Canon Pro 90 IS, tripod
7mm at f2.8
8 seconds at ISO 100

Blinded with séance!


not a seance

Okay, this is NOT in any way a séance, but I think I'm going to enjoy the amount of people that arrive here looking for that in their searches. Let me get this out of the way right now: you're all fooling yourselves. Live in the real world. It's been proven to work.

What you're actually seeing here is an experimental shot. I was visiting friends one summer when the electrical load was too heavy for the city utilities, and we underwent several blackouts one evening. This didn't get in the way of our fun – we just went green, or in this case kind of reddish, and continued by candlelight. This particular pastime is a creative writing exercise where the participants add onto others' stories. This is the calm before laughing ourselves sick.

I had to see what kind of affect this would produce (the candlelight, I mean), and set up the camera on a time exposure. The blur is all caused by us refusing to hold still for the eight seconds that the shutter was open. And yes, I said "us" – that's me to the far right.

Much more entertaining, and useful, than a séance anyway. And nobody lost any money on bullshit!

But wait! There ARE spirits present! Look at the wall almost dead center of the photo, just to the right of the picture frame on the cabinet in the background! And there's another, on the arm of the guy in the back! And another, on the head of the guy to the left! They came! They came! And we weren't even trying...

Now, for giggles, plot a line between the "ghost" on the back wall, and the center of the bright candle in the center (in front of the water bottles). The starburst lines can help you find the center point of candlelight that you want. Draw another between the candle behind it and the "ghost" on the arm of the guy in the back. And draw a third between the candle in front of me (to the right) and the "ghost" on the head of the guy to the left. You'll see that they all cross at the same point. Or, if you like, I'll do it for you – see the red lines:

If you said, "Hey, we just plotted the optical center of the lens!" you're right! What you're seeing, remarkably aligned with the bright spots in the image, are internal lens reflections from those bright spots. This happens quite often, and is usually called "lens flare." It's the reason you should be using a lens hood, and avoiding very bright light hitting the lens. You can see another example here. On many cameras, they appear hexagonal shaped due to the shape of the iris aperture.

What's interesting is that it's offset to the side of the center of the image, plotted by the blue lines. Does this mean I'm wrong? Possibly, but the convergence of the three lines is pretty telling – what it most likely means is that the digital sensor (or the resulting image) is offset from center just a tad. Anyone want to tear apart a Pro 90 IS and see if this is the case?