch a child dancing, but your shutter speed is too slow. You may end up with a distorted image of the child or even a disturbing black mass due to movement combined with slow shutter speed.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that professional photographers master the use of motion blur to take some stunning shots quite purposefully for the sake of art. Conversely, we know all too well how easy and common fakery has become in the paranormal world. There are sadly those who would attempt to pass off a known case of motion blur as a spirit photo. This is why we who work so hard to push the fringe sciences forward are continuously honing out debunking skills and always, always look for the natural explanation first. Alas, no Holy Grail has been captured as of yet…

THE MORAL OF THE STORY?
Short and sweet, the moral of the story is that instructions are our friends – read them; be aware of your camera settings, your surroundings and who is in the area, and without fail, do your due diligence.

“Camera Shutter Speed” CambridgeinColor.com [1]
Digital-Photography-School.com [2]
121clicks.com [3]
Howstuffworks.com [4]
Wikipedia [5]
All-Things-Photography.com [6]

Dec 22

Photography and Human Vision: Not the most Perfect Combination.

15So many people believe that photographs capture things that they swear weren’t there when they took the picture. In some cases, such as infrared, thermal or wide spectrum photography, that could be true. But if you’re using any type of digital camera, this couldn’t be further from the truth. “Most current digital cameras have 5-20 megapixels, which is often cited as falling far short of our own visual system. This is based on the fact that at 20/20 vision, the human eye is able to resolve the equivalent of a 52 megapixel camera (assuming a 60° angle of view).”1

That statement assumes our eye processes everything we see equally, but it doesn’t. “Only our central vision is 20/20, so we never actually resolve that much detail in a single glance. Away from the center, our visual ability decreases dramatically, such that by just 20° off-center our eyes resolve only one-tenth as much detail. At the periphery, we only detect large-scale contrast and minimal color: “2

http://cdn.cambridgeincolour.com/…/…/camera-eye_detail1c.jpg
Qualitative representation of visual detail using a single glance of the eyes.
To illustrate this, look at the diagram below. You can see that at the very center of our vision there is only an approximately 2 degree field where our vision is the sharpest. Outside of that area the image we see begins to blur to a point where we’re only able to detect changes in movement and brightness. This explains why many of us claim to see something out of the “corner of our eye.” Also, don’t forget that we all have blind spots in our vision and “floaters” which we could construe as a dark shadow in our field of vision. (Read more about floaters here:http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/benign-eye-floaters).

http://vspblog.com/wp-conte…/uplo16ads/2013/…/visualfield1.gif 3

Let’s also assume that our eyes are perfect organs to interpret our surroundings. I’d wager that there isn’t one of you that has not been fooled by some optical illusion. So what do we say about a photograph, which is already less accurate that our own vision, that we believe shows something out of the ordinary. This is one of the reasons we investigate so deeply into photographic “evidence” of the paranormal. The photographic image and the human eye are imperfect tools and as such, need to have supporting investigation done to confirm or debunk any claims of capturing paranormal events.

1 Cicala, Roger, “The Camera Versus the Human Eye,” November 17, 2012, PetaPixel, http://petapixel.com/…/…/17/the-camera-versus-the-human-eye/
2 “Cameras vs. the Human Eye,” Cambridge in Color, 2015,http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/t…/cameras-vs-human-eye.htm
3 “Camera vs. the Human Eye,” David C, VSP Blog, June 28, 2013,http://vspblog.com/camera-vs-the-human-eye/

Dec 22

Lens Flare need not Scare!

Lillee Allee

Lillee Allee

Representative at National Paranormal Society
Lillee Allee has studied religion, spirituality and paranormal investigation for over 40 years. She is the widow of John D. Allee, an internationally known dark magician. She continues to consult in paranormal investigation. Her specialties include: Marian and cultural spiritual phenomena/apparitions, spiritual support to teams and clients who want spiritual counseling after investigation, evp work and old school audio, the accuracy and research of past life regression and seance, and spiritual protection. Lillee was also one of the first to incorporate trained canines into paranormal investigations. She hosts a radio program on the para-x.com network, Happy Mediums, with Debra Ann Freeman, who also consults with paranormal investigative teams in Southern New England. Lillee is a published author and journalist, and legal clergy with degrees in psychology and mass communication. Lillee walks on the middle path sees learning as a life-long endeavor and is looking to make a difference and contribution to this field before she too will be heard on someone’s EVP. Lillee is always available to educate and consult and continues to enjoy guesting on other’s radio and television programs.
Lillee Allee

Latest posts by Lillee Allee (see all)

7Professional photographers and videographers learn to avoid the traps of amateur shooting, such as lens flare. For paranormal photographers, lens flare can provide anomalies that not only can damage evidence but ruin a serious investigation. Why? The interpretation may adversely affect the reveal and final findings.

Lens flare happens when direct light hits a lens (known as non-image forming light enters though the lens and hits the camera’s sensors) and an array of anomalies is found on the product (be it from photography or film). In other words, a bright light source (the sun is a great example) shines into the camera lens and affects the picture presented. Lens flare can also cause glare or unwanted artifacts of light which can appear in a polygonal shape. The shape is dependent on the shape of the lens diaphragm.

There are two types of flare. The first is specular flare where you will see circular blobs (some call them orbs) or streaks of light in the photo. The second is veiling flare which reduces the contrast between the dark and the light. This affects shadows, sharpness and definition and can lead to mystery figures (One can use auto-level or auto-contrast functions in the Photoshop application for regular photos, but for paranormal investigators – beware! Do not manipulate your images and offer them as evidence.

It is important to note that lens flare never useful for paranormal investigators, but it can be and is used creatively by amateur and professional photographers.

How to AVOID lens flare:
1) Do not allow sunlight, streetlights or any other direct source of light to hit the front element of your lens. Remember flare is caused by light reflection internally through the elements of an optical lens.
2) Wide-angle lenses are more prone to flare than longer focal lengths
3) Flare can be reduced or eliminated using a lens hood or shade. Some lens will come with a hood. Check your instruction manual to see what works best with your lens. The hood works simply by casting a shadow over the front element of the lens. It also will protect your lens from chips and scratches.
4) When using a tri-pod, you can use your hand or cardboard for shade.
5) Prime lenses are more resistant to flares than zooms. With fewer elements there is a lesser chance of flare.

But wait … there is always more … to learn. Professional photographer Bob Shell emphasizes the use of a lens hood. He points out that flare is an optical phenomena that can turn a great surprise into a daunting disappointment. You may not know if you have a lens flare problem until the photo is processed or until you get the digital up on your monitor. Shell points to another problem: every lens surface where lens meets air will reflect a certain amount of light. While modern lenses have coating to reduce this reflection, flare is still a concern. For those with zoom lenses, check the lens specifications. The higher the numbers, the better chance of lens flare. Do not use filters, says Shell, as they often make the flare worse. His belief is that there is no excuse for a good lens hood — for protection and flare reduction.

When you are not paranormal investigating, experiment with you camera. Artistic photographers suggest these tips for ACHIEVING lens flare:
1) Look into the sun! Aim toward the light source, use the spot metering mode and appropriate exposure. Unless you want to achieve a silhouette pose, set your camera to manual and adjust the exposure. This can help you achieve mystical rays or beams for a pretty picture.
2) Flash it! Flashes provide needed light for a dark scene – through flash reflection you can get a soft feel to a photo and get a nice effect from the flash itself. Remember to aim a bit away from the subjects to the right, left or above.
3) Open up! Your aperture blades cause the shape of your flare. The better the flare, the more lush and smooth the product will be. Open it up all the way, and the blades allow all the light in.
4) Focus first! In trying to achieve lens flare, you need the right point of focus. Many professionals offer three choices:
a) Control it yourself and go manual.
b) The focal lock allows you to lock your focus without direct light, and then take the shot.
c) Narrow down your choices: a narrow aperture and this adds depth to your field.
5) Angle it! You want the light to pass across your photo to get a cool effect. Try one side, then the other. Experiment!

Sources:

cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/lens-flare.htm

dptips-central.com

Gibson, Andrew S. How to prevent lens flare. Retrieved from digital-photography-school.com/how-to-prevent-lens-flare/

jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/glossary

Lens flare – 30 day challenge. Retrieved December 16, 2015 fromexpertphotography.com/lens-flare-30-day-photography-challen…

pixalo.com/articles/ A-Z-glossary-of-photographic-terms.php

photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials

Shell, Bob. Lens flare: what is it and how do you prevent it? Retrieved December 15, 2015 from
http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=article_012703

Dec 22

“Demonic Orbs” and Other Fallacies and Facts

Lillee Allee

Lillee Allee

Representative at National Paranormal Society
Lillee Allee has studied religion, spirituality and paranormal investigation for over 40 years. She is the widow of John D. Allee, an internationally known dark magician. She continues to consult in paranormal investigation. Her specialties include: Marian and cultural spiritual phenomena/apparitions, spiritual support to teams and clients who want spiritual counseling after investigation, evp work and old school audio, the accuracy and research of past life regression and seance, and spiritual protection. Lillee was also one of the first to incorporate trained canines into paranormal investigations. She hosts a radio program on the para-x.com network, Happy Mediums, with Debra Ann Freeman, who also consults with paranormal investigative teams in Southern New England. Lillee is a published author and journalist, and legal clergy with degrees in psychology and mass communication. Lillee walks on the middle path sees learning as a life-long endeavor and is looking to make a difference and contribution to this field before she too will be heard on someone’s EVP. Lillee is always available to educate and consult and continues to enjoy guesting on other’s radio and television programs.
Lillee Allee

Latest posts by Lillee Allee (see all)

6When one popular paranormal show’s host described footage of an anomaly and declared it a “demonic orb,” it was time to admit the orb debate had sunk to a new low.

Most serious paranormal investigators react negatively to the “orbinators.” I use this term to describe those who are on the precarious far right of the orb debate. These are the people who will argue voraciously at the idea that an orb is anything but a spirit. Through paredolia, they insist that there are faces or figures in the orbs, as if each orb was a windowed Christmas ornament. Further, they connect the color of the orb with some spiritual meaning, the colors taken from magical practices or that of a chakra chart.

On the far left, we have those that insist that an orb is never anything paranormal, no matter what. They have debunked enough orbs that they are now convinced that even if the orb is waving at them with a connected EVP saying look at me, that this is not evidenceas if each orb was a windowed Christmas ornament. Further, they connect the color of the orb with some spiritual meaning, the colors taken from magical practices or that of a chakra chart.

The middle majority is where you find those committed to scientific investigation. These people understand the gravity of their work and significance of their evidence. They seek to eliminate all mundane probabilities, before moving into the area of paranormal possibilities. And yet, this is the group that often receives the most negative reactions from the blind believers. Why? It is much easier to believe (or want to believe) that this is Aunt Helen rather than dust contamination.

To start a discussion it is best to go to the beginning and look at the original or mundane definition: an orb is simply a sphere or a globe. The definition itself describes a three-dimensional body. From literary prose, orbs can be used as a verb that means to enclose, contain or encircle. The paranormal encyclopedia online offers this definition: “synonymous with sphere, when used in association with the paranormal, an orb is an anomalous globe-shaped spot, either white or colored, that shows up in photographs taken at allegedly haunted locations.” Yet just as we have a working definition, it seems that people other than myself.

The Paranormal Encyclopedia site offers these points to ponder:
1. “Ghosts” have been alleged seen in photos since the 1880s (birth of celluloid film)
2. Orbs were not a topic of discussion until built-in flash pocket cameras went on the market.
a) Orbs usually appear in the dark with flash digital still photography.
b) Orbs were first seen on video footage moving.
c) From the early nineties on, with new digital technology, orbs became popular.
d) All anomalous spots became labeled as orbs.
3) Ghost hunters of all abilities latched onto orbs and began claiming these were “proof” of spirits.
a) The Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society (GHRS), and other reputable paranormal organizations, stopped accepting them as proof of paranormal activity.
b) When an editor of the Paranormal Encyclopedia did the research for their article, it was found that every source of information from “orbinators” had an agenda to make money on their orbital insights be it a book, conference or video program.
4) Fuji Films in response to a question from Helena Cowell stated that floating dust may be the culprit in flash pictures, causing white spots due to reflection. Besides dust, this may also ring true with rain, snow, pollen, moisture or any particles floating in the air at the time of the shot.
a) Further, Fuji stated that the contaminant will appear big and light and out of focus and may form a shape that corresponds to the camera’s aperture (round)
b) Scott Denning, a paranormal investigator interviewed for their article questions how many control shots have been taken in areas with little contaminants or in places not without the haunted reputation.
d) The final answer from this piece may be that multiple shots must be taken, with and without flash.

Just when your amateur ghost hunter thinks they understand orbs and can debunk appropriately, the next problem occurs. People are offering their own form of cataloging orbs so that any chance of comparative or correlative studies is stopped before it can begin. At the popular Ghoststudy site, an article there suggests there are two classifications of orbs: busters and talents. Buster orbs are caused by the use of digital cameras with flash as noted above and are described as “false positives.” The sound advice offered is to document the weather and other conditions around at the time. However, this site believes talent orbs are real spiritual phenomena in a spherical or oblong shape. They do offer the caveat that a paranormal investigator will rarely witness such an orb a few times, and it may even be seen with the naked eye. To make it even more confusing, the article states that most talent orbs are human and might possibly also involve animals.

While the site, paranormal.lovetoknow.com, agrees that the debate is real, this site also points out that all information regarding the colors of orbs is theory and has no scientific basis. The site also points out that another problem is that if an image file is intentionally or unintentionally manipulated, orbs can occur due to distortion, pixilation or other problems.

Hazel Courteney, a writer with the Daily Mail, reports that Kalus Heinemann, a NASA researcher, studied pictures of spiritual healers with anomalies and at first thought it was contamination. Using scientific methods including microscopes, he failed to find a direct answer regarding causation. When even the camera itself checked out, he found himself asking people about these circles and spiritual healers said they could make them appear, especially at spiritual events. Heineman began to set up experiments, one involving two cameras taking the same picture at the same time, and he found orbs on only one photograph. He also estimated that orbs can move at around 500 miles per hour. Courteney reports that Heineman stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that the orbs may well be one of the most significant “outside of this reality” phenomena mankind has ever witnessed.” However, many of Heineman’s peers do not agree with this link to the spirit world. If you have been reading this article, it will not surprise you to note that this became a major topic for the world’s first orb convention, in 2007, in Sedona, Arizona. Thus with the help of a few scientists, a theology expert, and a group of healers, the “orbinators” became a part of the paranormal community.

Obviously, the rift began. Troy Taylor, author and president of the American Ghost Society, firmly states that orbs are not paranormal. While Troy Taylor calls the blind believers “orb-a-philes,” many of us have our own terms for the emotional outbursts from this group. Taylor offers a great list of tips to debunk orbs:

1) Rule out all possible explanations. Clean your lens regularly and more often if the environment warrants it. Keep all lenses free of dirt, water, smudges and fingertips.
2) Dust is the biggest problem – and this includes dead skin cells to pet dander.
3) Insects are drawn to light and may be filmed. The in-flight bug may cause an orb to appear to have a trail or tail.
4) Moisture can appear and does, whether it is raining or not. Water can be a variety of shapes and colors.
5) Light can cause orbs whether due to a flashlight or flash of another investigator, light can cause the lens of the camera to react and so many of these problems will be user-related. According to Taylor, there is a term from the science of physics, called back-scattering, that explains the phenomena of orbs in photos. This diffuse reflection of waves, particles and signals sends these back to the direction they came from. In physics, the phenomenon that creates orbs in photography is actually referred to as back-scattering. Back-scattering is a diffuse reflection of waves, particles, or signals traveling back to the direction it came from. And this can occur and does occur with all mentioned above, and more!
6. Patterns in orbs can be caused by pareidolia. This is a when the brain processes what it sees into a familiar pattern: a face, skull, flower or figure.
7. Always document the conditions that you are investigating in – weather, light, temperature, and bugs.

In conclusion, while the debate will continue, there is no hard evidence that orbs do exist and many professionals no longer will examine orb photographs. Those who are sure they can discern a “real” orb from a fake orb, no matter what you choose to call them, is at best difficult, because there is no hard evidence or photographs confirmed to be “real” orbs. While the scientist may think he is onto something, and he may be, there are orbs reported in every-day photos every day and these are posted on many paranormal websites. The majority is from people as confused and as the paranormal investigators try to discuss the mundane effects, it begins to move into belief defense and then pointless argument. Will this end in the near future? Orb-so-lutely not!

Sources:
Courteney, Hazel. July 20, 2007. Is this proof that spirits DO exist? Retrieved from dailymail.co.uk/…/article-46…/Is-proof-spirits-DO-exist.html

ghoststudy.com/new12/what_are_orbs.htm
hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Tips-on-Debunking-Orbs
paranormal.about.com/od/ghostphotos/a/aa102207.htm
paranormal-encyclopedia.com/o/orbs/
paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Ghost_Orbs_Different_Colors
prairieghosts.com/trouble.html

Nov 30

Shadow Manipulation

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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.

Nov 23

Dirty Camera

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

d1First, as always, let me start by saying that I do not recommend still photography for paranormal investigations. Still photos will almost never stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Having said that, if you want to use your still camera for investigating, ALWAYS make sure your camera is clean inside and out first before your investigation begins.

We see many photos presented as evidence that are really the result of a dirty camera, either a dirty lens, or dirt on the camera’s sensor.

If you notice a dark, shadowy spot or black spec that is in many photos, that does not change position from photo to photo, it has to be something from your camera.

