I'm sure most of you have seen tons of photos of what are said to be orbs, ecto mist, vortices and more. I posted a thread in the forum with links to a couple of sites with good example pics of what some of the orbs and ecto mists really are.
This is the one thing that drives me crazy personally. I am not a big believer in orbs or ecto. My personal opinion is that most orbs are nothing more than dust, bugs or moisture. There is always a slight bit of moisture in the air, though we don't see it. There is also dust in the air. It doesn't matter how clean the house is, there is dust. There is dust outside..everywhere. Let's go over some of the most common "paranormal phenomena" caught on camera, and what it most likely really is.
Orbs - Most orbs in photos are really just dust. They can also be caused by rain, sleet, snow, bugs, tree or grass pollen, light reflecting off surfaces and lens flare. Light can reflect off almost anything from dust, to wood to a headstone. The items mentioned can also cause orbs of all shapes, not just round. And before you ask about the ones that look like they are moving up in the air, raindrops can look that way. Lens flare from the sun is common and usually looks stop sign shaped and a red, purple or yellow color though it could be any color. If you are taking photos on a sunny day be sure to aim away from the sun and be on the lookout for things that can reflect it, like windows or street signs. Digital cameras produce more orbs than a regular 35mm, possibly from the chips in them. They are more sensitive and the light from the flash bounces off things like dust particles and you have a nice orb. You can get the same thing from a regular camera. Most orbs show up when the flash is used. Are all orb photos dust and stuff? No.. there are a few legit ones out there but the majority are not paranormal. This article by Troy Taylor says it best...http://www.prairieghosts.com/trouble.html
Ecto mist - If you are breathing there is a chance you will get "ecto mist" in your photos, especially if it's chilly outside. If it's humid or damp, there is a good chance you'll see it in your photos. The flash from a camera reflects off the tiny particles and basically lights them up. When taking pictures anywhere..hold your breath and make sure no one is near enough to you that you get their breath in the frame. Cigarette smoke is one of the most common things seen as ecto. It can travel a good distance before clearing up and it gets caught in photos as can smoke from a fire. Have you ever noticed that when you are outside in the dark with a flashlight there is a misty/smokey look in the beam of the light? You can pick that up on camera. The same thing can happen in a building.
Vortex - Another type of paranomal photo that can usually be easily explained. Many of the vortex photos out there are most likely camera straps. The strap can show up as either dark or light colored depending on how close to the lens it is. They are easy to spot usually as you can see the woven pattern in the strap most times. Hair and strings from clothing can also be mistaken for vortices.
Lines of light - I'm sure you have seen these photos. Squiggly lines of bright light. Most of the time these are caused by the shutter being open longer than normal , and the camera shaking slightly. Unless you are using a tripod you are going to have some slight movement of the camera, and even a cheap camera shutter can be held open too long. You can also catch bugs flying like this.
Shadow People - Many of these photos are really shadows...but not of the paranormal type. Many are shadows of either furniture, things like columns in the building, trees, poles or real people. The problem you have inside is any type of light however small can cause shadows. Things in the buildings like columns or furniture can cause some weird looking shadows as well as stuff like stacks of books or other items. Outdoors you have trees, bushes, telephone poles, fence posts, other buildings and things like that. Of course there are real people too. You have to be very careful and be aware of what could be casting shadows around you. Do a check before taking photos to help you rule out that tree to your left that's making that shadow before you think paranormal.