These days just about everyone is capturing orbs in their photos. The term orb describes unexpected, typically circular artifacts that occur in flash photography - sometimes with trails indicating motion - especially common with modern compact and ultra-compact digital cameras. Orbs are also sometimes called backscatter, orb backscatter, or near-camera reflection.
Orb artifact are captured during low-light instances where the camera's flash is used, such as at night or underwater - or where a bright light source is near the camera.
The artifacts are especially common with compact or ultra-compact cameras, where the short distance between the lens and the built-in flash decreases the angle of light reflection to the lens, directly illuminating the aspect of the particles facing the lens and increasing the camera's ability to capture the light reflected off normally sub-visible particles.
The orb artifact can result from retro-reflection of light off solid particles (e.g., dust, pollen), liquid particles (water droplets, especially rain) or other foreign material within the camera lens.
The image artifacts usually appear as either white or semi-transparent circles, though may also occur with whole or partial color spectrums, purple fringing or other chromatic aberration. With rain droplets, an image may capture light passing through the droplet creating a small rainbow effect.
In underwater conditions, particles such as sand or small sea life close to the lens, invisible to the diver, reflect light from the flash causing the orb artifact in the image. A strobe flash, which distances the flash from the lens, eliminates the artifacts.
The placement, color and design of the orbs in a photo can leave the viewer wonder about greater meaning, often linked to spirits on the other side. It is all about scrying the photos and personal interpretation. There is no right nor wrong, just perception and interpretation. Have fun.
Hurricane Irene - August 27-28, 2011
Ellie in the Eye of the Storm
9/11/07 - Ellie, Esther, The Wig, and the Orb
Cannon Digital Camera
Strange Cloud and Orb Over the Verrazano Bridge
Strange Cloud and Orb Over the Verrazano BridgeJune 9, 2005
Ellie at the Great Pyramid
December 12, 2000 - 12/12/00 at 12:00 pm
Kodak Disposable Camera
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