Tripping in the Dark

From photo to video, and tripping in the dark...

     In the early days of photography there were some claiming to have caught the spirits of loved ones in their photo's. Though the majority of these photo's have been debunked as fake due to the motives of the photographer. There are however a few that were never debunked, and listed as unexplainable.

     The root of the word "Photo"comes from the Greek meaning light. If there IS a spirit in the room with you, what are the chances of actually catching its image in a photograph? Providing the spirit will even show up in the photo, everything boils down to time and light. In essence, a photograph stops a fraction of time and light capturing it to a recording medium, whether film or digital. Without some form of light there can be no image. When time is broken down into its intervals, we see that catching a spirit in a photograph is next to impossible. If there are 24 hours in a day, that breaks down to 1440 minutes. Each minute is broken down into 60, and each second can be broken down into milliseconds or 1 thousandths of a second. The average camera can capture 1 image into 1 millisecond. So with these intervals in place, the chances of catching a spirit photo works out to about 1/ 8640000 per day.

     To me, most photo's of apparent spirits leave the viewer with more questions than answers. This is why I choose to use video, as the image captured can be traced to where it originated, what is happening and where it goes. Whether it appears from nowhere and disappears again. This gives a lot more insight into what is truly happening, where a photo can never do this. The only time I use photography is when I need to document the location, and position of objects.

     When dealing with video, it is commonly capturing images at a frame rate of 29.97 frames per second, typically rounded to 30 fps. Many times I have captured what I would define as unexplained, or spirits within those parameters. When shooting on location I spend on average about 40 minutes, and when reviewing the footage takes up to 2 hours. The first viewing is usually just a general run through looking for anything obvious, the second time, is scrutinizing each second of footage, and I have found these "spirits" and the unexplained typically happen within 4 to 6 frames of footage. That's fast, and our eyes alone when on location can not see it happen. Many times I have left a location thinking I caught nothing, but under review have been knocked out of my chair by surprise. Sometimes showing up as a ball of light, other times as an unexplainable white mist.

     One thing I have made a constant is, spirits are around all day, not just at night. And I choose to be different and shoot HD footage during the day, as some things captured can not be so easily explained away. Shooting at night leads to using night vision, that needs to be enhanced at times and becomes grainy and questionable, or watching dust and insects flying into the camera's field of view and mistaking them for orbs. When using night vision, you can not see what is far off in the distance and then have clean it up should you manage to see something, and then it becomes a pixelated green and black anomaly, and not of much use to anyone.

     Usually shooting at night is for effect for TV shows, and doesn't help at all. However, if asked, I will shoot at night, but it's not my time of choosing for the simple fact stated earlier, though I started out this way.

     But now, I want to be able to see what I am shooting and looking at clearly, rather than tripping in the dark, and trying to bring up the image later. I have smashed my shins more times than I can count, and I see no use in recording in the dark, unless it is the ONLY time you are allowed to shoot the location. I do have my camera outfitted with night vision should I choose to use it, but generally I use it when shooting during the day for comparison, as it may pick up something (and has,) that the HD didn't.

     In reflection, one thing I wish I would have done, was bring my camera down into Suicide Gulch, and shooting the burned out wrecks of vehicles where so many had ended their lives. If I would have known I was going to pay the spirits a visit, I definitely would have shot down there, (avoiding the rattlesnakes mind you.) Who knows, I could have caught one...

Dee McCullay - Dark History


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