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Lens Flare and Retro Reflections

camera flares are commonly mistaken for the capture of paranormal activity but these can usually be explained away as the way the camera has reacted to light.

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Lens Flares and Retro Reflections

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Camera flares are another anomaly that often appear in photographs in a variety of guises.

Lens flares are simply light that is being reflected through the multiple glass pieces within your camera lens when there is an outside light source (aside from your camera’s own flash) in the photo such as the sun, the moon, a lamp, fire, a flashlight, or even your own camera’s flash being reflected in a mirror. A modern camera lens is actually an assemblage of multiple lenses called elements and housed in a barrel, like so:  

A lens flare is created when lighted reflects off one or more than one of these many lenses. The more light you have your camera set to allow in, the more pronounced the flares will be. If you shoot with a lens hood, you can prevent the glare entirely.

These images taken from an article on lens flares in photography uses arrows to point out some of the less obvious flares that you might not notice such as the corona (the big circle around the light source -in this case, the sun) and the infamous “green orb” that so many people capture on their own photos and ask about later, as they tend to not notice it as they are taking the photo. 

In the top right photo, you don’t notice the green orb because the angle of the camera has it “far away” so it’s very small, whereas the photo below it, it is “up close,” so it appears much larger.

The flares will be exaggerated and change shape depending on the angle you are holding the camera.

These can actually be caught on film as well, and I’ve seen people mistake them for orbs or UFOs as the green orb moves round with the camera.

In the photo on the bottom right, shows you how even light being reflected of a reflective surface can still create a lens flare. That’s the sun reflecting off a window and into the camera. This can also occur with mirrors or any other shiny surface. 

Here we see the flare from the sun reflected from a smart phone 

Equipment Check

It is always a good idea to perform a check of all equipment prior to an investigation.

Always check that camera lenses are free from smudges and dust.

Always avoid touching lenses with fingers as the natural oils can leave a smudge residue that could cause orbs and other anomalies to appear in pictures. 

These are some pictures taken on my phone with dust and debris on the lens from being in my bag. Once I cleaned the lens the orbs disappeared.

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