Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Basic Starting Guide To Paranormal Photos

Spirit photography has been popular almost since the dawn of spiritualism and coincided with the dawn of photography as well. Some savvy photographers worked out how to use double exposure to fudge photographs for the unsuspecting public. And the public lapped it up. Fake spirit photos are not a modern age thing only done by someone cluey enough to use Photoshop. Ghost apps by the dozen are available to download for free for smartphones and are unashamedly uploaded to social media. Surprisingly there are still people who fall for them. 

The story of the photo usually starts with something like, "a mate of mine took this photo and sent it to me and swears it's genuine". Even investigators are not immune to this folly. On more than once occasion, I have been shown photos on smartphones with the above story and was expected to be in awe. Of course it didn’t go down well with the owner of the photo when I revealed that I was an investigator and a photographer myself and what they were looking at was a fake. Some tried to convince me it wasn't as they took the photo themselves. It makes me a little sad.

I would like to share with you some very simple and easy to follow tips you can use to take great photos even with a compact camera while on ghost tours, investigations or just on a rogue Saturday midnight cemetery dash.

No handheld devices

Forget your smart phones and tablets. While most of them take pictures with excellent resolution, there is precious little you can do photographic settings wise to adjust to your environment. Not to mention that any self-respecting investigator worth their salt will just plain and simple refuse to give you an opinion on your image, should you decide to send it to them. Simple and fairly inexpensive compact and SLR digital cameras are perfectly fine for taking snaps. Some even have really good low light functions and that means you won't have to use your flash all the time. We all know that one person on a tour or an investigation who just can't help themselves but take hundreds of flash photos, ensuring that participants are all but completely blind by the conclusion of the event. Not cool.

Have the right equipment

A tripod is a must have staple in your spirit photography arsenal. It doesn't have to be super-duper, weight balanced titanium with an inbuilt spirit level, you're not photographing for National Geographics. Inexpensive ones can be acquired online and are lightweight aluminium and will easily fit into a small backpack alongside your rations for the night, your torches, spare batteries and holy water. When you take pictures in the dark, whether your camera is set to auto or you adjust the settings yourself a longer exposure will required if you don’t want the images to turn out completely black, if your camera even picks up objects at all. Most camera sensors need something to hook onto when focussing or measuring for autosettings. Longer exposure means that even if the camera moves the slightest, you will have a ghosting effect on your image. This may even be caused if you breathe while the lens is open or the subject in the frame moves. Yes, even if the movement is the slightest.

Common misidentifications

Moving lightsources, dust, insects, cigarette smoke, breath or condensation are often misidentified as spirits on photos. The great orb debate has raged for a long as digital cameras have been around. Even longer if you take into account sunflares and lens reflections. At least now, in the digital age, where images are no longer captured on film negatives, aberrations on the images caused by incorrect distribution of developing chemicals or a faulty film strip can be excluded. There are steps you can take to avoid the above listed artefacts from appearing on your images. Trailing can be avoided by making sure that there are no prominent light sources in your shot. Someone holding a torch, a candle, even street lights can be misleading once you manage to put your images on your computer days later. It's unlikely you will remember every single details about your environment on the night you took your photos. Insects are hard to avoid but they will be pretty obvious once you get the hang of spotting them in your photos. Exhaled breath and cigarette smoke will not necessarily be visible when you take your picture, but will produce a distinctive signature on the image. Condensation in or on the lens will occur if you move between areas of varying temperatures like getting out of a warm car where you kept your camera and start taking photos outdoors on a cold day or night.

Friday, 18 December 2015

5 Fluff Free Meditating Tips For The Superbusy

According to Webster Online Dictionary, mediation is continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature. Yawn! This explanation is likely to put the most devout Buddhists off mediating, let alone a mum who's desperately looking forward the kids to go to bed so she can at least have 5 uninterrupted minutes in the bathroom. Or the busy professional who even works on the train on their way home from work after a 10 hour day.

When you hear the word meditation, what comes into your mind? Incense smoke filled yoga room with dreadlock and drawstring pants wearing people? A stack of never opened CDs you bought ages ago thinking you will have the time and dedication one day to "really get into it"? Or maybe an idyllic picture from your Facebook newsfeed showing a person sitting on a mountain top looking mighty serene and kind of full of inner peace smugness? I hear you!

Don't let all this dissuade you from at least trying it on for size. Bringing meditation into your every day is easier than it might seem. Let me share with you some ideas that I think will grow on you faster than you can say Namaste. These 5 top tips will not only help you get into meditation but will enhance your experience with psychic development.

1              Relaxation and Mindfulness

If you haven't done any meditation before, I suggest you try relaxation first and some mindfulness meditations or visualisations. These types of meditations are guided and on top of the soothing soundtrack of ocean waves, bird sounds and the like and you will have a person's voice taking you through a landscape of some kind usually. Sandy beaches, cool caves, lush forests are all popular choices. To start off with, choose something that is not too long. About 10-15 minutes will do. Choose a time when you won't be disturbed, turn your phone off and find a comfortable place to sit. I prefer a sitting position as it's just too easy to fall asleep during a relaxing meditation. As much as you want to enjoy it, unless it's bedtime, you want to get on with the rest of your day once you're finished.

2              Noise is Good

If guided meditations are not your cup of tea, I found that just a track of plain sounds is very effective. I have tried various background noises such as white noise, wind blowing, the sound of rain, drums, even whale songs. There is plenty of free material available online or inexpensive tracks on iTunes even. This type of meditation will allow you to be in the driver's seat and go wherever you want to go in your head.

3              Your Happy Place

You will be much more inclined to spend time meditating if you have a comfortable, inviting, cozy place to go to in your head if you're not using guided meditation. You can create the space you want in your head, even the path you get there on. Lack of imagination is not an excuse here as you can also go back to physical places in your thoughts where you really enjoyed yourself in the past or felt peace and calmness. I have a temple space I visualise, where I go to in regular meditations.

4              Thoughts Be Gone

I used to think that meditating means to be completely thought free until I met a yoga teacher who taught me something invaluable and I pass it onto everyone I teach. Don't fight your thoughts when they come into your head. It's natural to have those floating through your mind, even when meditating. If you're focused on keeping them out and fighting to push them out of your head once they enter, your focus is not on your meditation but your mental processes. Imagine that those thoughts that come into your head during meditations are like lithe leaves, being blown into your mindscape during meditation and see them float out of your head as effortlessly as they floated in. Acknowledge each thought and let it drift on and the next one and the next one until there aren't any more. Most of all, don't give yourself a hard time if you're not successful right away. Meditation is called a practice for a reason.

5              Keep It Simple If You Go Off Track

One of my issues during meditation used to be that I often "came out of it" really suddenly and was unable to go back into that relaxed state. Or during guided meditations I would drift away and completely off the path that the guidance was, especially during psychic development classes. I would find it difficult to re-focus once that happened and I would spend the rest of meditation time either with my eyes closed, fully aware and trying not to fall asleep in front of everyone in the circle or beating myself up in my thoughts for not keeping on task. Another technique I learnt from my yoga teacher helped me overcome that issue as well. Whenever I felt myself drifting or coming out of meditation, I would re-focus my thoughts on my breath. As I was inhaling and exhaling, very deliberately, I would feel the rise and fall of my chest and continue with that practice until I was back on track. Some people in my circles found that focusing on their heartbeat works better for them and that is perfectly fine. This is also helpful at the beginning of a meditation session as it helps centring and balancing the mind, priming it for a great meditation.