Day 1 – Shutter speed & Light Streaks


I am going to start out today’s discussion borrowing from a great post by Anna Hill who shared some information borrowed from  Her text is below along with a link to the original site if you want to check out the other comments made.

“We often see, or are asked our opinions of photos that people suspect, are the products of paranormal activity…when in fact are easily explainable by someone with even mediocre photography experience.  While we understand that many people do not understand the “how’s or why’s” of the strange anomalies in photographs, we wish to educate the public and paranormal community.  With a little research, we can all recognize these occurrences.  Instead of typing this all out, I find this all worded perfectly here at the blog,  Please read on.

“It’s easy to use a wrong camera setting.  Your ISO for example in low light or darkness should be 400 or higher like 800 to 1600 if you have over a 12 mega pixel camera.  You can use a 100 ISO only if you’re shooting off a tripod in these conditions.  If you aren’t, you’ll get a longer shutter and movement.  You can also have your camera on automatic which causes your camera to struggle focusing in the low light and will give a blur.

“Now with the right ISO you still need to have the correct shutter speed or once again you will get movement and brighter objects will appear to be moving.  I suggest setting your camera to manual and adjust it for the average distance you’ll be shooting and keep it there.

“Shutter speeds; you can’t expect great shots when your shutter is open two seconds or longer:

  • 1/8000 will stop any motion
  • 1/4000 high enough speed to take pictures while walking
  • 1/2000 will stop most motion
  • 1/1000 will stop bicyclists and runners
  • 1/500 will freeze a person jumping in the air
  • 1/250 will stop some motion
  • 1/125 to avoid camera shake

“Speeds that blur motion; use a tripod for these speeds:

  • 1/60 slight blurring of motion
  • 1/30 very good speed to show a bit of blur when photographing dancers
  • 1/15 the blurring of motion becomes clearly evident
  • 1/8 the blurring motion becomes more pronounced
  • 1/4 the blurring of motion becomes extreme
  • 1/2 high speed motion begins to become invisible

This is when you start seeing see-thru figures

  • 1 medium speed motion begins to become invisible
  • 2 all motion begins to become invisible
  • 4 more motion begins to become invisible
  • 8 motion develops a fog-like quality
  • B this one allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you want

“Camera movement – this is a huge problem with paranormal photographers.  At night when your camera is set wrong you must listen closely to make sure your shutter opens and closes.  Just because the flash goes off doesn’t mean the picture is done.  Your shutter may remain open and when you move, add shadows and strange blurs to your shot.

“Dust or moisture – when dust or moisture is present expect to capture orbs.  These aren’t paranormal and have been shown you can eliminate them by moving your flash further from your lens, or by adding a shroud around the outside of your lens.

“EXIF information – digital cameras have what is called EXIF information on every picture.  If you have pictures not turning out then check your EXIF – this will give you the settings you are using.  Experiment with your camera and when you find EXIF settings that are perfect, write them down and use them all the time.

“By following a few small suggestions you can take better paranormal shots.  Also now if you catch something then we will be more apt to believe it when you have the correct settings.”

Original post located at:

To learn more about camera shutter speed, check out this article:

Here are a few samples showing controlled shutter speed to make artistic pictures that I found while searching on the internet.  Take a look at some of your pictures and see if you see anything similar.  If you do, chances are it was due to slow shutter speed and not something paranormal.