The Search for Photographic Evidence

  • Herbert Boerner


The search for photos or videos of ball lightning is an endless story of confusion and obfuscation, starting basically with the widespread availability of cameras and photographic plates in the early twentieth century and continuing up until today with powerful video recorders at everybody’s fingertips. When photographers tried to catch photos of normal lightning, they discovered a technique which is still used even now: one must do it at night and keep the shutter open until lightning appears in the field of view of the camera. When the camera is fixed on a support like a tripod, everything is fine, but when one has no stable support, the camera will shake and move. In this case, street lights will create luminous traces on the film, but lightning is a very short phenomenon and will appear crisp. You can see this in the photo below (Fig. 3.1) which I took leaning against a pole: the lightning is quite sharp, but the street lights below leave jumbled traces because my hand holding the camera was shaking a lot.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Boerner
    • 1
  1. 1.MainzGermany

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