Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ghosts and Photography

Got a story!
Back in the day, photos of accidents and the deceased were common.
We can all probably dig into our grandparents old box of photos and come up with a pic of a deceased relative. My dad had a towing business and even back in the 40's & 50's photos of the accidents and the dead were actually published in the paper. In fact I have an entire scrap book devoted to my dad's towing career. The news media, back then, even published the deceased's race along with "male or female".
But I'm getting away from my story...
My husband had an uncle that was killed in a car accident...oooh..probably back in the 40's. Per the times, a photo was taken. (The above photo is not it...I just found one to show kind of what I'm talking about)
The family believed that the dead uncle's ghost was in the picture...and sure enough it looked like it. It was a source of conversation and speculation for years. All the siblings wanted that pic to the point of argument.
Today, I take a photography class. Last week's discussion was on shutter speed.
My instructor told how, back in those days, the shutter speed was so slow that often "ghost" appeared in the picture...a ha!!! What?? He stated that we can even create ghosts in photos by slowing down shutter speed.
What happens is when the shutter is open for such a long time, the camera captures everything in the scene. If someone happens to walk through this scene, pause slightly, a ghostlike image appears. If they walk through this scene, fast enough, maybe they don't appear at all...just depends on the speed. He showed samples as he went along. A current photo style is slowing down the shutter speed to capture city lights and highways. Beautiful headlight/taillight images are the result and sometimes a ghost car.
Besides learning about photography, a family mystery has been solved.
ommmm


14 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

I have played with it a bit trying to get the same person twice in an image. Some cameras allow an overlay.

turquoisemoon said...

Steve, I found this so interesting. I thought it might be fun to even try getting some ghosts in pics or like you said, "the same person twice."

Carolyn said...

Well! I never... sure am enjoying your photography class!

Dee said...

Dear Turquoisemoon, scrolling through your last few postings, I can see that this photography class really delights and intrigues you. You're learning so much and I'm so looking forward to seeing the photographs you take from now on. Thanks for sharing your learning with us. Peace.

turquoisemoon said...

Carolyn, Hahaha...that's what I said to myself when he was lecturing.

Dee, I'm learning so much and having such a good time. Sometimes, in class, things go over my head, but I just come home and research/practice to figure it out.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Yes, I love this! I read an article by the photographer, Bryan Peterson, where he explained how this technique is done. He used his daughter as a model, and photographed it in the basement of his apartment building. The article can be found in PDF form at this link:(http://www.halloweenphotographysecrets.com/pdf/ghosts.pdf)

This is a lot of fun! I hope you try it out and share some images with us. I'd like to practice this. Perhaps I'll ask my daughter and her friends to be my models. I just need to find a good location. Maybe the cemetery. Or some abandoned building.

In my photography class, the instructor touched upon this topic, and had us trying it out with arm movements. The end result was 'ghost' arms...LOL...

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you're having such a great time!

turquoisemoon said...

Martha!!! Don't we just love photography?!!! I'll check that sight out and try it out. I think it would be fun to go to a cemetery or deserted building and photo one or more people running, stopping, hopping, all sorts of stuff and get some haunted photos. Thanks for the site...I'm heading there right now.

Cathy Sherman said...

I saw an exhibit of Victorian-era photos at the Kemper Museum featuring ghost images. In that case, they looked like double exposures. The Victorians were fascinated with ghosts and photography, so they like to combine both.

I caught a photo of a "ghost" while taking photos of our docent and a museum guard at our recent visit to an exhibit there. The docent and the guard were standing still, my shutter speed was slow because it was dim in the museum, and a person "photobombed" while walking past the docent as I took the shot. The docent and the guard weren't blurry (except a bit in the hands) but the person who walked behind them was transparent and only partly there. It would have been fun to say it was the ghost of one of the 19th century photographers!

I'd like to try the technique that Martha described. We need some models!

I also heard of people being in the same group photo twice when the photographer used a panning camera. The people would stand on one end, then rush to the other end to be in the shot again when the camera finally panned there.

One Fly said...

Oh no it's not something else it's a ghost for sure.

turquoisemoon said...

Cathy, We're doing this. We'll get Hanna as a model, and you know she'll go for it. I saw the pic you took at the Nelson. We had been told that the museum was haunted and your picture would have proved them right if I hadn't been to that class.

Fly, I've heard a lot of tales from people, of that era, about photos with ghosts in them. Without any photography knowledge, I can see how they may have thought so. Sheesh...I figured it was some kind of a fluke, maybe a double exposure or something, but didn't have any idea that shutter speed was the culprit.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Well I have seen examples of ghosts in old photos and I attributed it to shaky hands -- now I understand -- I suppose the shutter is open longer than it should be -- barbara

turquoisemoon said...

The way I understand it Barbara, is that's just the way those old time cameras worked...slow shutters.

Linda said...

Ok that was interesting....It must be the same thing that happens with orbs in pictures as well....I have got to get back to classes soon..I am planning on taking a pottery class.. Have wanted to for years... Glad you are having fun with your photography class...:)

XO

turquoisemoon said...

Linda, I am amazed at what all I'm learning. I'm also having fun!