Notice the photos attached. The photo showing a piece of paper is an example of dirt on the lens, and the other photo of the sky is an example of dirt on the sensor. The dirty sensor photo is an extreme example, and you will probably never have your sensor this dirty, but a few specs are not uncommon.

d2Make it a habit to clean your lens every time you take it out, even if you just cleaned it the last time you had it out. Dirt, dust and finger prints accumulate rapidly. Dirt and dust can accumulate on your lens even from inside your case. Any where there is atmosphere, there is dust.

Check you camera’s sensor for dirt regularly by taking test photos against a plain background, such as a clear sky, a plain piece of paper, etc. Make sure you clean your lens first to ensure that any dirt spots are on sensor, not on the lens.

If you find that you do have a dirty sensor, be very careful in how you go about cleaning it. Check your camera’s manual and follow the directions CAREFULLY. Do not ever spray anything or stick anything, such as a cloth or q-tip, into your camera unless you are instructed to do so by the owner’s manual. Some cameras have onboard automatic sensor cleaning, but they aren’t perfect. If you are not comfortable cleaning your camera’s sensor yourself, you can have it professionally cleaned at most camera stores.

* Dirty camera sensor photo courtesy from vogeltalksrving.com

Nov 23

Full Spectrum Photography

Al Schmidt

Al Schmidt

Hi, I'm Allan (Al) Schmidt. I'm 52 living in Colorado. I've been married for 27 years. I Retired form the Air Force in 2001 and have been working for the Government in Boulder ever since. I have many hobbies, mostly outdoor, hiking, camping hunting, fishing etc. The main thing that ties them all together is Photography. I've been into the paranormal basically all my life, as my late father was into basically everything paranormal, although he didn't really refer to it as paranormal. Bigfoot, Nessi, UFO's, Little People. He had books on all subjects which I read with a passion. I have been investigating for over 10 years now regularly, and have been all over the country doing so. Locally, have investigated many locations, both with others teams and as I like to do most of the time, by myself or with my wife. I'm very logical in my undertakings, and very skeptical by nature. If I have exhausted all resources and ideas as to how to debunk something, only then will I call it interesting and possibly paranormal. I have not really had any wow moments to speak of, but have had some interesting things happen, enough so to make me more curious.
Al Schmidt

Latest posts by Al Schmidt (see all)

Camera-FSCAM-Slvr-FullSpectrum-5The current craze in paranormal photography and video is Full Spectrum. But, what exactly is it, and why is the theory that it will work in the field to capture spirits in action.

What is Full Spectrum? It is basically the ability to capture visible and near infrared light, commonly referred to as the VNIR. Modified digital cameras can detect some UV, all of the visible and much of the near infrared spectrum, as most digital imaging sensors are sensitive from about 350 nm to 1000 nm. An off-the-shelf digital camera contains an infrared hot mirror filter that blocks most of the infrared and a bit of the ultraviolet that would otherwise be detected by the sensor, narrowing the accepted range from about 400 nm to 700 nm. Replacing a hot mirror or infrared blocking filter with an infrared pass or a wide spectrally transmitting filter allows the camera to detect the wider spectrum light at greater sensitivity. Without the hot-mirror, the red, green and blue (or cyan, yellow and magenta) elements of the color filter array placed over the sensor elements pass varying amounts of ultraviolet and infrared which may be recorded in any of the red, green or blue channels depending on the particular sensor in use and on the dyes used in the Bayer filter. A converted full-spectrum camera can be used for UV or IR with the appropriate filters.

Use within the paranormal world usually means converting a digital camera to Full Spectrum, A converted digital camera usually requires that the infrared hot mirror be removed and replaced by a wideband, spectrally flat glass of the same optical path length. Typical glass types used include Schott WG-280 and BK-7, which transmit as much as 90% from around 300 nm to past 1000 nm. Removing the hot mirror is tedious and may require special tools and clean rooms.

There are issues with this type of photography, one being with Full-spectrum photography in either film or digital photography is the chromatic aberration, produced by the wideband information. That is, different spectra, including the ultraviolet and infrared, will focus at different focal points, yielding blurry images and color edge effects, depending on the focal length used. There are specialized lenses such as the Nikon 105mm f4.5 UV-Nikkor which are designed to eliminate this chromatic aberration.

Although Full Spectrum Photography has been around since the 50’s for geological and Military functions, it hos only recently been used for “Ghost Hunting”. The theory is that perhaps spirits can be detected in this light spectrum, and therefore photographed. Until now, there has not been scientific proof that this is the case, and with as many Full Spectrum Cameras, both still and video now being used, one would think that if this technology worked in the field, we would have a plethora of evidence to back the theory up.

Perhaps there still is a wavelength that spirits can be detected in that we simply have as yet been unable to determine, so we must keep trying different techniques and theories to try and find that holy grail.

Oct 24

How To Keep The Pareidolia Under Control

How To Keep The Pareidolia Under Control
by Jim Brown for NPS


Previous articles I have written have covered equipment quality and how we are all influenced by pareidolia. It was shown that most “evidence” can be dismissed due to pareidolia, and that we all fall victim to this phenomena. This article will address a couple methods we can use to help reduce the influence of pareidolia on our audio recordings.

There are two major factors that come into play when we do EVP / AVP work. The first are our preconceptions. We enter an area and begin asking questions. Unwittingly we have already set ourselves up for pareidolia. We expect an answer! Our minds are keyed up for a response to our questions. And often we begin by asking something like ,”Is anyone here?”

How stupid is that! We expect a “Yes” answer, otherwise why would we even be here in the first place? We have already conditioned ourselves for an expected response before it even comes. Not only that, the expected response is actually favored by the conditions at hand! Consider the fallacy of even asking a “Yes-No” question.

Let’s look at the word “Yes” itself. It is comprised of three phonemes; A minor (not emphasized) “y” sound at the beginning, the major “eh” phoneme at the center, followed by an “ss” sound at the end of the word. Provide those phonemes and pareidolia will allow almost everyone to hear the word “Yes” regardless of whether the phonemes are real or just approximations of the word. Now where might these sounds originate?

All recordings have a certain level of electron hiss present. That sound mimics the “SS” sound in speech. It is available to add its influence at all times. Next the minor “y” sound. That is not a strong phoneme and in fact may not even be present, yet if conditions are right, pareidolia will supply it to the interpretation. So really all we need is a trigger; something like the “eh” sound. It turn out that this one of the most common sounds in speech, and also is very similar to many background sounds we encounter. So we ask the question and something makes a sound similar to the “eh” sound. Our mind picks up on that and immediately also notices the faint electron noise hiss in the background. Now we hear “ehss”! The “y” sound is not really there, but it doesn’t take much for the pareidolia effect to add it in. And of course, we are already conditioned to expect a positive response. So now we have the answer to our question, “Is anyone here?” “y+eh+ss” or YES!

What about “No”? “NO” involves two phonemes, however both are much less likely to be generated than those in the word “Yes”. First, both are major, that is strong. They are also of longer duration. Thus the probability of spurious generation is reduced meaning the probability of pareidolia generating the word “NO” is greatly reduced. This can be proven if one simply looks at responses claimed to be EVP by those who have done sessions. You will find that “YES” responses outnumber “NO” responses claimed by about four to one. Between the preconception of expecting a “Yes” response and the characteristic of the word itself it can be shown that pareidolia is responsible for most of these claims.

What can we do to minimize this effect? The best method is to ask questions requiring a more in depth response. As the number of phonemes increases the probability of pareidolia decreases simply because the response becomes more complex. One or two phonemes may accidentally fall together to form a word, but putting 8 or 10 together at random is much less probable, unless of course speech is actually present. So ask questions requiring opinion or observation, not single word responses. Responses will come much less frequently, but it is no coincidence that pareidolia also decreases.

The second way we can identify pareidolia is by a more careful review of any recording we may obtain. Earlier I mentioned how pareidolia builds words from phonemes. We can be more diligent about those phonemes. Let’s reconsider the word “Yes”, and its three phonemes. Listen critically, are ALL those phonemes really there? Make an effort to hear each including the minor “y” sound. Does the “S” sound end abruptly as a word or does it just fade into the background like electron hiss? Often a critical analysis of the word reveals it is not as it first seems. Pareidolia has struck again! And if we can identify it as such we will obtain much more reliable evidence and less easily debunked wishful thinking.

Oct 01

Control photo

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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

 

Sep 17

Digital Photos and Zooming In

Al Schmidt

Al Schmidt

Hi, I'm Allan (Al) Schmidt. I'm 52 living in Colorado. I've been married for 27 years. I Retired form the Air Force in 2001 and have been working for the Government in Boulder ever since. I have many hobbies, mostly outdoor, hiking, camping hunting, fishing etc. The main thing that ties them all together is Photography. I've been into the paranormal basically all my life, as my late father was into basically everything paranormal, although he didn't really refer to it as paranormal. Bigfoot, Nessi, UFO's, Little People. He had books on all subjects which I read with a passion. I have been investigating for over 10 years now regularly, and have been all over the country doing so. Locally, have investigated many locations, both with others teams and as I like to do most of the time, by myself or with my wife. I'm very logical in my undertakings, and very skeptical by nature. If I have exhausted all resources and ideas as to how to debunk something, only then will I call it interesting and possibly paranormal. I have not really had any wow moments to speak of, but have had some interesting things happen, enough so to make me more curious.
Al Schmidt

Latest posts by Al Schmidt (see all)

Universal-8x-Zoom-Mobile-Phone-Telescope-Clip-Cell-Phone-Lens-for-Sony-Xperia-V-LT25iSo many people now are taking photos, and thinking they are seeing something paranormal. Many are close up and are a bit easier to analyze, depending on the type of camera used. There are many others that claim to see something, off in the distance, usually outside. This creates a major issues to anyone trying to analyze the photo, especially if the quality of the camera, and the photo itself leads to the need to zoom in on the particular object.
With high quality DSLR’s, output resolution, and the number of megapixels makes zooming in much easier than those of a cell phone or point and shoot camera. Although today’s cell phones are better than ever, the quality of the photos produced from the later do not make it feasible to zoom in to any great detail, because the detail of the original is quite lacking due to the output resolution and megapixels involved. The issues are then made even worse under low light conditions.

On a low quality photo, as we zoom in, the number of pixels per inch becomes the main problem, as the object you may want to get a closer look at becomes only a few pixels in size, thereby losing all definition, and any further analysis becomes impossible.

This is one of the main reasons I do not recommend using cell phone photos to try to determine if someone has captured anything paranormal, the quality of the photo is just not sufficient to make positive ID’s.
And excellent article has been written comparing several different cameras and cell phones that make the point stand out even more. I would suggest this as a fine read to help investigators make determinations as to the age old question about paranormal photography and its usefulness in the field.

Source:

http://connect.dpreview.com/post/5533410947/smartphones-versus-dslr-versus-film

Sep 05

Digital Camera File Formats

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

11947485_10101450412947865_238763632262395855_nFile formats are simply the ways a digital camera stores information captured by a photo sensor. Digital cameras utilize sensors to store information on wavelengths of light that reach the sensor. Two primary formats used by digital cameras are JPEG and RAW.

JPEG is a compressed format (technically a compression more than a format). This means that it removes redundant data to make a file size smaller. The image is reconstructed when it is opened. The quality depends on the amount of compression. In a JPEG file, “areas of the same color will compress much better (and with equal quality) compared to another scene with lots of small detail” (Sheppard, 44).

RAW is “a file of unconstructed image data with minimal processing, and must be put into a special image converter to put it together as a photo” (Sheppard, 43).

Shooting in RAW and JPEG both have advantages.

JPEG Reasons:
1) Smaller file size allows you to take more pictures and store more pictures with few drives/cards.
2) “Camera manufacturers worked hard to create internal processing of JPEG files so it looks good” (Sheppard, 45).
3) 8-bit JPEG (common) allow for 256 tones in each color channel
4) Automatic processing of each picture after you shoot

RAW Reasons
1) Minimal processing of picture (is your ghost an artifact of compression and color guessing?)
2) More possibilities for adjusting picture
3) Easier to fix over-exposure & white balance issues
4) 12-bit 4000 tones per color channel 16-bit files allow for 65,000 tones per color channel
5) RAW gives more details for very dark and very light areas (since there is less compression / pixel approximation)

Ultimately, the choice for formats will be left up to the teams based on needs, economics, and personal preferences.

Works Cited

Sheppard, R. (2008). Kodak guide to digital photography. New York: Lark Books.

Aug 24

Cell Phone Cameras and Photography

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins

phModern technology has incorporated a lot of conveniences for us now that we are an “on-the-go” society who always has a cell phone in our hands no matter where we go. As a result, someone thought it would be great to add a camera to our cell phone devices so that we would never really need a camera. However, from a photographer’s point of view this was a huge mistake. It is also why we never ever recommend using a cell phone camera for paranormal investigations. To understand this better, let’s take a look at what really makes a camera.

Optical Zoom
Optical zoom allows you to literally zoom in or out on a subject allowing you to get a truly closer view of the subject before snapping your picture. This is something cell phone cameras just cannot do with a fixed lens outside of the device. Sure you can put your fingers on the screen and “zoom” in for your picture but what you are actually doing is utilizing software built into the cell phone to enlarge the area, not zoom in on it. As a result we get blurry pictures and a lot of pixilation. And we all know what pixilation leads to – pareidolia.

Sensor
Some folks like to think that the megapixel size of a camera is what matters to take good quality pictures. Wrong! It’s the camera image sensor that determines this. It is the size of the sensor that determines how much light it uses to create an image. These sensors consist of millions of light-sensitive spots called photosites that are used to record information about what is seen through the lens. A larger sensor can gain more information than a smaller one. Of course a camera will have a much larger sensor than your cell phone camera just given the size of the device.

Interchangeable Lens
Let’s face it folks, your cell phone camera only has one, small, flat lens from which to take pictures whereas your cameras have several lenses available to take better pictures. Any app downloaded to your phone is just more software added to your device that is still utilizing the same small lens but manipulating the image instead of actually capturing it which affects the picture quality.

Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the time the camera’s shutter is open for to capture an image. Fast action pictures or motion pictures require a fast shutter speed and you’re just not going to get that with a cell phone device. If you’re looking to capture a spirit or apparition that appears then disappears quickly, it’s not going to happen with a cell phone camera because the shutter speed just simply is not fast enough. That’s not to say you’re going to automatically catch something with a fast speed camera but chances are your pictures won’t be blurry or pixelated, they will be clear and concise of the area you are photographing. The cell phone camera’s shutter speed is just too slow and will cause blurry pictures and a lot of motion blur as a result.

Shooting Modes and Manual Adjustments
You just can’t control a cell phone camera the way you can a real camera when it comes to taking great quality pictures. Cameras have the additional features built into them that allow you control white balance, autofocus, light, etc.

As you can see, there are some pretty major differences in your cameras versus your cell phone camera. At the end of the day, put away your cell phone and pick up your digital camera for picture taking on paranormal investigations. The quality of a cell phone picture is just not acceptable to be considered as any type of paranormal evidence.

Please visit the NPS Photography Department online for more articles regarding photography to further educate yourself on tips, techniques and information.

Aug 07

Signs & Symptoms of a Hacked Smartphone

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

Latest posts by Sara Fawley (see all)

by Tommy Doc, Demand Media

Smartphones contain personal information useful to hackers and identity thieves.

Smartphones contain personal information useful to hackers and identity thieves.

Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

iPhone users have reported strange SMS text messages received as an initial attempt to hack a smartphone. Texts that appear as a single square or other strange characters are attempts by hackers to download spyware or malware onto your device. These attacks are similar to malicious email viruses, however on a mobile device the SMS only has to be received by the smartphone, with no download action taken by the user. If a hacker accesses a device of a friend who has you in their address book, it can be easily passed along to your number. Check with your contacts to see if they have experienced similar texts, and notify them of a potential hack.

Unauthorized Use

A hacker who gains control of your mobile device will be able to send texts, make calls, or access the internet. This will alter your call history, sent text messages, or other functions unbeknownst to the user. Monitor your call, text, and camera function history, and if you notice anything you did not perform yourself, then your phone is remotely under the control of another user. Experienced hackers will cover their tracks, so if you suspect a hack check your phone records with your service provider to detect any unauthorized use.

If you are experiencing ticking or other noises during your phone calls that are normally not an issue, it could be a sign someone is attempting to access your phone. Abruptly dropped calls could be a problem with your service provider, or a failed hacking attempt. If your service provider cannot provide an explanation as to why these events are happening all of the sudden, a hacking attempt can be considered as the culprit.

Diagnostic Test

If you suspect malicious software may be installed on your smart phone, take it into a retail location of your service provider for a diagnostic test. They should be able to detect and eliminate any intrusive software installed on the phone, or in the worst case scenario, restore it to factory settings.

(Reference: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/signs-symptoms-hacked-smartphone-33083.html)

Aug 07

Cell Phone Hacking: More Serious Than You Think!

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

Latest posts by Sara Fawley (see all)

Cell Phone Hacking: More Serious Than You Think!

Cell Phone Hacking More Serious Than You Think!

Please share this with your friends…
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504

So what is cell phone hacking ?

Kathleen* had just hung up from an important and private phone call with a family member. As a family oriented person, keeping up with family and close relatives was important to her. She had asked them to do find out some information for her and, also, to secure some items that she needed, but didn’t want anyone to know about as it was a personal matter.

About a day afterward, Kathleen noticed that some acquaintances (not friends) mentioned items and bits of information from her phone call almost word for word. What made it startling was that this had happened on other occasions, but she just chalked it all up to coincidence. Later on, she found out that all her cell phone calls and text messages were not only being hacked, but leaked out to people she knew.

Someone in her circle of acquaintances had accessed her calls and texts and related bits of her private business to friends and foes alike: and it had been going on for longer than she realized, Kathleen had been a victim of cell phone hacking, her online safety was compromised.

Is Cell Phone Hacking Really Serious?

