The Big Orb Thread

What do you think 'Orbs' are?

  • Nothing, just an artefact on the camera lens or lens flare.....

    Votes: 6 60.0%
  • I dunno.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Might be something but I'd have to take pics of them myself before making up my mind....

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • They are extremely round ghosts.

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • Usually dust, water droplets, or the like, but you never know ...

    Votes: 3 30.0%

  • Total voters
    10

gattino

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Orbs reconsidered...

On Monday I took some visiting friends round a few tourist places here in Liverpool which I've never visited before myself. These included a wander inside the monumental St George's Hall - which in its Victorian heydey served rather randomly as a concert hall/ballroom and court/prison cell - and Western Approaches, the underground system of bunkers and war rooms from which the allied naval campaign in the second world war was secretly run. And other places in between.

I took pictures - over 80 all told, and once the useless, repetitive or unfocused were discarded 66 were posted on my Facebook.

3 of the images from inside St George's had an individual "orb" in each one. (I'll not attach them here as there's nothing spectacular to see.. you all know what one looks like) Each time it was in a different location in the scene therefore not on the lens itself. I would not for one fleeting second interpret such banal features as supernatural ...and every fool knows, surely, that they've long been explained in terms of flashlight on dust particles. It explains it on wikipedia and there's a very large article on the FT archives here disposing of the ghostly fantasy once and for all.

When I posted them however and someone immediately commented "there are orbs in these pics" I stopped myself short from pointing out that, even though I've never in my life before,as far as I recall, had the problem appear on my own photos, the camera is new, which would explain it, and they only appeared on the photos in an old and therefore doubtless dusty building..no mystery here. I say stopped myself because the "orbs" only appeared in 3 specific photos - 2 in the court room and one in the basement cell below the dock - and I decided to google...

I was aware a local ghost tour company includes a tour of the Hall so there must be some claim about it, but beyond that had no knowledge or expectation of it being "haunted" whatsoever. This is what google found: ""The condemned cells, the court rooms, the lower floors and the air ducts, which were used by the hall's workers, have all been mentioned as areas where supernatural activity has happened. Many high profile cases have been heard in the courts over the years, and it is said that the old cells still feel the ghostly presences of all those convicted souls that were condemned to death." and "The basement is suspected of being a key area of poltergeist activity."

This is amusing and titillating...that my first and only "orb" photographs appeared only in the specific rooms of the specific builiding which are, unbeknownst to me, reputed to be haunted.

There was a flaw to undermine any excitment though. They were not in fact the only pictures among the 66 to have orbs after all. 4 of the photos taken at Western Approaches - 2 in the main war room, and two in adjoining spaces - also contained single orb artefacts. The fact that this building isn't exactly ancient and was a place of safety and security not death would seem to herald the triumph of the "new camera/dusty underground" assumption. But just to be sure.....I googled again.....

"And, like all places worth their salt, it's reportedly haunted. A woman fell from a ladder in the war room and shattered her skull on the concrete beneath and, of course, some say her spirit stalks these gloomy winding corridors to this day"


No pictures taken in any other rooms or any other building, nor outside, during our day of sight seeing contain these pesky little marks. Only those in the - it transpires - allegedly haunted rooms.

How annoying.... :/
 

rynner2

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Well, it's clear what's happening - the ghosts are stirring up the dust which creates the orbs!

Problem solved! 8)
 

rynner2

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Well, those are pretty weedy orbs! Here's a good one:



;)
 

GNC

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Rynner's given your orbs a right kicking. Sure to bring tears to anyone's eyes.
 

dannycheveaux1

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Gattino! yes I still have faith in SOME orbs myself
I too have been to St George's Hall and took plenty of pics (with and without flash) randomly on a ghost tour - Nowt!

But, when we visited Edinburgh vaults a few years back I took loads of pics on the tour none of which showed "orbs", (a couple did show hundreds of dust particles) but, sure enough, in a particular vault that the guide said was haunted, the picture I took showed a great orb

http://flic.kr/p/7vcJAz

Cheers
Dan
 

Rushfan62

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I have to say, some time ago I posted a picture i had taken at a fireworks display which, I was told by the contributers showed a typical "Orb". Some experimentation with various light sources (Butane lighter, battery torch etc) allowed us to re-create the effect. I'ts a camera artifact, that's all. Unique to digital cameras which is why it's a comparitively new phenomena. Oh, and my orb was bigger than all of those.
(Edited for boasting rights)
 

rynner2

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rushfan62 said:
I'ts a camera artifact, that's all. Unique to digital cameras which is why it's a comparitively new phenomena.
Not so! I've recreated orbs in experiments with film cameras.

The only new feature involved is that the camera should be a compact model, ie, with the flash and the lens quite close to each other on the camera body.

