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Odd light patterns

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  • Odd light patterns

    I need some help in trying to figure out how the light patterns in this photo came about.

    The picture was taken in December by the husband of a friend of mine at a pre-wedding dinner of her son in Costa Rica. The location was an open air dining pavilian adjacent to the main house. I believe that the only lighting was candles and small oil lanterns.

    The camera used was an Olympus 35mm -fully automated and Kodak 200ASA film. My friend is the woman on the right. The woman in green at the lower left is the ex-wife of my friend's husband. The bridal couple is at the middle left-obscured by the lights.

    The picture was somewhere in the middle of a 24 exposure roll and developed at a reputable local camera shop. They had no explanation for the light streaks.No other pictures on the roll taken around the same time nor those taken by other people with their cameras showed the lights.

    She scanned and compressed the picture to forward to me but nothing else was done to it. The attached photo is identical to the original print which she showed me. I looked at the picture under all sorts of filters and exposures in PS but can't figure out what happened.

    Thank you in advance for anyone who can shed some light( no pun intended) on this.


  • #2
    The picture which didn't seem to post prior.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      That sounds like a promising explanation. Any idea why it would happen just once ? Perhaps just one of those flukey things where something sticks? It almost looked like he did a time exposure shot but I know he didn't.


      • #4
        My explanation is the same as Chuck's. The flash definitely went off - that's why the people are fairly clear. However, the streaks of lights all seem to start with a point source of light (candles?) and then have almost the same streak pattern - definitely indicative of the camera being moved while the shutter was still open. Probably the flash went off when the shutter first opened and the person taking the picture assumed that when the flash went off, the picture was done and moved the view finder away from his eye - after which the shutter closed. (That's happened to me a few times, so I know it's possible!) If the place was noisy, it's possible he might not have even heard the shutter close late - so he wouldn't remember anything different about that picture.

        As to why it would happen only once, I'm not sure. It could be that the camera metered off of something darker than the other pictures, or it could just be a "glitch".



        • #5
          Let me point out that the row of candles is just about in the middle of the frame, which is most likely where the sensor for the light meter reads. There may have been just enough lite to fool the camera into thinking that it was in a low lite level situation so it slowed down the shutter speed. The flash went off anyway, makeing the flash exposure good enough for the printer to get a decent print. However the shutter was still open so when the operator moved the camera the lite sources painted their trail on the film.
          This is one of the trade offs of using a fully auto everything camera. Like the serpent in the grass, they have to be carefully watched or they can get you


          • #6
            Always can count on someone on this site to come up with plausible expanations . Although this photo was clearly not what was intended I think that the effect is interesting . What I particularly liked was the effect of the little curls in the light streaks.

            My other thought was that it might be fire flies but the verandah was screened she said and besides they would be pretty big, annoying flies!



            • #7
              Been studying this kind of stuff lately,...

              But I am baffled to unless of course Mike's explaination covers it. When I first looked at the image, my first thought was "Oh yes sir, the exposure was too long, and the camera was moving ever so slighty at the tail end, since they are mostly from center over. I hve taken pictures before with slow exposure and wide aperture and not moved or changed a thing in between shots and seem the similar results. [However, I use a digital], but have started to credit this to camera shake on my part, or moving too soon. A tripod guarentees a more steady exposure, and even 200 film speed is slow, to some extent.

              Hope this wasn't too much of the same thing all over again,...I am trying to spend some time tonight and get a little more involved in this forum, I am a bit gabby.

              Have fun,
              Nite Owl


              • #8
                Yup, long shutter speed, flash, camera moved ... notice how the pattern starts at the light sources. Also notice the the tight curl and then up to the left pattern is repeated clearly at least five times that I can easily see - as the camera moves all of the light sources will draw the same figure mirroring the movement of the camera. The patterns would be random if it was static electricity or something with the film or developing.

                Why did the camera do it on this shot? Don't know, unless it did it on every shot, but it doesn't show because this is the only exposure that the camera wildly moved just as the shutter was released. Maybe the photographer got an elbow bumped while clicking the shutter.



                • #9
                  Maybe you could post this as a challenge?


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