The CBS News item of July 16th 2013 relates that a cyber-company named iSEC partners demonstrated how texts, cell phone calls and other information was fully disclosed on the Verizon smartphone through the use of a device called femtocell which can be bought for under $300.

The purpose of femtocell, a wireless network extender, is to allow people to improve poor cell phone service. It is self-sufficient because it works like mini-cell phone tower. Employees of iSEC were able to hack into the device and discovered that it could pick up the signal from phones in a 40-foot radius and read all messages transmitted – such as passwords typed online during banking or sensitive corporate emails.

Although Verizon was able to fix the problem, Tom Eston, the Manager of Profiling and Penetration at information security company SecureState, said this type of hacking was only the beginning. He went on to explain that vulnerability was not only among other Verizon devices but other carriers were liable for the same attacks because it was an element very difficult to control.

Mr. Easton explain further that in the past, makeshift towers were made in attempts to capture signals and hack into phones, but the process was more expensive than the trouble it was worth. “The only people who could really do it is state-sponsored governments,” he said. “It’s really become much more practical and easier to do now that we have this new technology.”

The effects of hacking are far reaching and Eston proves this by mentioning that it was definitely possible that spies with femtocell to sit next to CEO of a prominent companies and capture his or her calls, texts and data, or a criminals walking on packed sidewalks could and pick up data from hundreds of unmindful smartphone users.

Mr. Eston also mentions that ‘government hacking’ using femtocell was not necessarily a need because of the trove of data they had with the NSA. With technology so prevalent among common U.S. citizens it is reasonable to suppose that the government would have the most sophisticated ‘tracking’ technology around. The police department alone can track and listen to phone calls to deter terrorist action; so imagine what the government can access.

How Criminals embark on Cell Phone Hacking ?

Not many people realize just how open and vulnerable to hacking their cell phones are. Using a mini cell phone towers are not the only form of hacking criminals use. As simple as dialing your cell phone number and using a device to search through your phone data is a way of hacking to your cell phone.

The same security taken with a computer, laptop should also be taken with your cell phones. You have to be careful what you say, or you’re your messages contain because there is a good chance that it can be intercepted. Technology is so advanced that persons can listen to your calls, read your emails and text messages, access your photos, store and pass on your information to outside sources – and it doesn’t stop there once they get into your phone they can get access to password for all your personal accounts.

Hacking can happen wherever you go. If you were to travel to another country and your phone is able to function than keep in mind that hackers are functioning as well. Information sent to your phone from your country of origin is easily transmitted to your phone and also open to hackers!

The problem is this; hacking is not reserved to criminal experts alone, hacking instructions can easily be found on the internet for anyone to download. During this year over a billion cell phones were hacked because of lack of a secure password or no password at all. Many people are not even knowledgeable to the fact that security software can be installed on their phone to protect it.

Three common methods of cell phone hacking are:

  • Cell phone hacking devices for when your phone is off.
  • Mini cell phone towers where outsiders can read off cell phone data.
  • Hacking into phones and rerouting the info to an outside source.

Hacking through Bluetooth means that, even though your phone is off, persons can still access your info without your even being aware of it. By the time that happens, it is usually too late to protect your information.

Mini cell phone towers can tap into your phone texts and calls from a short distance. This means that someone could be watching what you text and listening to what you say without your even knowing about it!

The ‘man in the middle’ is when person can get into your phone’s operating system, and pass the information onto unscrupulous persons who just wait for information to come to them.

How to Find Out if You Are a Victim of Cell Phone Hacking

Using a cell phone is simple and less complicated than using a computer, but the dangers of hacking is the same for cell phones as for laptops. Discovering that your private conversations and text messages are being monitored by intruders is a very unpleasant situation to find yourself in. All of your transactions can be hacked into and downloaded. Now is a good time to find out if you are a victim of cell phone hacking!

The first thing to do is to pay attention to any sounds made during calls on your phone. If you hear strange, unfamiliar clicking sounds in the background of the conversation, or notice that you, or the caller’s voice is echoing, or notice any white noise, this can definitely be an indication that someone is trying to connect, hack and listen in.

If your phone lights up all by itself even when you are not using it then check it out. If it turns on, or off by itself be sure to check that out as well. Some phones can be controlled through remote access via radio control.

Feel your phone and its battery to see if they are excessively hot. If they are hot when you touch them then chances that spyware software is being put to use on your phone.

Be sure to check your phone bill and keep track of all charges. If you are charged double, or triple for every call or text you made, it means that spyware is being used to send your transactions to other persons and websites. Your information is then downloaded, your number is accessed and other people are running up your bill by using your number.

Cell Phone Hacking: Protect Yourself

High technology allows us to use our cell phones as though they were mini computers. They can send emails, browse the internet, download and upload information and sign in to accounts. Even though all of this makes it convenient to continue that important business transaction, or see photos of your child wherever they are, the same technology also makes your phone easily accessible to hackers.

Storing and sharing information on your phone is very risky and is something you will do automatically without giving it a second thought. Taking steps to protect your phone from hackers will keep what you put on it safe. Below are steps you can take to maximize the protection of your phone and its use as well as protecting it from cell phone hacking:

  • Keep your phone close to you and secure it in a place that is difficult for thieves to get to. Use a case, or strap near to you rather than something easy to snatch. Thieves will think twice before they steal your phone if you have it secured safely.
  • If you suspect that your phone has been hacked, or if you phone is stolen, be sure to contact your service provider right away. This can save you spending money from unauthorized use of your phone. Before you purchase your phone, ask your carrier if they provide insurance against this. Finding out afterward will make you liable.
  • Use a strong password to lock, or unlock your phone before your (or anyone else) can use it. Make sure it is a strong password and not something (like a phrase) commonly known to everyone.
  • Hacking through Bluetooth is one of the fastest and easiest ways for anyone to get to your phone. It doesn’t take a crack criminal to hack through this vein. Be sure to turn your blue tooth off unless you are using it, this will prevent wireless intrusion.
  • If anti-virus software is available for your phone download it and keep it updated. Be sure to ask your service provider if this software is available for your phone and, also, check your phone manual to see if there is software for your phone. As simple as downloading a link from email on your phone can cause it to pick up a virus, so anti-virus software should be considered.

Cell phone intrusion is not something you have to put up with. No matter who your carrier is, or what type of phone you have, hacking can be prevented by installing mobile security products. These products can be purchased in stores or online and are just as important as internet security is for your computer.

Don’t Let Hackers Get Away; Report Cell Phone Hacking!

You cell phone is not only your own, personal, mini, electronic phone and address book, it also holds personal information and private material. If your phone is internet compatible then it means that it is also connected to your email. Imagine what would happen if someone got into your phone and took this information without your knowledge? Once they got that, they would have access to everything online about you.

If your phone is hacked, get in touch with the FBI and your service provider immediately. To get in contact with the FBI, go into google and logon to the site. Find the Contact Us button and select FBI Tips and Public Leads. This is the form on the Reporting Crime section that you can fill out with all the prevalent information and submit to them. Be sure to put your personal information in (ex.. name, address, etc.) so that they can get back to you. Give as many details as possible. If you want to make the report over the phone call the FBI number 800-225-5324

To make the report to your service provider, contact them online (calling would be better because you are more sure of a speedy response) and give them the details of what happened and why you suspect hacking. Try to get a new number to discharge any charges that were acquired during the hacking.

I was assisting a customer the other day who came to use the internet. They were trying to access their email and could not find an important document that was sent to them from a prospective client. The item was an invoice for work they had done previously.

After a fruitless search that lasted for about an hour. They gave it up. I asked them what was wrong and they informed me of what happened. They told me that it was quite possible that it disappeared from advanced software available online that allows people to access your emails. This woman was robbed!

Building awareness about the dangers of hacking and what to expect is something that should be done regularly. Phone companies and mobile service providers should have pamphlets available for customers which detail how to protect them from hacking and how to prevent it in the first place.

Cell Phone Hacking cell phone hacking Cell Phone Hacking: More Serious Than You Think! Twitter Porn

Learn Technical FAQs for Protecting your PC and more on What is the Future of Bullying/Cyber Bullying?

How to hack a cell phone text messages

Hacking internet email and cell phone messages is beneficial and in some cases necessary. When security is an issue, or safety is a priority, individuals set out to learn as much as they can, about any person or entity that poses a real threat. Even in relationships, the intentions of one person’s motive are questionable. Before the relationship can develop any farther trust must first be established.

However, it is a known fact that everyone is prone to secrecy. No one really tells all there is to know about their life, their accomplishments or their past mistakes. No way individuals find the answers they need is by hacking someone’s cell phone. Websites show users “How to hack a cell phone text messages” without getting caught. The first step is to find a software program that is designed specifically for this purpose.

The best hacking software is listed below, as well as instructions on “How to hack cell phone text messages.” The list identifies 3 of the most popular phone hacking software on the market and their prosperities. To ensure the hacking process is accurate, try hacking a personal phone first. So if there are any mistakes, they can be corrected, before hacking the target phone.

Step 1

Acquire the cell phone iPhone IP address. Use the content configuration information to connect to a sftp. Host name is (sftp), username (root) and password is (alpine). This is the most crucial step in setting up the hacking platform.

Step 2

Chances are an unknown host key might pop up. This is to be expected. The message reads something like this: You have no guarantee the server is the computer you believe, trust this host and carry on connecting? Do not worry though, just ignore the message and press ok or enter to proceed.

Step 3

This step brings up the entire directory listing. Once inside the directory, everything on the phone is visible. What programs are listed, their root extensions, the sizes of the files and more.

Step 4

In this step, try to locate the directory which contains the SMS data. This may read something like: /private/var/mobile/library/SMS. Now once the file is in clear view proceed to downloading the phone’s SMS file, which reads: sms.db.

Step 5

This is where the hard work pays off. In this step, commence to opening the phone’s sms database. This is accomplished by using a popular SQLite browser. Now select the message on the table that says “HOPP.”

Hacking most phones is completed in simple, easy to understand steps. However, there are Spy mobile programs that do all the work in less time.

Text Hacking Software

StealthGenie is considered one of the most popular spying and hacking software in the spy industry. This advanced software text hacking programs works on some of the most popular mobile device platforms in the cell phone industry such as Android, iPhone and Blackberry. Here is a quick installation guide to each of these platforms.

Android

Access the setting on the phone, select security and check unknown sources. Next, open the phone’s internet browser and click on the URL image. Once the SG is downloaded and installed, click on the file to open it. The app installer has to be downloaded first and then the program. Once the installation processes have completed, press the “done” button to confirm that the application has been installed.

When the activation screen appears, enter the activation code that came with the welcome email. Select administration on the activation page and after the message reads: “Service successfully activated”, press the close button. At this point the SG installer can be uninstalled, since it is no longer needed.

iPhone

To install StealthGenie, find the Cydia app and select it from the menu. Choose manage from the menu below, and choose sources. Now choose edit and then select add. Once the URL box is visible type in the download phrase and waits until the processing verification is complete. Once the process is complete select return to Cydia, and enter into the mobile developer section.

Open the Developer tools section and click on MobileService. All the details should appear on the screen. Now select install and confirm, and wait for the installation process to complete. To activate the download, just use the activation code that came in the email and the rest is simple.

There are other software products that teach anyone “How to hack a cell phone text messages.” The process leading to cell phone hacking text messages is simple depending on which program is being used. Programs like Mspy, Mobile Spy and Spy Bubble are some of the top cell phone hacking software, which allows anyone to access text messages from any cell phone, regardless of the carrier.

As you can see from the information above, hacking becomes easier and easier by the day, it is up to you to teach yourself and others on the dangers of hacking and the importance of cyber safety for you and your loved ones.

Reference: (http://nobullying.com/cell-phone-hacking-more-serious-than-you-think/)

Aug 07

How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

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We all know that smart devices are pretty clever these days, but does your smartphone or tablet seem to have a mind of its own? If you suspect that it does, it may be infected with malware that can access your private information, secretly control your device and even steal your money through unauthorized charges to your phone bill.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify if your device is being overrun by malware:

1. Notice unfamiliar charges on your phone bill? A lot of us ask this question anyway, but it’s a good idea to regularly check the charges on your phone bill. Are there small but significant charges on it that you don’t recognize? Some malware is programmed to send paid SMS messages that get charged to your phone bill and deposited into the bank account of the malware writer.

2. Is your phone acting cray-cray? If your phone starts acting crazy, strangely opening and closing apps, or sending text messages by itself, your phone might be compromised. Malware is written to secretly control your device, and malicious apps have loose permissions that allow them to control more aspects of your device than it seems.

3. Is your battery draining extremely fast? Battery drain can be exacerbated by different factors like network settings or even a totally innocent app that’s just poorly coded. But because malware apps can run constantly in the background, it is inevitable that they will run down your battery much faster than normal.

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you should check if your phone has malware by scanning all the apps on your phone or tablet with Lookout Security + Antivirus. You can download Lookout for free from from Google Play. Lookout will tell you if there’s an app holding your phone hostage so you can delete it and get your phone back to normal. Problem solved!

Keeping your phone safe from malware is easy if you take the right precautions when downloading apps. Follow these simple tips to keep your mobile experiences safe and sound:

1. Keep the software on your device up to date. Malware writers design their malicious apps to take advantage of weaknesses in smart devices’ operating systems. By keeping the software on your phone or tablet current, you minimize your risk of being a victim of malware.

2. Be careful around third-party app stores. In the case of mobile apps, its always best to shop the big name brands, and stick with the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and the Amazon.com app store. If you want to minimize risk of encountering malware, don’t download from random download sites you haven’t heard of before.

3. Be careful where you click. Some malware comes embedded in drive-by-download website links that automatically download a malicious app to your device without your prior approval. Safe Browsing in Lookout Premium will warn you of malicious sites.

4. Download a mobile security app to protect you. Downloading a security app, like Lookout, that has app and link scanning capabilities will help you be safer and better protected on your mobile device.

Reference: https://blog.lookout.com/blog/2012/12/27/if-your-phone-is-hacked/)

Jul 29

Motion Blur

by N.P.S. Photography representative Bud Kelly

b1Hey Everybody !!!! Bud Kelly here … NPS Photo Rep !!! Here’s an article I decided to touch base on is “motion blur” and how people get actual photos confused with something that is possibly paranormal when it’s just actual camera functions. Ok, as you see I have 3 photos posted and through the article i’m going to explain the photos, how it happens and what can we do to fix them. So, let’s get started … As we know, i’m a professional photographer and I shoot for a band here in central Indiana known as Split Rail. So, if you look at the photo at the top, that’s the drummer Nick Mills and do you see how the drum sticks have that effect of the movement coming down ??? I do that with drummers on purpose to get that “motion blur” effect and what I do is slow my shutter speed down to around 1/50 of a second or maybe a little slower than that to get that effect. I was in a very dark night club and shooting in a low light situation so my aperture was at f2.8 so I could get as much light in as possible, ISO (light sensor) kicked up b2to 6400 just so I could get a decent exposure … plus slowing my shutter speed down helps get in more light as well and giving me this awesome drumming effect …. Now, let’s take a look at the other 2 photos which I found on a website and they had a awesome article on how motion blurred photos can look creepy and thinking it’s a ghost, so you have the image on the bottom left with motion blur and the image on the bottom right of the same subject not moving. Now, how did they get that effect ???? Easy… almost like the photo of the drummer, but the girl with the motion blur almost looks like it was taken with a cell phone which has a shutter speed around 1/20 of a second and way slower, plus you can do this with any camera just by going into manual mode and slowing the shutter speed down yourself to get these effects, plus a lot of people don’t realize the simple slight movement of your hands, along with a slow shutter speed while holding a camera can cause this as well. But … how do we not get motion blur in b3our photos ??? Two simple things … faster shutter speeds to make sure you capture your subject in motion, plus using a tri-pod and setting the camera on a timer (I use a shutter release cable) helps as well so you keep your camera dead still without even having to touch it and this also helps in shooting night photography, fireworks photography and getting shots of the moon … I am in the works of making tutorial videos explaining how cameras work so it can explain hands on how we get photos like these and why they are natural explanations and nothing paranormal. Well, hope my article was helpful and if you would love to see my work as a photographer … feel free to check me out at www.bkellyphotography.net. Thanks and Have a Awesome Day !!!!

Jul 29

Back Lit Cell Photos and Shadow Figures

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

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priWhen you are taking a photo, and there is a bright light in the background, such as sunlight coming through a window, strange results may occur. This can happen with any camera, but it is especially prominent with cell phone cameras. Cell cameras are just not as good as regular cameras at rendering photos, mainly because of their image aliasing, and their generally poor ability to compensate for different lighting conditions.

When taking a photo in a back lit situation, people in the frame in the background can become dark, shadowy and blurred, giving the appearance of a spooky “shadow figure”.

I have included a photo that I took with my iPhone 5s, in my own home. I have not adjusted the photo post-camera in any way. It is straight off my phone, with no filters applied. The “shadow figure” is my daughter, alive and well. She is completely dark and shadowy, and her movements are blurry and distorted.

While this makes for a very creepy photo, it is not paranormal. Sometimes people can be in your photo frame without you even realizing they were ever there. Next time you see this type of image in a photo, compare and see if any of the above factors fit the situation.