(Earlier forms of flash were further from the lens, and hence did not illuminate dust particles close to the lens. The closer the dust particle, the bigger the orb! Simple optics. 8) )
 

Mythopoeika

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Here's another thing - I've mentioned this before on another thread - a friend took a pic of me with a digital camera, then printed out a picture.
The printed picture clearly showed an orb.
My friend examined the photo in Photoshop or a similar program, and couldn't find a trace of the orb.
Thinking it was a defect in the paper, my friend printed out another pic - which had the same orb on it.
 

Rushfan62

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The only new feature involved is that the camera should be a compact model, ie, with the flash and the lens quite close to each other on the camera body.
I'm sorry sir, but no. In the instances which I mentioned, we used only external lighting. No flash!
 

rynner2

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rushfan62 said:
The only new feature involved is that the camera should be a compact model, ie, with the flash and the lens quite close to each other on the camera body.
I'm sorry sir, but no. In the instances which I mentioned, we used only external lighting. No flash!
Perhaps you'd like to give us details, and explain why it's "Unique to digital cameras which is why it's a comparitively new phenomena". Can you back you idea up with physics and maths?

I'm not claiming that flash is essential to produce orbs, just pointing out that the rise in orbs seems to correlate with the increased use of compact cameras. There must be other circumstances where dust close to the lens gets enough light to produce an out-of-focus image (aka an 'orb' ;) ), however.
 

Rushfan62

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I stand corrected. I was a little rash to say unique to digital cameras when I actually meant there has simply been an increase in these phenomena since the proliferation of digital cameras of recent years. I believe Rynner is correct when he says it is COMPACT cameras which are the likely culprits. I really don't believe the flash is necessarily a factor though, as I said, we got results using a variety of light sources. I think I may have an "Orb" picture from a film camera myself taken some years ago before I had even heard of them. While i firmly believe they are created by the camera, I don't know what they are, or why some are coin like complete with some kind of inscription along the edge. Anyone know?
 

norton51

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Orbs are out of focus bits of dust (or water droplets) which are strongly illuminated (in the 'orb zone'). Although most often produced by a flash, any strong light source will do. Though they can be occur with any camera (including film and full frame DSLR), they are commonest with compact digitals. That's because such cameras have a physically small sensor (millimetres not megapixels!) meaning that the lens used on the camera has a big depth of field, increasing the size of the 'orb zone'.

There is lots more info on the ASSAP website (they've done a lot of research into orbs) at http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles ... y.html#OZT and http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles ... 0orbs.html
 

Analogue Boy

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I thought I'd done enough to nail this one.
Let's NOT reconsider orbs when we actually have the solution and a name for these glitches. Look at Bokeh and other lens effects.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh

Or how about this? All the classic orb examples.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orb_(optics)

(funnily enough, the above has a link to the Jesus Toast Phenomenon so I'm giving you two for one here.)


IIRC This phenomena wasn't recorded while photographing early mediums with a bit of ectoplasmic muslin hanging out of their nostrils. It turned up when compact cameras appeared on the scene.
 

rynner2

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jimv1 said:
I thought I'd done enough to nail this one.
Let's NOT reconsider orbs when we actually have the solution and a name for these glitches. Look at Bokeh and other lens effects.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh

Or how about this? All the classic orb examples.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orb_(optics)
I'd never heard the term 'Bokeh' before, but it just seems to refer to depth of field effects which have been familiar to photographers for generations now.

The other link is simple and direct - my only comment, though, is why can't Wikipedia sort out its ruddy stupid URLs!!! :evil:
 

norton51

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Yes orbs ARE bokeh. The reaction of many serious photographers to seeing orbs for the first time is just that - it's bokeh!

The difference is that bokeh is not normally seen as single circles. This happened because of the big increase in depth of field for compact digital cameras. Suddenly, out of focus bits of dust, that were always there just in front of the camera lens, became visible. If dust is very close to the lens it is invisible because its circle of confusion (orb) becomes so large and spread so thinly it becomes transparent. By extending the depth of field, the circle of confusion became smaller and visible at the same distance from the lens (comparing a compact digital with a full frame camera, say).

You could say thyat the 'orb zone' for a full frame camera is vanishingly small while for a compact digital it is large enough to contain a few bits of dust.
 

Number 6

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escargot1 said:
I took hundreds of photos at Pompeii last week, in bright sunshine, and noticed a huge orb on just one. If I can dig it out I'll post it. :D
More likely a flare than an orb if there's sunshine about :)
 

cardinaluk

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Moving orbs?

I'm almost a complete skeptic on Orbs now being convinced they are artefacts of modern digital cameras. BUT considering the whole discussion above how do you explain moving orbs on film? Are they the same?
 

norton51

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titch said:
Yes we should dismiss orbs caught on camera, but as i posted here http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewt ... 317#968317 what about an "orb" seen by two people at the same time with the mark 1 eyeball? Something very strange was going on, and i still have no idea what it could be, but it is not easily dismissed.
Orbs are photographic artefacts. So if you see something with the naked eye it isn't an orb*. The incident you describe sounds like ball lightning.

*OK, technically you CAN see real orbs with the naked eye in certain special circumstances - see http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles ... 02009.html - the entry for 9 March.
 
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