Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ghost Runners

My husband took some interesting photos a couple of years ago at cross country meets. Almost every image was a blur of motion. Some are actually quite beautiful. We never figured out exactly what he was doing wrong, because eventually, he got the hang of the thing and the blurry images stopped, but we still have quite a collection in iphoto.

This one has a ghostly image of a face left behind after the face itself was carried out of the frame of the shot.  This is not, of course, a ghost, but a runner, caught in the moment.  But, it leaves you wondering what photos of moving images people are mistaking as ghosts. I've seen pictures posted of ghosts, usually behind someone, with the same kind of streakiness that makes me wonder if a person didn't jump into the shot, unseen by the photographer and photographee and jump out again, leaving behind the blurry streaked hint of a face or a body.

I took this photo at a basketball game recently. It demonstrates how all or part of the body can seem to disappear when a person moves during a camera shot. Here, a couple of legs and one of the players are nearly transparent. Sometimes people say that they have caught evidence of a ghost because the image is "see-through." So are these guys, and they are as real as you or I.

I took this shot when a player tripped over his own foot and took a tumble practically at my feet. What you notice, of course, are the white swirls . . . not of energy, but areas of white in the shoes, socks and uniform, whose trail of movement has been recorded by the camera. How many people see something like this in an image and think they have caught an unseen entity swirling around a person, bits of energy or protoplasm? 

My images are highly blurry. I have other examples where the people are clearer, but I don't want to show anyone's face here. The same kinds of effects can be seen in photos where most of the people are in focus.

So, watch out for the people in the background that you didn't notice at the time, the floating hair that got caught in the flash, anything that might have been caused by some one or some thing moving. Don't let the ghost runners fool you. 

1 comment:

  1. This is part of the reason I loathe digital cameras: I can never get the shutter speed adjusted the same way as a regular 35mm! But yes, too many people misinterpret motion blurs as ghosts. Odds are if more than one thing is out of focus in a photo, it's just a glitch or error. Just another tricky issue with ruling out those pesky natural phenomena!!