Jul 29

Photo Reflections and Lens Flare

Al Schmidt

Al Schmidt

Hi, I'm Allan (Al) Schmidt. I'm 52 living in Colorado. I've been married for 27 years. I Retired form the Air Force in 2001 and have been working for the Government in Boulder ever since. I have many hobbies, mostly outdoor, hiking, camping hunting, fishing etc. The main thing that ties them all together is Photography. I've been into the paranormal basically all my life, as my late father was into basically everything paranormal, although he didn't really refer to it as paranormal. Bigfoot, Nessi, UFO's, Little People. He had books on all subjects which I read with a passion. I have been investigating for over 10 years now regularly, and have been all over the country doing so. Locally, have investigated many locations, both with others teams and as I like to do most of the time, by myself or with my wife. I'm very logical in my undertakings, and very skeptical by nature. If I have exhausted all resources and ideas as to how to debunk something, only then will I call it interesting and possibly paranormal. I have not really had any wow moments to speak of, but have had some interesting things happen, enough so to make me more curious.
Al Schmidt

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flareOne of the biggest issues I am seeing lately in paranormal photography is mistaken identity due to photo’s of reflective surfaces. Windows, water, mirrors, TV’s, cabinets etc can present all sorts of issues when being photographed, and those issues are then being misidentified as something paranormal. I have seen so many photos that are easily explained by actually looking at the photo and identifying all of the reflective surfaces in it, studying the angle of the shot and the lighting, and determining it is only lens flare from the surface.
Lets delve deeper into what is going on, and why, and how to alleviate as much as possible, some of these issues.
As I mentioned above, obvious surfaces to avoid in the shot would be anything made of glass, white or reflective walls, metallic objects, standing water, or other light sources (sun, lights etc). Obviously, with this many items to have to deal with when taking a photo, that leaves very little room to try to alleviate reflections and lens flare, hence, why I never recommend photo’s for anything paranormal. If you insist on it though, shoot these surfaces or light sources at a 45 degree angle, as this can alleviate some of the problems, but certainly not always. Also, a continuous light source as opposed to a flash can help but again, is not recommended. If you have a view finder on your camera, that will also help in seeing issues before you take the shot. This is another reason why cell phones should never be used, as there is no viewfinder to preview any light anomalies, as real time view will normally remove these sorts of anomalies.

Once you have tried to remove all of the above potential issues, we will now take a look at camera settings that can also help. If your camera has the ability to set some things manually, you can set your camera to aperture priority mode [AV] and choose a setting for the aperture. Try to get as much of the item in focus as possible, so an aperture of around f/8 to f/16 will work to get good depth of field. Also set the ISO to 100 – 400 for the best image quality. Once set, the camera will select an appropriate shutter speed for the exposure. This will depend on the power of your light source. But again, since most para shots are in low light, the camera will choose a slow shutter speed to compensate for the low light, which will then create blurring issues. And then, the camera will use the flash, which will mostly defeat the purpose of the manual settings mentioned and again present lens flare and reflection issues.

I hope that with all of the above mentioned issues being said, that those insisting on carrying around a camera on an investigation, and those just looking through random shots, will take a bit more time when reviewing and critiquing their photos, and realize and accept that there are so many things that can cause anomalies in a photo other than something paranormal. It’s never a bad thing to have others take a look at the photo as well, but now hopefully there can be a better understanding of why there will be explanations of reflections and lens flare, rather than…Oooohhh, it’s a ghost.

Jun 30

Photography & Reflective Surfaces

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

Alternate Assistant Director - Div 5 at National Paranormal Society
Was born in Portland, OR in 1977. Moved to Laramie, Wyoming until six years old and then moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas until I got out of high school.Have been interested in the paranormal since I learned to use a card catalog. My first library book was about ghosts. Have always been drawn to the paranormal and occult.At about age 14, I decided to start putting what I had learned from witchcraft books to use in the paranormal. Started investigating graveyards and exploring abandoned buildings. As I met more people in the paranormal I started to learn about EVP and started getting into the tech modern investigators use.I have not investigated any of the more famous haunts unless you count Ft. Knox, ME or what was once known as The Poet’s Loft in Hot Springs, the latter used to be a hangout of mine.Currently I am an unemployed chef seeking employment due to binary pulmonary embolism I had about 6 months ago and doing landscaping work until then.

That’s about all I can think to say. Let me know if I need to include anything? Thank you.
Jamie Harris

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rs2I would like to discuss photographing through or towards reflective surfaces. Several times I have been asked to go over photos where people think they might have captured something but it is just a person or object that is in the room reflecting off the glass. This morning i snapped a couple of examples and posted below.

Another thing that you see a lot of is photos taken outside a house with tree leaves or branches reflecting off the windows being matrixed by the brain to look like a person or a face. Unfortunately i live in the desert and could not get any good examples of this.rs1

One other example I couldn’t quite capture is photos taken from reflective surfaces or materials with a flash. This will often cause the light to refract off the reflective surface back onto the lens causing lens flare.

If you are interested try experimenting by taking photos of reflective surfaces with and without a flash and post them on our Facebook page.

rs3

Jun 23

Light Painting – The Art of Long Exposure

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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.

Mar 28

Ghostly Photos or Simple Camera Tricks?

Al Schmidt

Al Schmidt

Hi, I'm Allan (Al) Schmidt. I'm 52 living in Colorado. I've been married for 27 years. I Retired form the Air Force in 2001 and have been working for the Government in Boulder ever since. I have many hobbies, mostly outdoor, hiking, camping hunting, fishing etc. The main thing that ties them all together is Photography. I've been into the paranormal basically all my life, as my late father was into basically everything paranormal, although he didn't really refer to it as paranormal. Bigfoot, Nessi, UFO's, Little People. He had books on all subjects which I read with a passion. I have been investigating for over 10 years now regularly, and have been all over the country doing so. Locally, have investigated many locations, both with others teams and as I like to do most of the time, by myself or with my wife. I'm very logical in my undertakings, and very skeptical by nature. If I have exhausted all resources and ideas as to how to debunk something, only then will I call it interesting and possibly paranormal. I have not really had any wow moments to speak of, but have had some interesting things happen, enough so to make me more curious.
Al Schmidt

Latest posts by Al Schmidt (see all)

utahWhile out in the desert of Utah recently, I took this photo at my campsite. It’s very spooky, and I know a lot of people would immediately jump to a paranormal conclusion, since the majority of people are under the false assumption that a camera just takes a picture of what they see and there is no way for it to do anything else. What you see is what you get.

This particular picture was taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, at night, under a full moon. How was I lucky enough to catch this Ghostly Apparition? Was this a Haunted Area? Did I get to see it with my own eyes? Well, none of the above. Although this is an extreme example of slow shutter speed, it does show a perfect example of how odd images can be created. I say extreme only because a slow shutter speed for most shots would be 1 second or less. This one, was around 20 seconds.

So what are we seeing here? Let me set it up. As I said, this was at night, under a full moon, so actually plenty of light for this type of shot. The key is the length of time the shutter is open, thus how much light is captured by the sensor. Since there is nothing else moving besides the Ghostly figure (Myself), and the stars of course, everything will be in focus, no blurred objects. Even at 20 seconds, the stars will have moved in the sky slightly, so there will be a small amount of streaking to them.

What is also needed, is a steady tripod and a remote control. The camera is set on bulb, so that the length of time the shutter is open can be controlled, and from a distance. To create the effect is simple. Stand whatever distance you want from the camera, open the shutter, stay in place for 10 seconds, and then move to the second position for the remaining 10ish seconds. Release the shutter and you have your incredible Ghostly image of yourself.

Now, how does this work and why does it appear this way, why am I see through? Since it is at night, with only minimal light from the moon, there would need to be around 20 total seconds in one position for the camera to fully pick up my image as it did with the surroundings in this photo. Since I was only in place for half that time, it was only able to pick up a partial image in each location. It also did not pick up my motion blur while moving to the second location because it was too fast for the sensor to pick up any image at all at that slow shutter speed.

Now, when we talk about a slow shutter speed under normal Paranormal Photography circumstances, Dark Location, Cell Camera or Point and Shoot and either a flash or no flash, we are only normally talking about a shutter speed of 1 second or less. But as opposed to this photo, within that 1 second, it can catch any motion blur that occurs, even with a flash. Since the flash on either a cell or point and shoot is not especially powerful, it will actually flash for as long as it thinks it needs to capture a photo, which in most cases is between ½ – 1 second. Couple the long shutter speed with hand shake, and you get a photo that not only catches motion blur, but also the movement blur of the hand shake. I must say, that in the thousands of “Paranormal” photo’s I have seen, this is the culprit in the vast majority of Ghostly Sightings. Either a photo of a scene with no moving objects, or a real person that was caught while moving, causing them to appear blurry in the beginning of the shot and more translucent at the end.

Conclusion and Recommendation: A cell phone and point and shoot were never meant to take low light or total darkness pictures. Why people continue to use them while investigating is a mystery to me. They are not, I repeat not going to take a perfect picture, they will take, blurry, grainy, and shaky pictures, every time. Even if a tripod is used, the shutter speed will still be slow enough to blur moving objects, even with a flash. I whole heartedly would never recommend taking photo’s during an investigation; it will only lead to misidentification of normal surrounding and false conclusions. If you must take photos please, never submit them as evidence, and always have them reviewed by multiple individuals. Could a photo catch a ghost, sure, anything is possible. Probable? Maybe 1 in a billion chance.

Mar 25

Flash Reflection and Effects

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

This article will focus on the type of flash reflection that occurs when an object is directly on or extremely close to the camera’s lens. It is not referring to the flash reflections commonly seen in photos where mirrors or other reflective surfaces are in view.

When any object is directly on, or extremely close to the camera lens as the flash fires, the flash can illuminate the object (or not) in odd, unexpected ways.

Please look at the 3 photos posted with this article. These photos were taken during the day, indoors. Natural light was the only light source in the room, other than the camera’s flash. I had the blinds closed to insure it was dark enough that the flash would fire. The camera I used was a compact point ‘n shoot, Canon PowerShot ELPH300 HS, 12.1 MP. The photos were taken in full auto mode.
f1

Photo #1: The object is directly on (touching) the camera lens. Notice how the background is well lit and in focus, but the subject is very dark. When an object is on the camera’s lens, the camera cannot focus on it. In auto focus mode, since the camera could not focus on the object, it focused on the background, and metered accordingly. The result was a dark shadow effect on the object. This will happen no matter the color of the object. We commonly see this effect when there is an insect or piece of debris on the lens of the camera.

 

 

 

f2Photo #2: The object is just slightly away from the lens, within ½ inch. At this range, the camera still could not focus on the object very well, so again the camera focused on the background, and metered accordingly. At this distance though, the object is in the “orb zone” or range where the flash will bounce off the object. When this happens, the flash is reflected back into the camera lens, and the result is a washed out effect on the object. In some circumstances, the flash reflection can wash out the entire photo, giving it a cloudy or foggy appearance. We commonly see this effect when someone takes a photo, not realizing their finger, or a camera strap, or some other object was near the camera lens. This would be the same as taking a light and shining it into your eyes.

f3Photo #3: The object is sufficiently away from the camera and out of the “orb zone”. The flash does not reflect off of the object and back into the lens. At this distance the camera was able to focus on the object, and metered on the object. Notice now how the background has become dark and out of focus. These results and their severity will vary from camera to camera, but all cameras, especially compacts and cell phones, are susceptible to this effect.

Mar 20

Digital Upsampling & Interpolation

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

What are digital upsampling and interpolation?

According to dspGuru: “ Upsampling is the process of inserting zero-valued samples between original samples to increase the sampling rate. (This is called “zero-stuffing”.) Upsampling adds to the original signal undesired spectral images which are centered on multiples of the original sampling rate. “Interpolation”, in the DSP sense, is the process of upsampling followed by filtering. (The filtering removes the undesired spectral images.) As a linear process, the DSP sense of interpolation is somewhat different from the “math” sense of interpolation, but the result is conceptually similar: to create “in-between” samples from the original samples. The result is as if you had just originally sampled your signal at the higher rate.” (dspguru).

When does it occur?
It occurs at some point in almost every digital photo. Interpolation occurs, “anytime you resize or remap (distort) your image from one pixel grid to another. Image resizing is necessary when you need to increase or decrease the total number of pixels, whereas remapping can occur under a wider variety of scenarios: correcting for lens distortion, changing perspective, and rotating an image” (Cambridge).

Examples:
When people edit a photo to enlarge a picture the following artifacts can occur:
Aliasing, Blurring, and Edge Halo artifact examples can be found on the lightning bolt photos on the following page http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tu…/image-interpolation.htm.

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10985911_10101309381396225_4809478633611656578_n11205985_10101309381391235_6054481984459072253_n

Notes on Digital vs Optical Zooms:
Most digital cameras come with both an optical zoom and a digital zoom. Cellular phone cameras come with just a digital zoom. Optical zooms use principles of light and optics to magnify the light prior to reaching the sensor on the camera. Digital zooms simply, “degrades quality by simply interpolating the image — after it has been acquired at the sensor“ (Cambridge)

 

Works Cited
DIGITAL IMAGE INTERPOLATION. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2015, from http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tu…/image-interpolation.htm

Interpolation. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2015, from http://www.dspguru.com/dsp/faqs/multirate/interpolation

Mar 20

A Brief History of Paranormal Photography

Latest posts by Sara Owens (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com

p1Perhaps the first “ghost photo” was taken in 1860 by W. Campbell in New Jersey. The photo was of an empty chair, but once the photo was developed, the image of a small boy was discovered. However Campbell was never able to replicate this event and it is not well remembered by historians of the art.

A year later in 1861, Boston engraver, William Mumler took his own photograph only to discover the image of a dead cousin in the photograph with him. A leading photographer, William Black subsequently investigated his photographs and declared them to be authentic in nature. Mumler was able to produce several more photographs with ghostly images of individuals, some recognizable as dead relatives and others as unknown people. One of Mumler’s most famous works is the photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln with the ghost of her husband Abraham Lincoln. Despite enjoying some popularity at the time, these photos are now generally considered fakes.
Mumler is widely credited with launching the popularity of spirit photography. Over the next few decades, many individuals chose to have their pictures taken in the hope of seeing some long lost relative.
It is important to note two things about early spirit photography:

1. Early cameras had very long exposure time—up to one minute—during which the subject had to remain perfectly still. It was quite common for “ghostly” images to appear when a subject moved or left the frame before the exposure was complete.

2. Spirit photographs and stereographs were sold as entertainment novelties in America in the late 19th Century. These were basically indistinguishable from “genuine” ghost photos, but were not intended to be considered real.
Following in Mumler’s footsteps, a number of other photographers sought to cash in on the spirit photography phenomenon, including Frederick Hudson (London) and E. Buguet (France). In 1891, Alfred Russell Wallace (one of the developers of the theory of evolution) voiced his opinion that spirit photography should be taken seriously.

p2That same year, one of the best-known ghost photos of all time was taken by Sybell Corbett at Combermere Abbey in Cheshire, England. The photo was of a library room, taken with an exposure of one hour. Although the room was apparently unoccupied the entire time, the resulting photo clearly showed a man sitting in a chair. The man was identified by a relative as Lord Combermere, who had died in an accident five days earlier.

In 1911, James Coates published a book called Photographing the Invisible, in which he examined numerous cases of spirit photography. This book helped propel paranormal photography into the mainstream and brought the attention of a number of researchers.

Another boost was given to spirit photography by respected English scientist Sir William Crookes, who conducted research into various paranormal phenomena and concluded that, among other things, spirit photography was a credible pursuit.

As the sophistication of spirit photography developed, so did the understanding of fraudulent tricks. Many early photographers were shown to have used double-exposure techniques and simple plate-swapping tricks.
Although early paranormal photography was mostly concerned with ghosts, there were other examples as well, such as the first UFO photograph in 1870 and the Cottingley Fairies in 1917 (later revealed as a hoax).

Notable ghost photographs of the 20th Century:
Freddy Jackson (1919).
The “Brown Lady”, Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England (1936).
Mabel Chimney’s mother, England (1959).
Greenwich Ghost, Queen’s House, Greenwich, London (1966).
Ghost in Burning Building,Shropshire, England (1995).

Source:

http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com/p/photography/history.html

Mar 17

Cambridge In Colour

Latest posts by Stephanie Morris (see all)

Hi I’m a new member of the Photography Team. I believe ALL Investigators or anyone holding a camera should know the Basics. Of course more is expected of the Photo Team but I simply wanted to give the group a good reference page for Photography. It has free tutorials and many good articles on things such as “circles of confusion” and other Depth of Field topics and DOF is very important in Spirit Photography (or any photography) and is simply one example of what this page has to offer.

www.cambridgeincolour.com/

Mar 14

Why Cell Phone Camera’s (All Camera’s) should be Taboo While Investigating

Al Schmidt

Al Schmidt

Hi, I'm Allan (Al) Schmidt. I'm 52 living in Colorado. I've been married for 27 years. I Retired form the Air Force in 2001 and have been working for the Government in Boulder ever since. I have many hobbies, mostly outdoor, hiking, camping hunting, fishing etc. The main thing that ties them all together is Photography. I've been into the paranormal basically all my life, as my late father was into basically everything paranormal, although he didn't really refer to it as paranormal. Bigfoot, Nessi, UFO's, Little People. He had books on all subjects which I read with a passion. I have been investigating for over 10 years now regularly, and have been all over the country doing so. Locally, have investigated many locations, both with others teams and as I like to do most of the time, by myself or with my wife. I'm very logical in my undertakings, and very skeptical by nature. If I have exhausted all resources and ideas as to how to debunk something, only then will I call it interesting and possibly paranormal. I have not really had any wow moments to speak of, but have had some interesting things happen, enough so to make me more curious.
Al Schmidt

Latest posts by Al Schmidt (see all)

Although I am not an advocate of taking any still pictures while investigating, using a cell phone makes it significantly worse for many reasons. Sure, they are convenient, but that’s about as far as I could go with anything positive to say about using them.

I hear people say that their Cell Phone takes great pictures, and while that may be true on a nice sunny day; they have many limitations as to their functionality in low light/no light situations. Yes, they have a flash, but the flash has limited range, and also the camera then has to compensate for the flash usage. Taking a picture of your friends in a bar is fine, but to try and use it to capture anything paranormal is out of the question. Let’s take a look at why I say this, in regards to the inner working of a cell camera.

