Sunday, February 10, 2013

The "Orb" Experiment

This is sort of a follow up to my November 2011 blog and an experiment that I have been considering doing for some time now. By now it would seem to me that most seasoned investigators understand that about 99% of those orb photos out there are nothing more than products of a camera flash and the environment (see my previous blog, Orb-session). As I’ve mention before in previous blog posts, I have done my homework on photography, I enjoy taking photos and I personally don’t believe that orbs are anything paranormal. I chose to take a few of my team members out last night and conduct an overdue photography experiment. I am aware many orb/photo experiments are out there on the web, but in this case we decided to conduct our own on a local research basis and in hopes that others may try these experiments or similar experiments on their own.

We headed to a nearby cemetery with a camera and a video camera in hand, a flashlight and water spray bottle and a notebook and pen to record time and temperature. We began at 6:05pm, the sun was setting and it was 41 degrees and clear. It was still light enough to take noticeable flash vs. non-flash photos. I started off by taking a number of photos in one direction without any flash; my camera was set on the automatic setting – which is what most people use. After the first succession of non-flash photos, I began taking photos with flash. I also alternated flash vs. non-flash photos taking multiple photos in the same areas for a time. During the sessions of photos, we took a number of photos while spraying a water bottle in the camera’s view, but not getting any water on the lens. The water experiment was used to show the difference of the water particles in the air with the flash on and again with no flash.

After the first series of photos, we moved to another location in the cemetery and at this time it was starting to get darker. We took out the video camera and also grabbed the flashlight at the new spot. This time I started out with an alternating flash/no flash session while holding my camera directly over the video camera as it recorded. The video camera was used to capture real time video in the exact direction and the same field of view as my digital still camera. So if in fact something paranormal were to show up on my camera, in theory it should show up on the video camera too.

With the flash photos there were noticeable orbs, but when the flash was not used, there were no orbs. We did this over and over and each time the result was the same, no orbs in non-flash photos. Orbs only showed up in photos where a flash was used, but they didn’t show up in all of the flash photos.

Next we took the flashlight and held it directly underneath the video camera to illuminate the area directly in front of the camera. When particles in the air passed the camera, the light illuminated those particles. We saw the particles float by that were illuminated by the flashlight but there were only a few and rather infrequent. But when we had one investigator rub the sleeve of his jacket the amount of particles in the air increased dramatically.  I took several photos with flash as he was rubbing his jacket sleeve, and again without flash. The results were the same; flash produced many orbs and without flash did not produce any orbs.

We also did the same thing alternating flash and no flash while videoing our breath from behind the lens of the camera. We simulated holding up the camera to use the viewfinder and breathing out by moving close behind and to the side to the camera and video camera. By this time the outdoor temperate was 39 degrees. The results were similar to the orb photos, we did not pick up the “mist” from our breath in the non-flash photos, but in the flash photos our breath was very clear. The breath did however show up on the video camera most of the time.

Overall I took 212 photos in the cemetery; no photo where a flash was not used produced any orbs, only photos with flash produced orbs. Not all flash photos produced orbs. However, if there were no particles within the “orb zone” at the time the flash went off, there would be no orbs produced.

I’m not going to get into the basics of photography and depth of field because I have covered that in a previous post, all I want to do here is show you my results and I completely ENCOURAGE you to try this experiment for yourself. You can try indoors, outdoors, summer, winter, rain or snow. Learn how your camera works, read the camera manual and try turning your flash off on occasion when ghost hunting. Let us all move past the orbs and focus on something that is really important…figuring out the answers to the truly unexplained phenomena!

Here are my photo results, you can click on the photos to enlarge:

Photos on left side the flash was used, photos on the right side no flash used. Orbs aka air particles can be seen in the flash photos.

The top left photo is water spray with flash, top right water spray without flash. Bottom left water spray further away from lens with flash, bottom right is water spray further from lens without flash. The flash of the camera enhances the water particles.

Left side photos are breath with flash, the right side photos are breath without flash. The flash enchances the breath while without a flash, the breath can not be seen.

The photos on the left the flash was used as our investigator rubbed his jacket sleeve. The photos on the right were taken with no flash as our investigator rubbed his jacket sleeve.
Also just for reference I was using a Kodak Z980 digital camera with 12 mega pixels. Typically the less mega pixels your camera has, the better potential for more dust orbs.
Here are video clips from our experiment.

Update - I was informed that another member in the paranormal community (in which we have no relationship with) feels that this article specifically targets them by having claimed that our group is accusing them of faking their photos. I just wanted to make a statement in regards to that claim: This article is a long overdue offshoot of an article I wrote in November 2011. This article and experiment is in no way is specifically targeted to any individual or group, nor is it accusing anyone of falsifying anything. This article was written with the intent to inform those who may not understand how orbs are produced with photographic examples and a video showing clips of our experiment. The information I post on our website, Facebook page and blog is posted for anyone and everyone as means of informational, educational and/or opinion content. I believe that the information we have posted publically in this article has been extremely misinterpreted by this individual due to differing opinions and beliefs. I have made some minor updates to the article to hopefully prevent any further misinterpretation.

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