Discussion on columns of light.

Today we would like to discuss the photos you have seen circulating around the internet that are alleged to be columns of light in the sky.

Very commonly, cell phone cameras have rolling shutters. When photo is snapped with a rolling shutter it scans whatever you are photographing one column at a time at a very high speed. When one happens to take a photo while lightning strikes, lighting up the sky, the shutter captures that split second in a column giving the photo the appearance that there is a column of light.

Lightning isn’t always responsible for these pillar like artifacts in photos. Sometimes this can occur with the camera flash or other camera flashes in settings where multiple people are taking photos. You probably have noticed several people arguing that the pillar of light is coming out of a cloud or out of a pyramid. This occurs when the flash of light is behind the object in question. As you can see in the photographs below this effect can be easily recreated.

Rolling shutters are also responsible for a lot of photos you may see with partial motion blur as well as the panorama is captured in columns.

–Photographs courtesy of Mick West.


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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