The majority of the time, you simply are going to use your flash and a longer shutter speed in low light. Then trying to stabilize the cell phone against some immovable object. With real cameras, even using an eye level viewfinder and supporting the lens correctly offers you some additional support, and aside from DSLR mirror shake potential, a large camera has more mass, so it’ll make fewer tiny moves in response to body shakes. You really want to lock that cell phone down, but how many people actually do that while investigating. I see it all the time, people walking around, snapping away. And then sometimes while moving, which creates even more motion blur.

Another issue is getting blur from moving subjects. Not much you can do about that in most cases though but that also tends to lead to mis-identification of something being “Paranormal”. If you’re shooting a moving object, you can match its motion and shoot while moving, which can work great, but of course you risk vertical shake following a horizontally moving object, and this issue is exacerbated in low light. It will also blur the surrounding, again leading to mis-interpretation. The best was to eliminate some of these is to go to a faster shutter speed, but that would mean setting this manually and on a cellphone, the only other degree of freedom is image gain, and that’s also a problem on phones.

When you see noise in an image, grain or static, that’s actually sensor noise. Your phone, like all digital cameras, has a photo sensor composed of small pixels, one or more analog to digital converters, and one more thing, a programmable gain amplifier. That amp sits between your pixels and ADC, with the job of boosting the signal from each pixel when it’s too low. The strength of a pixel’s signal is based on how many photons are hitting it… more light or a larger pixel gets you a stronger signal. The iPhone 5s has 1.5um pixels, better than the 1.0um pixels of older iPhones, but still tiny. So the signal gets weak, it gets boosted, but eventually, the random noise in any electronic system gets to be close in level to the pixel signal, and so, when you boost that pixel, you get visible effect from the noise.

Which brings me back to the old adage, add more light. You could lower sensitivity and increase exposure time for a cleaner image, but more blur potential. Add room lights; use a flash, that’s about it. This is just how photography works, and the problems only increase with the limitations of the camera being used.

Let’s look at some samples of photo’s using different cameras. Same light, same location. They are all handheld as well (No Tripod) and all on Auto setting, since that is what makes a huge difference in photo quality. They are in my basement with very low light from ceiling lights.

First two pictures are with my cell phone, an HTC, first no flash, second with flash.
12

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next 2 Photo’s are with a Point and Shoot Digital, a Casio EX-S200 and again no flash, w/flash

34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next 2 pictures are with a Canon 5D Mark III full frame DSLR, no flash, with flash

10950660_10205906679363262_1578206737995275930_o10662060_10205906680803298_8281836960321657549_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, there is a huge difference between the camera’s and the quality of the shots. The cell phone picture with flash, is not something I would even use as evidence (And Agin I would stress, I would never shoot still photo’s during an investigation, nor ever think of using them as evidence), as the lighting is not up to par with trying to define much of anything. The point and shoot with flash is much better, but still not of high quality and still has a bit of blur due to a slower shutter speed. In comparison, the Full Frame camera with flash is clean and crisp. Even without the flash, it’s not a bad picture, but still dark and again, a bit blurry being hand held with a slower shutter speed.

With all of this being said, looking at the cell phone photo compared to the other two with flash, shows that a cell phone cannot even compare. And why is that? It’s all about the sensor size. The cell phone, despite claimed MegaPixial Size, cannot draw in enough light, even with a flash to get a clean crisp image due to the size of the sensor and the low quality flash.

My bottom line, don’t use a cell phone while investigating and more importantly, when reviewing your cell phone pictures, be aware of its short comings in image quality, especially in low light situations. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have captured an “Entity” when in fact what you have captured is a low quality photo that is not a well-defined image.

 

Mar 01

How ‘image aliasing’ allows iPhone cameras to photograph spectres

Courtesy of:  http://www.independent.co.uk

There is a ghost at Hampton Court Palace – or so a new photo, taken from an iPhone, would have you believe. But the spectre really lurks in the way that the mobile phone cameras takes pictures.

Screenshot_1

The new photos supposedly show a schoolgirl being followed by Hampton Court Palace by a ghostly apparition – claimed to be the Grey Lady that haunts the palace. The girl and the apparition are alone in the first picture, as it follows behind her, and in the second she is joined by someone else, shown turning around after the ghost has left.

But the two people – the apparition and the other person in the room – are likely instead to be one. And the secret that has brought them together is image aliasing and distortion.

What seems to have happened is that as people move in the image, they get pulled together as the camera attempts to take the picture. As the iPhone struggles to take the photo in the dark, the people in it distort and blend together.

What’s more, the iPhone doesn’t take photos all in one go, which means that people end up distorted and stretched.

It’s called image aliasing, and leads photos and videos taken from the iPhone’s camera to look odd. The effect is especially clear on videos taken of fast moving objects.

The cameras on iPhones and other mobile phone cameras scan slowly. Unlike a normal camera, which takes an image of all the pixels at once, it captures from one part of the sensor and then does the next.

That means that the different parts of the images are taken at different times. If something in the pictures moves while it is doing so, it can pull and stretch the images.

In the Hampton Court image, that is what seems to have happened. As the woman moves from the right to the left, she is captured at various parts of her journey – making her hair look very tall, while her body has moved away.

Source:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ghost-of-the-grey-lady-at-hampton-court-how-image-aliasing-allows-iphone-cameras-to-photograph-spectres-10069536.html

Feb 02

Sharp J-SH04 Mobile Phone

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://www.puntainversiones.com

jphonTHE FIRST MOBILE PHONE WITH A BUILT-IN CAMERA

Sharp J-SH04 is a mobile phone which was created by Sharp Corporation and released by J-Phone in November 2000. At that time, this mobile phone was only available in Japan and it became the Japan’s first ever phone which was equipped with a built-in camera. This camera had a 110.000 pixels resolution and a 256 colors display so you can get excellent photo result.

It was not the first mobile phone with a built-in camera in the world because Samsung had also released a mobile phone, called Samsung SCH-V200 in several months earlier in South Korea. This Samsung’s mobile phone was equipped with a VGA (Video Graphics Array) camera.

Sharp J-SH04 is able to save up to 500 phone numbers and it is compatible with GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) card. It uses a dual band to support its performance. This 127 x 39 x 17 mm product which is available in silver color has a 74 grams weight. This mobile phone is able to save last 20 incoming calls, outgoing calls, and missed calls.

This Japan’s first camera mobile phone which uses a directional pad is supported by a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery which is able to survive up to 310 hours in standby mode and up to 2 hours in talking mode. For its price, it was sold for USD 500 in 2000 and for the time being you might get difficulty to find this product again.

Source:

http://www.puntainversiones.com/2012/07/sharp-j-sh04-the-first-mobile-phone-with-a-built-in-camera-in-japan/

Feb 02

Nippon Kogaku Nikon F

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://camerapedia.wikia.com

niknThe Nikon F was introduced in 1959 with a comprehensive range of high quality lenses and accessories. During its lifespan, new items were continuously added, comprising bulk film magazine, electrical motor drive, viewfinders, focusing screens, close-up and scientific attachments, flash units, remote controls, and even a Polaroid back, the Speed Magny, as well as a wide variety of exposure meters, both separately available or as part of the finder prism, the latest of those being TTL meters, known as the Photomic.

Specs

Lens Aperture: Instant-return type, with focal depth monitoring button (stop-down button)

Mirror: Automatic instant-return type with lock-up facility available as necessary

Viewfinder: Interchangeable with waist-level viewfinder

Focusing screen: Interchangeable with waist-level viewfinder

Shutter: Titanium foil focal-plane shutter

Self-timer: Variable duration type

Flash Synchronization: Variable according to time lag, sync. with Speedlight at a high speed (1/60 sec.), with JIS B type clip contact

Dimensions: Approx. 147x98x89mm (with 5-cm F2 lens)

Weight: Approx. 685g (body only)

Source:

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Nikon_F

Feb 02

Graflex “Pre-Anniversary” Speed Graphic

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://camerapedia.wikia.com

graflexThe famous press cameras of Graflex were made in a number of variants and in several formats.

The earliest models were available in 3×4, 4×5 and 5×7 formats. By 1939-1940 the 5×7 format was dropped and the 2¼x 3¼ format was added. Focal plane shutters were available from the beginning until 1970. Models with a focal plane shutter can use lenses mounted in shutters or barrel lenses (without shutters). The Pacemaker Crown Graphic, introduced in 1947, was the first model available without a focal plane shutter.

Specs

Pre-Anniversary 1928-1939: 4×5 and 5×7, (also 3¼ x4¼ from 1935 to 1939) Had larger lensboard. Focal plane shutter.

Source:

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Graflex_Speed_Graphic

Feb 01

Exakta A

Courtesy of:  http://camerapedia.wikia.com

exactExakta A Manufacturer: Ihagee Date 1932-(c)1940

The original 1933 Exakta wasn’t called Exakta A until the introduction of the model B, later that year. This first Exakta had a focal plane cloth shutter with speeds of B(beliebig), Z(Zeit)(T), 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200, 1/300, 1/600 and, rather amazing for its time: 1/1000s. For comparison: comtemporary Leicas had a top speed of 1/500s. Only two years later did Leica Introduce a 1/1000s shutter on the model IIIa (G).

Exakta B Edit

The Exakta B evolved in parallel with the model A, but had a second shutter speed knob on the right of the body. This gave additional speeds from 12s to 1/10s and a self-timer with 1/10s, 1/2s, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12 second speeds. In total, this gave the Exakta B a shutter speed range from 12s to 1/1000s. This shutter setup and range was to be continued in later 35mm and 6×6 models of the Exakta.

From 1934 the thread, like on the Exakta A, was enlarged (see lenses). This third version of the model B saw the introduction of a transport lever (on the left of the camera!).

Night Exakta Edit

Made from 1934 to 1937, Night Exaktas were made with a larger thread to allow larger aperture lenses. This also means lenses can not be interchanged with other VP exaktas. Large apertures were especially important because films of the time were rather slow. Meyer Primoplan 80/1,9, Zeiss Biotar 8cm/2 and Dallmeyer 80/1,9 were available. Night Exaktas were made in two designs, based on the Exakta A (only high shutter speeds) and on Exakta B (slower speeds also available). Given the slow film material and the need for large lens apertures, one wonders how useful a Night Exakta with a slowest speed of 1/25s may have been in a night shot situation.

Exakta C Edit

The design for the Exakta C was based on the model A or B. The difference is, the Exakta C has interchangable backs, one for 127 film and one for plates. When used with film, the Exakta C is very similar to the models A and B, meaning there are versions with and without the slow speeds (see above). When the plate adapter is mounted, however, the Exakta C practically ceases to be an SLR!. The image is focused on a second ground glass, not in the reflex finder but in the plate back. Remove the ground glass from this special back and a film plate with dark slide can be inserted, much as on any view camera. This ground glass and film plate are at a slightly larger distance from the lens than the VP film would be in the film back. This has some major consequences. First, for use with film, an adapter ring has to be used between the body and the lens. This compensates the smaller lens-to-film-plane distance. The reflex finder can only be focused reliably with this adapter ring in place.

Using the plate back, it becomes highly impractical, if not impossible to use the reflex finder. There is a way, though. Focus the image in the reflex finder with the adapter ring in place. Remove the adapter ring, remount the lens on the body itself and your shot should still be in focus. A rather clumsy way of taking a picture. The ground glass focusing in the plate back seems to bee a better option, albeit upside down and mirrored. In practical terms, both ways rule out shooting moving subjects or changing sceneries.

Lenses Edit

Usually, the diagonal of the film format is about the same length as the “normal” or standard objective. In this case, 40x65mm gives a diagonal of 76mm, thus the standard lens for these Exaktas is a 75mm lens. Ihagee produced an Exaktar 75/3,5 and had other standard lenses made by reputed German makers such as Zeiss, Meyer and Schneider. A wide array of lenses was produced by a lot of different makers. Objectives from a Zeiss 55 mm Tessar to 360mm Schneider tele-Xenar were available. Not long after the introduction of the first Vest Pocket Exakta, in late 1933, Ihagee changed the screw mount a little. This prevents the interchangability of late lenses on early bodies. The earlier 39.5 mm wide screw mount with a 0.5mm pitch was replaced by a 39,8/0,75mm thread. A puzzling decision, as no functional benefit is immediately obvious. Interchangable lenses were probably only made for the somewhat larger screw mount, thus for cameras from late 1933 onwards.

Source:

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/VP_Exakta

 

Feb 01

Pareidolia and Photos – Am I seeing Things?

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

parei

We have heard it here in this group many, many times…”It just pareidolia”, which is the tendency for the brain to perceive meaningful shapes, especially faces, in random visual or audible stimuli. The good news though is that we have the ability to override this natural instinct of ours.

If we as paranormal investigators want to actually present real proof of paranormal events to the world and further the fringe sciences, we need to remain purely objective when analyzing our evidence.

We need to detach ourselves from our evidence completely, and be willing to debunk it.

IS THE PHOTO WORTHY OF BEING CONSIDERED?

First and foremost before we even get into looking at images in a photo, we need to be sure the photo is a suitable candidate for analysis. We need to perform a quality check:

– The photo needs to be in good focus. No blurry or poor quality, badly pixelated photos.

– The exposure needs to be reasonably correct. It cannot be too dark, nor too bright. If the photo does not pass this quality check, then it cannot be offered as evidence to the world at large. It’s just not good enough to stand as any type of proof. This is because blurry or bad photos give alot of fodder for your brain to use to make all sorts of
wonderful, or horrific, images.You have to let it go! Keep it for yourself if you wish, but do not submit it as evidence to anyone else.

If the photo passes the initial quality check, we can then analyze any images it contains.

DO I SEE A FACE?

When analyzing an image we see in a photograph, we need to observe its qualities closely, without bias. We MUST be able to leave our beliefs and wishes at the door.

Study the image in question. The image should be an actual object – it should be separate and apart from anything else in the photo, with a distinct shape. It cannot be inside a bush, in tree branches, in the shadows etc. It also MUST be clear and obvious. If you have to draw circles or outlines, or zoom in to see it, it is not good enough to be considered. Zooming into a digital photo causes pixelation and digital artifacting, which can add to the pareidolia effect.

We need to set aside any impressions we get and look at it purely objectively. Look ONLY at what is ACTUALLY there. For instance, we can’t call 3 ovoid shapes and a curvy line a face. For it to be a real face, we need to see actual eyes, a nose and a mouth. If it only *seems* like a face, then we have to let it go.

So…

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO DETERMINE IF AN IMAGE YOU SEE IN A PHOTO MAY BE A PRODUCT OF PAREIDOLIA

Looking at the photo below, ask yourself:

Is the image made of vague shapes that only resemble a face or figure? Is the image composed of other elements in the photo, such as branches, shadows, leaves, reflections, patterns on wood or other
materials, etc?

Does the image look like an actual object existing independently in the photo? This photo is of a brick on my fireplace. My house is not haunted. This is not a face.

WE CAN DO THIS!

If we really want to find proof of the paranormal, there is no other way – we must be objective always. We must debunk, debunk, debunk. When in doubt we must be willing to throw it out. This goes for every piece of evidence we analyze whether it be visual, audio or other, whether it be yours, mine or ours.

If we hold ourselves to these standards, and come across something we cannot debunk, that makes for strong evidence, and that is the ONLY way we will further the fringe science of paranormal investigating.

Feb 01

Kodak Retina (Type 117)

Holly Moreland

Holly Moreland

Director - Div 2 at National Paranormal Society
Hi, My name is Holly. I live in the middle of Michigan on a small quiet lake with my significant other. I have 2 children, and a couple I choose to also call my own! I have had a few experiences that have made me scratch my head about so I reached out to see what others have encountered! I love to research and communicate what I find in any aspect of life! I also seem to have a need to help others or I could say others seem to seek me out for help! Happy to be part of the group!!.
Holly Moreland

Latest posts by Holly Moreland (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://camerapedia.wikia.com

kretKodak Retina (Type 117), product of 1934-1935.

The Retina cameras were manufactured at Kodak A.G. in what had been previously been the Dr. August Nagel Camerawerk factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The first Retina camera, Retina type 117, was introduced in the summer of 1934 along with a new 35mm film Daylight Loading Cartridge(DLC).

The Retina type 117 was replaced by the Retina type 118 within a year, the total production number is around 60,000.

Camera model – Retina type 117
Year built – 1934-1935
Shutter – Compur
Shutter speed – T, B, 1sec to 1/300 sec
Flash PC socket – on the lens-shutter barrel

Source:

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kodak_Retina_I

Jan 31

Kodak Advantix 2000 Auto

Courtesy of:  http://camera-wiki.org

kodfrThe Kodak Advantix 2000 Auto is a fixed lens compact camera for the APS film system. It has no programmed modes and no APS date storage functions so that it does without a LCD display. The film load status and the film advance are displayed mechanically through two little control windows.

With this simple camera Kodak started successfully its camera contributions to the APS film & camera system spring of 1996.

Specifications

Type: point and shoot
Manufacturer: Kodak plant in China
Year of release: 1996
Lens: Kodak Ektanar 1:5.6/25mm
Films: APS films
Viewfinder: with C, H, and P format display
Flash: Automatic flash

Source:

http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Kodak_Advantix_2000_AUTO

Jan 31

Leica II

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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 30

Camera Lens Reflection

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

Your camera lens is basically a piece of glass. As such, it is subject to picking up reflections on it’s surface of things in the environment in which you are photographing. This is especially prevalent when taking photos in low light conditions, when bright light sources, such as candles or lights, are present. It’s exactly the same as having reflections on your house windows, TV screen or any other reflective surface.

When objects reflect on your camera lens, the reflected images can actually appear in your photo when the angle and light conditions are right. I have seen reflections occur not just of light sources, but with people and other objects as well. This occurs with still photo cameras and video cameras alike. Any camera with a glass lens is subject to picking up reflections.

Camera lens reflections should not be confused with lens flare, although both can occur simultaneously. The difference is that Lens Flare occurs when a very bright light source, such as the sun, shines directly into your lens and washes out parts of your photograph, causing a “flare” effect. Lens reflections however are images reflected from the environment onto the surface of your camera’s lens.

HOW TO SPOT A LENS REFLECTION

To test if you have picked up a lens reflection, take several shots of the same scene and compare. If the anomaly in question does not change in shape, and stays consistently present, and moves only in relation to the movement of the camera, then you have a lens reflection.

I am including example photos of lens reflections. The 3 landscape oriented photos were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR. The 3 portrait oriented photos were taken with an iPhone 5s. With the Canon photos, I used my tripod and swiveled the camera from photo to photo. I hand-held my cell phone for the iPhone photos.

Canon (click to enlarge)

Canon (click to enlarge)

Canon (click to enlarge)

Canon (click to enlarge)

Canon (click to enlarge)

Canon (click to enlarge)

iPhone (click to enlarge)

iPhone (click to enlarge)

iPhone (click to enlarge)

iPhone (click to enlarge)

iPhone (click to enlarge)

iPhone (click to enlarge)

 

Notice how in each photo the anomalies stay consistent in comparison with each other, and they move as a group as the camera was moved. Also notice how small in comparison the reflections are in the cell photos. One reason for this is because the lens on the cell phone is much smaller than the Canon’s lens. However, even though cells have very small lenses, they can pick up reflections just as well as regular cameras.

Jan 30

Beseler Topcon Super D

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

Alternate Assistant Director - Div 5 at National Paranormal Society
Was born in Portland, OR in 1977. Moved to Laramie, Wyoming until six years old and then moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas until I got out of high school.Have been interested in the paranormal since I learned to use a card catalog. My first library book was about ghosts. Have always been drawn to the paranormal and occult.At about age 14, I decided to start putting what I had learned from witchcraft books to use in the paranormal. Started investigating graveyards and exploring abandoned buildings. As I met more people in the paranormal I started to learn about EVP and started getting into the tech modern investigators use.I have not investigated any of the more famous haunts unless you count Ft. Knox, ME or what was once known as The Poet’s Loft in Hot Springs, the latter used to be a hangout of mine.Currently I am an unemployed chef seeking employment due to binary pulmonary embolism I had about 6 months ago and doing landscaping work until then.

That’s about all I can think to say. Let me know if I need to include anything? Thank you.
Jamie Harris

Latest posts by Jamie Harris (see all)

topconThe Topcon RE Super, or Beseler Topcon Super D in USA, was launched by Tokyo Kogaku KK in 1963 and manufactured until 1971, at which point it was upgraded to the Super D and again to Super DM the following year. General sale continued for several years. These later models have a shutter release lock lever on the shutter release collar. It is a professional oriented 35mm SLR camera that had a comprehensive range of accessories available. It has a removable pentaprism finder and focusing screen. It features the Exakta bayonet lens mount for interchangeable lenses. A special accessory shoe is situated at the base of the rewind knob with a standard PC sync. contact next to it. The release button is placed at the right-hand camera front, but it lacks a mirror-up facility. This was included on the upgraded versions. The standard lens is the RE. Auto-Topcor 1:1.4 f=5.8cm or the slightly slower 1:1.8 version. A battery-operated winder to be attached to the camera base was made available.

Some common features of 35mm SLR photography were first seen on the Topcon RE Super. Among these is the through-the-lens exposure metering. This enabled improved exposure accuracy, especially in close-up macro photography using bellows or extension rings, and in telephotography with long lenses. In addition to this feature, the metering is at full aperture. For this purpose the RE-lensese have an aperture simulator that relays the preset aperture to the exposure meter at full aperture, retaining a bright viewfinder image while determining the correct exposure, avoiding the stop-down method. The meter also works independently of the pentaprism finder, which allows for different viewfinder configurations. The meter cell is actually incorporated in the camera’s reflex finder mirror. This was accomplished by milling narrow slits in the mirror surface letting a fraction of the light through to the CdS cell placed just behind it.

Jan 30

Contax N Digital

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

Alternate Assistant Director - Div 5 at National Paranormal Society
Was born in Portland, OR in 1977. Moved to Laramie, Wyoming until six years old and then moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas until I got out of high school.Have been interested in the paranormal since I learned to use a card catalog. My first library book was about ghosts. Have always been drawn to the paranormal and occult.At about age 14, I decided to start putting what I had learned from witchcraft books to use in the paranormal. Started investigating graveyards and exploring abandoned buildings. As I met more people in the paranormal I started to learn about EVP and started getting into the tech modern investigators use.I have not investigated any of the more famous haunts unless you count Ft. Knox, ME or what was once known as The Poet’s Loft in Hot Springs, the latter used to be a hangout of mine.Currently I am an unemployed chef seeking employment due to binary pulmonary embolism I had about 6 months ago and doing landscaping work until then.

That’s about all I can think to say. Let me know if I need to include anything? Thank you.
Jamie Harris

Latest posts by Jamie Harris (see all)

contax

The Contax N Digital was a six-megapixel digital SLR camera produced by Contax in Japan. The camera was announced in late 2000, and began to be sold in spring 2002, after several delays. The camera received mixed reviews from the press, and was withdrawn from the market within a year of its introduction.

It was noteworthy for being the first full-frame digital SLR, with an imaging chip the full size of a 135 film frame. All previous digital SLRs had a smaller sensor, giving a cropped view. The imaging sensor was a Philips FTF3020-C, which had previously been used in the Jenoptik Eyelike medium format digital back. Pentax also planned to use the sensor in a full-frame digital SLR, the Pentax MZ-D, but abandoned work on the prototype in late 2001. The sensor featured ISO settings as low as ISO 25, but the reviews noted that it had a relatively high noise level above ISO 100. The next full-frame digital SLRs were the Canon EOS-1Ds of late 2002, followed by Kodak’s DCS Pro 14n in 2003. Nikon and Sony introduced full-frame models in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

The N Digital was based on the short-lived Contax N range of 35mm film SLRs, and used the Contax N-mount lens system. Nine lenses were produced for this mount, by Carl Zeiss. There were three Contax N-Mount cameras – two 35mm film SLR bodies, plus the N Digital – all of which are now discontinued.

Contax’s parent company Kyocera withdrew from the digital imaging market in 2005.

Jan 30

EOS D30

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

Alternate Assistant Director - Div 5 at National Paranormal Society
Was born in Portland, OR in 1977. Moved to Laramie, Wyoming until six years old and then moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas until I got out of high school.Have been interested in the paranormal since I learned to use a card catalog. My first library book was about ghosts. Have always been drawn to the paranormal and occult.At about age 14, I decided to start putting what I had learned from witchcraft books to use in the paranormal. Started investigating graveyards and exploring abandoned buildings. As I met more people in the paranormal I started to learn about EVP and started getting into the tech modern investigators use.I have not investigated any of the more famous haunts unless you count Ft. Knox, ME or what was once known as The Poet’s Loft in Hot Springs, the latter used to be a hangout of mine.Currently I am an unemployed chef seeking employment due to binary pulmonary embolism I had about 6 months ago and doing landscaping work until then.

That’s about all I can think to say. Let me know if I need to include anything? Thank you.
Jamie Harris

Latest posts by Jamie Harris (see all)

cano

The EOS D30 was announced, as the first digital SLR designed and produced entirely by Canon. Since 2005, all newly announced EOS cameras have used digital image sensors rather than film. The EOS line is still in production as Canon’s current digital SLR (DSLR) range, and, with the 2012 introduction of the Canon EOS M, Canon’s mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) system.

The acronym “EOS” was chosen for Eos, the Titan goddess of the dawn in Greek mythology, and is often pronounced as a word, although some spell out the letters, reading it as an initialism.

Jan 28

Photography Tips for Taking Snaps of the Paranormal

w1by Virginia Carraway Stark

Photographic evidence of the paranormal is sort of a holy grail of the paranormal world. If only I had my camera ready when I saw that- well, whatever it was you may or may not have seen. It’s become a bit of a joke, there’s a UFO landing and for whatever reason the only pictures of it are blurry beyond the point of recognition. Sasquatch, lochness monster, alien pictures by the score are blurred and poor quality it seems almost define pictures taken in the paranormal world. These poor quality pictures detract from proving the paranormal and contributes to the fringe nature of the paranormal.

One of the best things that you can do to help contribute to the use of photographic evidence in the paranormal is to learn how to take better pictures. Taking pictures has several parts to it. The first part is obviously: Your subject matter. If a cloud sort of looks like a face or you think you are seeing demons in flames you have to understw2and that this perception is not verifiable proof. Things look like other things to our minds. Humans are highly associative creatures and we look for patterns and for similarities. Clouds can look like elephants, angels, a laughing child or a demon from hell. This isn’t proof, it is an associative and creative mindset. If you want to prove something is paranormal then you are likely looking at capturing something like a Sasquatch or the lochness monster. These aren’t subjective to our brain’s interpretations of them, these are (in theory) animals that can be photographed the same way that your dog or cat can be photographed to prove that they exist.

Choose your subject matter wisely in order to lend credence to it. Streaks of light, bits of shadow, the fabled ‘orbs’ and many other so-called phenomenon result because of human error when using digital equipment or from bits of dust, debris and insects. These little bits of things reflect light or block light and so they come off as looking very different on camera than they do in real life. You might not have any idea that a fly photo-bombed the adorable picture of your nephew and all that the eye of the camera picks of is a blaze of light where the insect reflected the light. This is an interesting effect but the truth of that matter is that it isn’t guardian angel or a bit of aura or a force of evil, it’s a bug. If we say every bug we see is something out of the ordinary then we cease to be truthfully seeking proof of the extraordinary.

w3w4w5

Our eyes may deceive us and a camera is merely a mechanical eye that can also be easily deceived. This is why it is so difficult to show people a picture and claim it as definitive proof. Special effects, apps and photo-shop all denigrate the integrity of photographs even further. Use integrity in you photos, never use apps or special effects to ‘augment’ your claims of the paranormal. Patience, integrity and diligence are the way to prove your claim.

The second most important part of a photograph is your equipment and your capabilities and understanding of the tools you are using. That is addressed in How to Hold a Camera and Other Tips for Taking Accurate Pictures of the Paranormal.

Jan 28

How to Hold a Camera and Other Tips for Taking Accurate Pictures of the Paranormal.

How to Hold a Camera and Other Tips for Taking Accurate Pictures of the Paranormal.
By Virginia Carraway Stark

Have you ever taken a picture and noticed a strange aura around your subject matter? Or perhaps seen something in the background that looked unmistakably (to your eye) like a spirit jetting through a doorway?

These are just a few examples of camera equipment not being used properly. Many people don’t realize that it is incredibly easy to shake or jostle a camera without realizing that your hands are unsteady. If at all possible simply use a tripod. Tripods are available for iphones and androids as well as for digital cameras. If you are holding your camera, hold it with both hands and cradle it in your hand to help provide a stable surface. This not only prevents strange effects that may mistakenly be assumed to be paranormal, it also makes your pictures of a higher quality and easier to see detail. Hold the camera closer to your body rather than at arms length for better pictures or rest your hand against a stable surface like a tree or a wall to help keep things in focus.

If you are using something other than you phone camera you may have to learn about shutter speeds and how they match with focal points on lenses. These can distort the picture if poorly matched and create eerie effects.

Another tip to keep in mind is what filter you use. If you can only buy one filter, buy a polarizing filter. These filters are designed to keep glare down from water and other shiny, reflective surfaces that can cause false halos and make bugs or dust glow like orbs.

Here’s a simple trick: avoid using your flash. Never use your flash outdoors. It is unnecessary and creates false shadows that can make the eye interpret those shadows as faces or forms. Even indoors flashes make things look stark and unreal and can create odd optical illusions that can cause confusion rather than confirmation of the paranormal.

Prevent what looks like motion by not moving your camera rapidly. Moving the camera is a way that professional photographers use to induce the appearance of motion and getting excited and moving the camera to follow something can create the image of a fast moving ‘something’ in the picture. Don’t be fooled, you’re only fooling yourself in thinking you are seeing something extraordinary in your own error.

A responsible way to get to know your equipment is to play around with it. See how it makes it look when you play with the flash, movement, shaking and shutter speed if you are using a camera where you can adjust things like that. Learn what is natural and reproduceable and what is extraordinary before jumping to conclusions that every streak, glare or movement has a paranormal origin. Sometimes a dust mote is just a mote.

Jan 28

Box Tengor

Andrew Alvarez

Andrew Alvarez

Representative - Division 3 at National Paranormal Society
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.
Andrew Alvarez

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

Jan 26

Hasselblad 1600F

haSSCamera : Hasselblad 1600F Focal Plane Shutter SLR
Manufacturer : Hasselblad
Date : 1948-1952
NATIONALITY: U.S.
PLACE MANUFACTURED: NY
FILM TYPE: 120 rollfilm
IMAGE SIZE: 6 X 6 in
ORIGINAL PRICE: $300-$400
STANDARD LENSES/SHUTTERS:
2.8/80mm lens supplied by Kodak for the US market fitted at arrival, but later also Zeiss lenses became available. The Kodak Ektar 3.5/135mm was also available from early on.
It is a focal plane shutter SLR camera taking 6×6 images on type 120 film. It was a revolutionary concept at the time of introduction, being of a modular design having interchangeable lens, viewfinder and film magazine. The shutter curtains are made of corrugated stainless steel foil which is light and durable enough to withstand the high acceleration forces present in this exceptionally fast shutter. The interchangeable magazine allows fast film changing, also in mid-film, without losing a single frame by inserting a magazine.
• The First 269 camera was simply known as the “Hasselblad Camera”. The remaining examples of these are extremely rare since 153 were withdrawn and scrapped due to the problematic shutter design.
• In 1950 1600F was added to the camera name, “1600” indicating the highest shutter speed of 1/1600 sec. and “F” the focal plane shutter. Currently functional cameras are somewhat scarce due to the fragile shutter.
It should be noted that the camera must be wound on before changing the shutter speed setting or removing the magazine, in order to prevent damage and malfunction! Note also that when a magazine, with the dark slide in place, is on the camera, the shutter can’t be released. The magazine should be stored without a dark slide inserted to preserve the properties of the light aligning fabric in the dark slide slit.

Source:  

http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/   (Medium Format Photography Megasite)

Jan 26

Folding Pocket Kodak

yhtrCamera : Folding Pocket Kodak
Manufacturer : Eastman Kodak
Date : 1903-1915
NATIONALITY: U.S.
PLACE MANUFACTURED: Rochester NY
FILM TYPE: 122 rollfilm
IMAGE SIZE: 2¼ x 4¼in
ORIGINAL PRICE: $78
STANDARD LENSES/SHUTTERS:
Lens, Achromatic 105mm f/11, Shutter, Pocket Automatic, speeds I, B, T

Kodak produced seven models of the 3A Folding Pocket Kodak (thankfully abbreviated as 3A FPK). The models were known as B, B-2, B-3, B-4, B-5, C and G. The F.P.K. Automatic shutter was equipped with a pneumatic release. The original rubber hose and squeeze ball are still attached to the pneumatic cylinder. The shutter has one instantaneous speed plus time and bulb. The pneumatic release can prevent camera shake when using the time and bulb settings. The rubber hose and bulb are removable, but because of their size, they could also be left permanently attached, as they do not interfere with closing the camera. The 3A FPK created 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch postcard format images on Kodak 122 roll film. Kodak 122 film was first introduced for use in the 3A FPK and was available in four, six or ten exposure lengths.

Closed, the 3A FPK measures 9 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 1 7/8 inches. Kodak advertised this camera as fitting neatly in an “ordinary top-coat pocket”. Well, fashion is fickle. I think I’ll just carry my camera around in its fitted leather case. Californians don’t own top-coats, and none of my Levis have what you would call a roomy pocket. When introduced, the 3A FPK, fitted with Kodak’s top-of-the-line lens and shutter was priced as high as 78 US dollars. Seventy eight 1903 dollars placed the 3A FPK in Kodak’s top pricing tier. A variety of lens and shutter combinations were available for this camera. A 1912 Eastman Kodak catalog prices the 3A FPK with Kodak Ball Bearing shutter at 20 dollars, with Kodak Automatic shutter at 25 dollars and with Compound shutter and Zeiss Kodak anastigmatic lens at 61.40 dollars.

Soucre

http://www.vintagephoto.tv/3afpk.shtml .
Several other websites for Camera Data were used as well.

Jan 26

Kodak 110 Instamatic

21689_10206125449232372_5984037301965549264_nCamera : Kodak 110 Instamatic
Manufacturer : Hasselblad
Date : 1948-1952
NATIONALITY: U.S.
PLACE MANUFACTURED: NY
FILM TYPE: 110 Cartridge
IMAGE SIZE: 13 X 17 mm
ORIGINAL PRICE: $28 for Model 20
STANDARD LENSES/SHUTTERS:
25mm (f11.0), (1/1) fixed-focus lens, mechanical shutter with speed of 1/90, basic flash-cube compatibility, and no exposure control

In 1972, Kodak introduced the Pocket Instamatic series for its new 110 format. The 110 cartridge had the same easy-load design as the 126 format but was much smaller, allowing the cameras to be very compact (hence the “Pocket” designation). The top-of-the-line model was the Pocket Instamatic 60, which featured a stainless steel body, rangefinder, and automatic exposure. More than 25 million Pocket Instamatics were produced in under three years, and the 110 format remained popular into the 1990s. However the small negative size limited quality when using the film emulsion of the period, although in practice most prints were small so this was not as apparent until they were ‘blown up’ to a larger size.

A new series of Instamatics was introduced in 1970 to take advantage of the new Magicube flash technology. Magicubes used mechanically triggered pyrotechnic detonators for each bulb, an improvement over flashcubes in that the need for batteries was eliminated. Instamatics with Magicube sockets were denoted by an “X” in the model number.

Source:

Wiki and http://www.lomography.com/magazine/178694-iconic-110-cameras-kodak-pocket-instamatic

Jan 22

Orbs, shutter speed, and dust

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

dubgAs an amateur digital photographer, putting a camera onto “Automatic” and just pressing the button is an amazing experience. With this little piece of technology, we can save all of the lights and colors that make up our visual experience of that moment and put it on to our computer to hold for virtually forever without needing to be a photographer or engineer to understand how a picture is taken. The problem is, every once in a while, something strange “comes up” in a photo and we are left to wonder why it happened. Photos with orbs, light rays, and blur, often show up on our facebook site and people often ask us, “Is this paranormal”?

As amateur photographers, it is important to know about three main settings that affect how a digital camera captures a picture. The three main settings are: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. In this week’s segment, I want to focus specifically on shutter speed.

What is a shutter? A shutter is a device that blocks light from the sensor when closed and move out of the way to let light accumulate on the sensor while open. In some cameras, this is a mechanical device, in others, it is an electronic device (Chaney, 2014). How a shutter functions depends on the type of sensor your phone or camera has. Modern progressive CCD sensors use a mechanical shutter and “after exposure, all of the pixels are shifted to out of the sensor by being passed in a bucked brigade fashion from pixel to pixel. Thus, it is essential that while shifting the image out of the sensor, one must put the sensor in the dark so as to not confuse the image” (Caspe, 2014). For CMOS sensors, like the Iphone, use the following, “each column of pixels can be independently reset to zero and allowed, after the reset, to integrate the light hitting it. As well, each column can be instantaneously read out, effectively ending the exposure time for that column. The method used for controlling the exposure is to reset a column, and then to wait the exposure time and finally to read out the accumulated values of that column.” (Caspe, 2014).

Before we fast-forward to paranormal, let’s look at a daylight-nature scene. The following two pictures are provided in the article, Simple solutions to master your new DSLR. The author gives the following practical advice and two example photos. If you want to freeze subjects in motion, such as sports or wildlife, set a fast shutter speed (eg 1/500 sec or 1/1000 sec). If you want to capture motion over time, you would set a slow shutter speed (Meyer, 2014). You can see the effects of slow and fast shutter speeds on the movement of the water and clouds.

Now let’s apply this knowledge to paranormal investigations. Typically these photos want a somewhat wide field of view (a whole room as opposed to a single object) and are shot at night or in dark rooms with a flash. In this case, dust, bugs, and other objects with physical qualities that may not be visible due to their size are captured by the camera sensor as light from the flash hits them. Dust and bugs are in constant motion and do not stay still, thus, our shutter speed can change how the image of them is stored. A typical orb can be created with a fast shutter speed that quickly catches the light bouncing off of the object and a slow shutter speed will capture a longer streak of light tracing the motion of the object through the picture. The myth about “clean edges” or wobbly edges most likely has to do with shutter speed creating blur.

For other non-orb effects, here are some final thoughts from Caspe about effects of shutter speed: in a normally lit picture, a slow shutter speed can cause, “distortion of the image in the form of either a wave or elongation of the object” and images being shot with a flash, a shutter speed that is too fast will cause a blurred secondary Image. (Caspe, 2014). This explanation can describe various streaks of light and blurred objects in paranormal photos.

Here is a picture that I took at Rolling Hills in East Bethany, NY. Do you think I took this picture using a fast shutter speed or a slow shutter speed? How do you think the blur of light may have been created?

Works Cited
Caspe, B. (n.d.). How an electronic shutter works in a CMOS camera. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from http://caspegroup.com/How an electronic shutter works in a CMOS camera.pdf

Chaney, M. (n.d.). Why Digital Cameras Have Mechanical Shutters. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/why-digital-cameras-have-mechanical-shutters.html#b

Meyer, J. (n.d.). First camera crash course: Simple solutions to master your new DSLR. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/06/25/first-camera-crash-course-simple-solutions-for-mastering-your-new-dslr/4/

Jan 22

The Illusion of Motion – Dust and Bug Tails

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

One of the questions that is brought up in paranormal circles is, “If this picture is a bug/dust why does it have a tail?” To answer that question I’m going to describe two scientific phenomena that occur in video and in still photography (as they are related).

A while back, I wrote an article on still photography and shutter speed (https://www.facebook.com/…/nationalparanormalsocie…/search/…, shutter speed, and dust Sanfratello). To capture the illusion of motion in photography, we utilize a slow shutter speed (typically between 1s to 1/15 of a second) to capture the illusion of motion by creating “blur”. The waterfall gif (http://en.wikipedia.org/wi…/File:Shutter_speed_waterfall.gif) shows water moving over a small waterfall and indicates the shutter speed used in the lower right hand corner. Notice thatd1 as the value gets closer to 1 second (1/800, then 1/200, then 1/30 then ⅓ then 1 from fastest to slowest), you can see fewer individual drops and the water drops appear to become a solid sheet. In fact, the waterfall volume/rate did not change. The light sensor on the camera is simply capturing more more light as it is staying open longer (think about playing peekaboo with a kid and opening and closing your hands fast versus slow, the slower you close them, the more you see).

In your basic camera/phone, “automatic” settings will use a slower shutter speed in low-light situation (so that the camera can capture more light and show more in a dark shot). In the case of our dust orb in motion, if the dust is close to the lens, it will appear to be a larger streak moving across most of the picture. Further from the lens, you will see a shorter line. The following two photos of a purple light were taken in a “haunted” park near Rochester, NY. Both photos were taken by the same person (a member of my team) seconds after each other. What do you think this strange bar of purple light is? I will give you a hint, it is not paranormal.

Now that you have seen how slow shutter speeds can create the illusion of motion on a still photo, let’s examine d2the science behind video capture and motion. Remember that I said they are related!

Video (film and digital) is created by stringing together a series of still pictures. In the early days of film, filmmakers created film at 24 frames per second. Video games run typically between 30 and 60 frames per second, but why does our brain perceive motion if in fact, all we are seeing are a number of still pictures?

According to Paul Bakaus (Google Developer), there are two reasons why our brain perceives motion from still photos. Persistence of vision is a phenomena where our retina retains part of a visual image (for approximately 40 ms) and reduces our perception of “flicker” between switching stills; however, the Phi Phenomena allows our brain to “fill-in-the-gaps” and perceive stills that capture motion as motion when displayed at a high enough frame rate (Bakaus, 2014).

Observe the following video showing frame rates of 24 fps and 60fps. http://paulbakaus.com/wp-conte…/uploads/2014/…/60vs24fps.mp4 Do you see a difference in motion between these two frame rates? Does the lower frame rate of 24fps appear to have a slight tail?

Would would the effect be if the object in motion was close to the lens? What would the visual effect be if the object was moving faster or slower?

Works Cited

Bakaus, P. (2014, May 21). The Illusion of Motion. Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://paulbakaus.com/t…/performance/the-illusion-of-motion/

Sanfratello, S. (2014, October 20). Orbs, shutter speed, and dusts. Retrieved November 9, 2014, from https://www.facebook.com/…/nationalparanormalsocie…/search/…, shutter speed, and dust.

Jan 22

What is an aperture setting and what does it do?

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

aoper

In my previous article, dust, shutter speeds, and orbs, I talked about the function of the shutter. The aperture is simply an opening in the lens that gives you a different way to control how much light hits the sensor. In a camera, “When you hit the shutter release button of your camera a hole opens up that allows your cameras image sensor to catch a glimpse of the scene you’re wanting to capture. The aperture that you set impacts the size of that hole. The larger the hole the more light that gets in – the smaller the hole the less light.” (Rowse).

123

 

Wow, that is pretty abstract what does that mean for an amateur or paranormal photographer? Aperture affects the depth of field (how much of the shot is in focus). A “large depth of field means that most of your image will be in focus whether it’s close to your camera or far away” (Rowse). The picture of the flowers with the clear, crisp green fern in the background utilizes an f/22 setting. In contrast, “Small or shallow depth of field means that only part of the image will be in focus and the rest will be fuzzy” (Rowse). The second picture of the flower where it is hard to discern what is in the background uses an f/2.8 setting.

Remember that a digital camera works by exposing light to the camera’s sensor. The following table shows you how aperture and shutter speed values can differ to allow the same amount of exposure (McHugh):

Screenshot_27

Why are lenses and apertures important to know about? Simply put, “ While zoom lenses give you the flexibility to zoom in and out (most point and shoot cameras have zoom lenses) without having to move closer or away from the subject, fixed or prime lenses only have one focal length…. many of the consumer lenses have variable apertures. What it means, is that when you are fully zoomed out, the aperture is one number, while zooming in will increase the f-number to a higher number… The heavy, professional zoom lenses, on the other hand, typically have fixed apertures… “ (Mansurov, 2009).

In short, when taking photographs, decide what is important to capture. Are you looking to capture motion (crisp versus blurry think shutter speed), are you looking to capture a lot close and distant detail (think deep depth of field, small aperture f/11, f16, f22) , or are you looking to capture a small close up in detail and blur the background (f/2.8, f4, f5.6) or are you looking to capture a balanced depth of field?

The attached quick aperture reference guide is courtesy of JMeyer @ http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/…/free-f-stop-chart-mast…/

Works Cited
Mansurov, N. (2009, December 19). Understanding Aperture – A Beginner’s Guide. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from https://photographylife.com/what-is-aperture-in-photography

Meyer, J. (2012, March 17). Free f-stop chart: Master your aperture | Digital Camera World. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/…/free-f-stop-chart-mast…/

McHugh, S. (n.d.). CAMERA EXPOSURE. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutori…/camera-exposure.htm

Rowse, D. (n.d.). Introduction to Aperture – Digital Photography School. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://digital-photography-school.com/aperture/

Jan 22

ISO and what does it mean for cameras?

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

 

What exactly is ISO and why is it important in photography? ISO is an “indication of how sensitive a film was to light. It was measured in numbers (you’ve probably seen them on films – 100, 200, 400, 800 etc). The lower the number the lower the sensitivity of the film and the finer the grain in the shots you’re taking” (Rowse). The numbers themselves are also significant. Each time you double the ISO number, you need 1/2 as much light (assuming the same aperture/shutter speeds). The Nikon (camera manufacturer) website provides the following example: “So if you had a shutter speed of 1/250 at 200 ISO, going to 400 ISO would let you get the same exposure at 1/500 second (providing the aperture remains unchanged). This is why high ISOs are so often used indoors, especially at sporting events. Needing a fast shutter speed to stop action, photographers regularly choose ISO 1600 or above” (Nikon).

Rowse provides 2 example photos of the same object at 100 and 3200 ISO settings. I have modified these pictures to create a side-by-side comparison with the ISO speeds in white text.

Notice how the 3200 ISO has an increased “grainy” quality and that it appears to be brighter than the 100 ISO equivalent. The increased sensitivity to light on automatic settings will allow for recalculations on aperture and shutter speed. According to Rowse, “When you do override your camera and choose a specific ISO you’ll notice that it impacts the aperture and shutter speed needed for a well exposed shot. For example – if you bumped your ISO up from 100 to 400 you’ll notice that you can shoot at higher shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures” (Rowse).

As a general rule of thumb, ISO is one of the last things you will want to adjust when taking pictures. Think of a film camera, the photographer wouldn’t change out rolls of film with every shot! When we use our digital camera, we need to keep in mind: “When you increase the ISO setting, you’re not really making it more sensitive to light, you’re simply amplifying the light values it’s managed to capture…Usually, you don’t see it because it’s faint compared to the light falling on the sensor, but when you increase the ISO, you amplify it, and it shows up as a kind of random speckling. The higher the ISO, the worse the noise” (Meyer). A good rule of thumb is to try different aperture settings and shutter speed settings before adjusting your ISO sensitivity.

Works Cited
Meyer, J. (2014, February 18). What is ISO: Camera sensitivity settings (and the best ways to use them) | Digital Camera World. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2014/02/19/what-is-iso-camera-sensitivity-settings-and-the-best-ways-to-use-them/

Nikon. Understanding ISO Sensitivity. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/g9mqnyb1/understanding-iso-sensitivity.html

Rowse, D. (n.d.). ISO Settings in Digital Photography. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://digital-photography-school.com/iso-settings/

Rowse, D. ISO Settings in Digital Photography. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://digital-photography-school.com/iso-settings

 

Jan 20

Fuji MX-2700

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

fujiCamera : Fuji MX-2700
Manufacturer : Fuji
Date : 1999
NATIONALITY: Japan
FILM TYPE: CCD Digital
IMAGE SIZE: 2.3 MegaPixel 6”x4” @ 300dpi
STANDARD LENSES/SHUTTERS: 35MM equivalent @ f3.2/8

The Fuji MX-2700 was the first 2.3 MegaPixel digital camera and what made it unique was it’s relatively small form-factor. This camera featured a number of advanced technologies including 2 RISC processors to process and store digital images. Cameras in this range were capable of producing photographic or near photographic quality at 300 dpi. The following are specs provided by the manufacturer’s brochure (and is available for download @ http://www.fujifilmusa.com/shared/bin/MX-2700_Brochure)

CCD sensor 1/1.7-inch CCD with 2.3 million square pixels
Resolution 1,800 × 1,200 / 640 × 480 pixels
File format JPEG (Exif) Storage media SmartMedia™ Card MG-4S, MG-8S, MG-16S, MG-32S Data compression JPEG standard (Exif)
Lens focal length Equivalent to 35 mm on a 35 mm camera
Focus distance 9 cm (3.5 in.) to infinity
Aperture 2 steps (F3.2/8)
Exposure control Programmed AE White balance Automatic/Manual (5 modes)
Flash Built-in Auto Flash with range of approx. 2.5 m/8.2 ft.
Digital interface RS-232C Video output NTSC/PAL
LCD monitor 2-inch LCD monitor made of low-temperature polysilicon
Power source Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Dimensions 80 (W) × 97.6 (H) × 33 (D) mm / 3.1 (W) × 3.8 (H) × 1.3 (D) in. Weight 240 g / 8.5 oz. (excluding battery)

Jan 20

Rolleiflex

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

rollCamera : Rolleiflex
Manufacturer : Franke & Heidecke
Date : 1929-1932
NATIONALITY: German
PLACE MANUFACTURED: Germany, Braunschweig
FILM TYPE: 117 rollfilm
IMAGE SIZE: 2¼ x 2¼in.
ORIGINAL PRICE: $75.00 ($75 in 1930 is $1,023.88 in 2015)
FUNCTIONAL TYPE: 120 TLR
STANDARD LENSES/SHUTTERS:
75mm Zeiss Tessar f/3.8
75mm Zeiss Tessar f/4.5

In 1889 Thomas Edison, while working on equipment that might be used to photograph moving pictures, approached George Eastman for some of his new flexible film. The 2 3/4 inches (70 mm) wide Kodak roll-film was slit down the middle, making it 1 3/8 inches (35 mm) and sprocket holes were punched down each side for film transportation through the movie camera. By the First World War this film had become the standard for movie pictures. Several camera manufacturers attempted to use this readily available film stock but the cameras were not of a high enough quality to satisfactorily record images on this small film size.

Works Cited
http://www.ted.photographer.org.uk/camera_designs_2.htm
http://www.geh.org/fm/Mees/htmlsrc/mf82900001_ful.html

Jan 20

Kodak DCS 420

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://en.wikipedia.org

knik

The Kodak DCS 420 manufactured in 1994 was a 1.2-megapixel digital SLR based on a Nikon F90body.

The Kodak Digital Camera System is a series of digital single-lens reflex cameras and digital camera backs that were released by Kodakin the 1990s and 2000s, and discontinued in 2005. They were all based on existing 35mm film SLRs from Nikon and Canon. The range included the original Kodak DCS, the very first commercially available digital SLR

Specs

  • Image storage on removable PC cards,Type III
    12 bits/color
  • 14 mm x 9.3 imager magnifies focal length of the lens 2.5X SCSI interface
  • ISO-equivalent settings of 100 to 400 for color model, 200 to 800 for monochrome model
  • Burst rate of 2 images/second for 5 images, enabling 5 images in just over 2 seconds from camera to capture
  • Records approximately 400 images per battery charge, with 1 hour to recharge, or unlimited number with AC battery adapter/charger
  • AC adapter/charger power requirements: 50/60 Hz, 110, 120, 220, 240 V AC
  • Size: 6.7 in. W x 4.5 in. D x 8.2 in. H (170 mm x 114 mm x 208 mm)
  • Weight (without lens): 3.75 lbs. (170 kg)
  • Certified FCC Class B, UL, CSA, TUV

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodak_DCS

Specs: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/service/professional/products/ekn017457.jhtml

Jan 20

Fuji Quicksnap

Courtesy of: http://www.ted.photographer.org.uk/

fug

In 1987 both Kodak and Fuji introduced novel disposable cameras, the Kodak Fling and Fuji Quicksnap. Both were sold in foil wrappers ready loaded with film, the complete camera being given to the film processor after exposure.

Source:

http://www.ted.photographer.org.uk/camera_designs_3.htm

 

Jan 20

Minolta Disc-7

April Abercrombie

April Abercrombie

I was Case Manager for Denver Paranormal Research Society for nearly 4 years. While on the team, I primarily conducted investigations for clients of their private residences. I have since left Denver Paranormal to pursue my own research and conduct investigations of haunted locations. I now focus mostly on historical places.
April Abercrombie

Latest posts by April Abercrombie (see all)

Courtesy of:  http://camerapedia.wikia.com

cour

The Minolta Disc-7 manufactured in 1984 was one of the better cameras designed for disc film. In common with other disc cameras, the Minolta had a flat, compact design, but a limited range of photographic features. The lens was fixed-focus, although it had a macro mode, and there were just two shutter speeds.

The Disc-7 had one remarkable feature which stood it apart from other disc cameras. In the center of the front plate was a small convex mirror, which could be used by the photographer to compose a self-portrait. The tiltable, telescoping carrying strap was used as a focusing aid, as its length corresponded with the optimal focus distance of the macro lens – a similar focusing system was later used by Olympus for the Olympus XA4 Macro.

Specs
Type: compact camera
Manufacturer: Minolta
Year of release: 1983 Films: disc film with speed 200 ASA
Lens: 1:2.8/12.5mm Shutter: speeds 1/100 and 1/200 sec.
Aperture: CdS-controlled
Self-timer: with control LED
Flash: guide number 9
Weight: 200g dimensions: 129.5×78×21mm
Power: lithium batteries which have to be replaced by the manufacturer

The Minolta ac 301 Courrèges was designed in conjunction with French fashion house André Courrèges.[1] It carried the Courrèges logo, with a cream-white front, a gold-coloured frame, and an attractive soft case. A similar exercise was carried out with the Minolta Disc-5, which became the Minolta ac 101 Courrèges.

Source:

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Minolta_Disc-7

Jan 20

Nikon L135AF

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

Latest posts by Samuel Sanfratello (see all)

nikCamera : Nikon L135AF
Manufacturer : Nikon
Date : 1984-?
NATIONALITY: Japan
FILM TYPE: 35MM – strips 34.98 ±0.03 mm (1.377 ±0.001 inches) wide
IMAGE SIZE:
ORIGINAL PRICE:
STANDARD LENSES/SHUTTERS:
LS camera with 35mm f/3.5 lens and a built-in barrier-type lens cap

The Nikon L135AF was the second mass production Nikon compact model and had auto-focus capability. The lens that came with the camera was a fixed type Nikon 35mm f/3.5. It had a manual flash with an override for turning the flash to off. This camera flash is powered by AA batteries and was in an affordable price range when it was released.

Jan 04

The Canon A-1

Courtesy of:  http://en.wikipedia.org

canonThe Canon A-1 was manufactured by Canon Camera K.K., in Japan from April 1978 – 1985. It is an advanced level single-lens reflex 35 mm camera for use with interchangeable lenses.

The Canon A-1 was the first SLR to offer an electronically controlled programmed auto exposure mode. The A-1 has a microprocessor programmed to automatically select a compromise exposure based on light meter input.

Maker Cannon Camera K. K.
Type 35 mm SLR
Dates April 1978 – 1985
Shutter Speed 30 s to 1/1000 s
Focus Manual
Flash Hot Shoe

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_A-1

Jan 01

1850’s to 1950’s Photoshop before Photoshop

Courtesy of:  http://mashable.com

Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884) Cloud Study, Light-Dark 1856-57

1856-57

“Cloud Study, Light-Dark,” Gustave Le Gray. Two separate negatives (the sky and the sea) are joined at the horizon. This enabled Le Gray to balance two different exposure levels.

Unidentified American artist Two-Headed Man ca. 1855

c. 1855

“Two-Headed Man,” unidentified American artist

George Washington Wilson (Scottish, 1823-1893) Aberdeen Portraits No. 1 1857

1857

“Aberdeen Portraits No. 1,” by George Washington Wilson

Almost as soon as the science of photography was perfected for use by the general public, artists and others began to manipulate the images. Beginning with daguerrotypes, photographers used double exposures to create humorous effects.

Photo manipulation was soon employed in numerous ways, as early photography had several limitations. Correct exposures in landscape photography often led to the sky being overexposed, for example. To circumnavigate this, photographers combined two images, each section with the correct exposure.

“Spirit” photography used multiple exposures to depict the medium or subject with ghostly presences in the same image.

Photo manipulation could illustrate concepts, such as the proposal to allow airships to dock at the top of the Empire State building.

The advertising industry used it to improve the appearance of products.

The artistic community also took up photo manipulation, for instance, with the creation of narrative images. Later it was adopted by the constructivist movement in Russia in the 1920s, and then again by the surrealists.

Henry Peach Robinson (English, 1830-1901) Fading Away 1858

1858

“Fading Away,” Henry Peach Robinson. Constructed by Robinson from five individual negatives. It was a favourite of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, who bought a print and placed a standing order for all further composite images produced by Robinson.

Particularly controversial was the use of photo manipulation for political purposes or propaganda. Notable dictators such as Stalin erased political opponents from the historical record, or fabricated meetings that had never taken place.

Today the photographic medium is digital, and photo manipulation is easily within the reach of the computer literate through software like Photoshop. Prior to 1985 it was not so simple. Photographs were retouched by hand using paint or ink, pieced together in the darkroom from separate photographs. Airbrushing as a term is still in use today, though the technique originated much earlier.

All these required a degree of artistic skill and, for some, access to a darkroom.

Photoshop-land-II

c. 1901

“Spirit” photograph, John K. Hallowell, Chicago, Illinois. Supposedly taken during a seance, actually a double exposure or composite of superimposed cutouts, showing woman, half-length, with head-and-shoulders portraits of men and women around her head.

Maurice Guibert (French, 1856-1913) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model ca. 1900

c. 1900

“Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as artist and model,” Maurice Guibert

Unidentified French artist Published by Allain de Torbéchet et Cie. Man Juggling His Own Head ca. 1880

c. 1880

“Man juggling his own head,” unidentified French artist

F. Holland Day (American, 1864-1933) The Vision (Orpheus Scene) 1907

1907

“The Vision (Orpheus Scene),” F. Holland Day

Photoshop-land

c. 1902

“General Grant at City Point,” Levin Corbin. This photograph is a montage or composite of several images and does not actually show General Ulysses S. Grant at City Point. Three photos provided different parts of the portrait: the head, from Grant at his Cold Harbor, Virginia headquarters; the horse and man’s body, from Maj. Gen. Alexander McDowell McCook; and the background, from Confederate prisoners captured in the battle of Fisher’s Hill, Virginia.

William Henry Jackson (American, 1843-1942) Unidentified artist at Detroit Publishing Company Colorado Springs, Colorado ca. 1913

c. 1913

“Colorado Springs, Colorado,” William Henry Jackson / unidentified artist at Detroit Publishing Company

Unidentified German artist A Powerful Collision 1914

1914

“A powerful collision,” unidentified German artist. Postcard with an image of a German soldier crushing members of the Triple Entente, WWI.

Unidentified American artist Dirigible Docked on Empire State Building, New York 1930

1930

“Dirigible docked on Empire State Building, New York,” unidentified American artist

Maurice Tabard (French, 1897-1984) Room with Eye 1930

1930

“Room with eye,” Maurice Tabard

Unidentified American artist Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders ca. 1930

c. 1930

Man on rooftop with 11 men in formation on his shoulders

Grete Stern (Argentinian, born Germany, 1904-1999) Sueño No. 1: Articulos eléctricos para el hogar Dream No. 1: Electrical Appliances for the Home 1948

1948

“Dream No. 1: Electrical Appliances for the Home,” Grete Stern

Unidentified Russian artist Lenin and Stalin in Gorki in 1922 1949

1949

‘Lenin and Stalin in Gorki in 1922,” unidentified Russian artist. Although Stalin and Lenin met often, this image has been retouched to smooth Stalin’s skin and increase the length of his left arm.

Photoshop-land-7

1950

“Christmas Card,” Angus McBean. Photographer Angus McBean’s Christmas cards frequently feature whimsically photo-manipulated images, like this self-portrait.

Source:

http://mashable.com/2015/02/19/before-photoshop/

Dec 08

Introduction to Basic Camera Terms and Functions

10262131_10152702684934471_9033575469495657319_nI have been a Photographer for over 35 years. I have used Polaroid’s, Early Point and Shoot Film and Single Lens Reflex, Digital Point and Shoots, Cell Phones and now Full Frame DSLR’s. I have taken classes, researched, read books, and most of all, experimented and taken millions of photos. I have taken really crappy photos and some amazing photos and I have learned from each of them, and I am still learning.

So now it seems like everyone is using camera’s in the paranormal for either pre investigation or during the actual investigations. There are also those that take random pictures and see things in them that they cannot explain. Getting to know your camera, a Cell Camera, Point and Shoot or DSLR is an important part of determining what is going on with your pictures. It’s good to start with basic operation so that your photos will come out less blurry, with more vivid colors and little to no artifacting. I know I like my pictures to be as perfect as possible, under any condition, but remember, it’s not always possible for every picture to be perfect. Many natural things around you affect your shots, but you do have control over them to a certain extent.

The majority of people tend to use the Automatic setting on their camera, which is great for most shooting conditions, but will not always provide the best picture from your camera. It can be fooled, so sometimes it’s better to delve into the manual settings to get the best possible shot.

Just remember, on Auto Mode, these can all change from shot to shot, depending on what your camera senses when it tries to focus. Not all cameras are created equal; you may have more control of each of these from camera to camera in the Manual Mode. There are many other settings so I would suggest reading your owner’s manual or just researching on the internet or investing in a good book on photography. The big three in camera settings and the ones you’ll hear referred to the most are as follows.

ISO: What is ISO, in film photography is how sensitive film is to light. It is measured in numbers such as 100, 200, 400, 800 etc. The lower the number, the lower the sensitivity of the film to the light and the finer the grain in the shots you’re taking. In Digital Photography ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor to the surrounding light. The same idea as in film photography, the lower the number, the less sensitive the senor is to light, but you will get a much clearer picture as a result (Less Noise), especially when enlarged. So shooting at ISO 100 will give a much crisper image when enlarged than say ISO 400.

The ISO is also referred to as the film speed, the higher the ISO, the easier it is to capture moving objects, so an ISO of 800 would be used when photographing fast moving sporting events for instance, to get a nice stop action shot with little motion blur.

Again, this is something your camera will adjust for when in Auto Mode, so depending on the amount of light, this could change drastically, created blurred shots in very low light perhaps if it does not adjust with a higher ISO.

When shooting in low light, and on manual, the higher the ISO and the higher the Aperture and longer shutter speed, the better the shot will be. It’s possible you may not need a tripod (Although I would always recommend one unless you have Anti-Shake technology and a very high ISO capability). This does not mean you can take a shot with no light, handheld, but you can with a tripod and a very long shutter speed.

Aperture/F Stop: This is the opening in the lens. When you press your shutter release, a hole opens up in the lens, the wider the hole; the more light is let in. This hole is measured in F-Stops, for example f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 etc. These numbers may be a bit confusing though, since the smaller the number, the wider the aperture, or more light is let in.

The biggest result of changes in aperture is Depth of Field (DOF). What this means is that with a larger aperture, say f/22, more of the shot will be in focus, both objects up close and objects in the distance. Small Depth of Field means that only part of the image will be in focus, as in a flower shot, where most of the flower will be in focus (depending on how close the flower is) and the rest of the shot will be out of focus. When thinking about this in the paranormal world, and when shooting in Auto Mode, this could mean only certain objects will be in focus.

Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter is open, thereby letting in more light. It is measured in seconds, such as 1/100, 1/1000, 1 etc. This is one of the main items we talk about when looking at paranormal photo’s, as normally most shots will be in low light and the camera will be on Auto Mode. Under these circumstances, the camera will try to leave the shutter open longer, to let in more light. Unfortunately, what this will create is a blurry photo when not using a tripod. Even if the “Click” seems fast to you, the shutter is open long enough to feel the effects of hand movement, wind etc, which will cause a slight movement of the image on the sensor, thereby blurring the picture. It could be anything from a slight blur to a blur so bad as to cause the shot to be unrecognizable.

Manual Settings: So, with all that said, Auto Mode is great for shooting outdoors, in high light situations with most cell phones and point and shoots as well as Standard DSLR’s. But when it comes to low light, even with a flash, Auto can create many issues, due to the setting the camera decides to use. The best way to decide what manual settings to use is to experiment. Know your camera; know what settings work best under what conditions.

My personal preference is to only shoot pre investigation shots, to document the location and hopefully get some cool artsy shots as well. Due to all the issues explained above, I won’t shoot anything during the investigation, as it is usually in low light to no light. If you insist on doing so, always use a flash and a tripod at a minimum.

Dec 08

Stereo Weno

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins

stereowenoManufacturer: Blair Camera Co.
Date: 1902-1903

Stereoscopic photography was very popular in the 19th Century and various designs for cameras and viewers were made. The stereoscopic camera took two pictures from slightly different view points. An impression of a three dimensional image is created when these are viewed so that each eye only sees one photograph.

The Stereo Weno camera looks much like a pair of binoculars, or a kids “View Master” stereo slide viewer. Shortly after the Stereo Weno was produced, Blair Camera was taken over by Kodak.

Technical Description: Stereo Hawkeye camera, 1902-1903. Folding stereo camera for 3 1/2 inch wide rollfilm 2 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/8 inches. Paired Bausch and Lomb rapid rectilinear lenses, fixed aperture. T/I/B shutters, pneumatic release. Sliding focusing. Separate bellows, red. Brilliant reflecting finder and spirit level on baseboard. No. 3159. Blair camera co.

Nov 01

Blair Tourograph

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins
Blair Tourograph

Blair Tourograph

The Tourograph was introduced in 1878 by a man named Thomas Henry Blair and was initially produced and marketed by the Scovill Manufacturing Company through their American Optical Division. Later it would be owned and controlled by The Blair Tourograph Company. It contained everything needed for photographers to expose and develop wet collodion plates. Blair created it to be a complete portable photographic system.

When the first Tourograph was introduced it was during a time when the wet collodion method was ending. A new method was on the horizon that used dry gelatin plates and so Blair revamped the Tourograph to keep up with the newer technology. In 1880 the new version appeared and was a completely different design. Three versions of the newer Tourograph were produced and it was ultimately replaced in 1883 with the Lucidograph.

The Tourograph was designed to enclose all the workings needed inside the wood box that a photographer would need to take a picture and develop it. It was a little cumbersome to use as there were steps to take in physically manipulating the camera itself order to produce a picture.

To learn more about the details of the Tourograph, check out this link on the camera: http://www.antiquewoodcameras.com/tourogr1.html

Oct 05

iPhone 5 Purple Haze/Lens Flare Issue

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins

purple-flare-itpp_contentfullwidthLet’s talk photography today! More specifically, let’s talk about iPhones and the iPhone 5’s tendency to produce a purple haze on pictures.

How many of you iPhone 5 users have noticed a purple haze or additional lens flare in your pictures? We have certainly seen a few of them here on the NPS page over the last few months. There was enough concern over this happening on pictures (and not just those taken by paranormal researchers and investigators) that Apple finally addressed the issue in a public statement by stating the following:

“Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources. This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor. Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect.”

Knowing that this is an issue with the camera itself helps us debunk these purple hazes in our pictures and further shows that we should always look for a logical explanation in pictures rather than jumping to the conclusion that something is automatically paranormal.

To correct this issue, iCreateMagazine.com has provided an article giving step-by-step instructions to assist you with removing this purple haze. Click on this link to be taken to their website where the article is posted. http://www.icreatemagazine.com/tips/how-to-remove-lens-flare-from-iphone-photos-in-aperture/

To learn more about the purple haze issue, check out this article: http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/137547-why-the-iphone-5-camera-takes-purple-pictures-youre-holding-it-wrong

This article from PC Magazine even gives us a comparison of Apple vs Android when it comes to cell phone cameras and lens flare. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410272,00.asp

Oct 05

Voigtländer – The Daguerreotype-Apparat Camera and Petzval Lens

Sheri Collins

Sheri Collins

Assistant Executive Director Department Chair Investigation & Research Education Resource Photography & NPS Photography Team at NPS of Texas
Sheri has always had an interest in the paranormal – from watching different paranormal shows over the years to having déjà-vu experiences throughout all her life that she has tried to put an explanation to. When her dad passed away in March 2010she began her journey into the paranormal. She has had several encounters over the years since starting in the field & takes more of an “old school” approach to her research in the paranormal. She is a supporter of today’s modern technology being used on investigations & encourages the use of various tools on investigations. She is always looking for a new ‘old school’ method to try on investigations & employs the use of trigger objects in an effort to get a response. She became fascinated with the pendulum after using a set of original jailer’s keys as a trigger object on an investigation at a local historic jail & they began to sway in response to questions.She is a huge proponent of education in the paranormal field choosing to debunk things immediately by trying to recreate situations & experiment to find logical answers to things that have happened or been captured in photographs or on video in an effort to prove or disprove paranormal activity. She & her team focus on private residential cases as well as educating the public on paranormal investigation & research. You will often find them assisting & consulting with other teams on theircases. Sheri is a certified paralegal and Notary Public for the State of Texas. Her professional background includes working in the legal field, sports marketing, event coordination & business management. She serves as Assistant Executive Director of NPS and the Department Chair overseeing Photography and the NPS Photography Team. Sheri leads the Investigation & Research Education Resources for NPS which provides information, links, & articles surrounding education in the paranormal field. She also writes articles periodically for the NPS’ website that are tied to photography & education. She is one of the founders of NPS of Texas, a paranormal research & investigative team based out of Dallas, Texas.
Sheri Collins

In 1840 Johan Christoph Voigtländer’s optical company, Voigtländer, introduced the Petzval Portrait Lens. Founded in 1756, Voigtländer’s company is the oldest name in cameras. The Petzval Lens was developed based on analytical calculations and designed and calculated by mathematician Professor Jozef Maximillia