One of the most disturbing phenomenons of the sasquatch research world is the inability to obtain good, clear, high quality photographs of our subject. Many theories have evolved from this inability that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. I will attempt, in the next few lines, as a former professional photographer, to offer an explanation why this is so…
The first problem encountered in this field is the fact that no one, with the rare exception, other than professional photographers have professional equipment. Almost all people buy consumer grade camera gear and expect professional grade results. It is simply not going to happen. The second factor that coincides with the first is that they never learn to use even their consumer grade equipment to anywhere near its capability.
The first thing they do along this line is they set it on “automatic” and expect that to provide them with the grade of output they desire. Again, it’s not going to happen. As a professional photographer in the era of film and paper prints, for those with a long enough memory to still recall them, I never owned a camera with an “Automatic” feature on it. I set my lens speed manually… I set my f-stop manually and I focused it manually. Why did I do this? Very simply stated, because I wanted to be in control of what the camera did.
The first thing one must understand about a camera is are two factors that control the exposure to light. The total of photons of light striking the film will determine the exposure on that film. We could also, in those olde times, choose films that had various “speeds” depending on the type of work we were doing. Generally speaking we used a relatively slow film for outside, sunny day work and a faster film for indoor or other low light photography. Standards for consumer photography was a film with an ASA rating of 100, 200 or 400. There were others available to the professional. In addition, you could expose ASA 400 film as high as a 1600 shutter setting (called pushing) for extreme indoor work where a flash was not feasible or was not allowed. I have some beautiful photographs taken at ball games inside the Kingdome without flash using this technique.
With a given film speed, the amount of light (number of photons) that strike the film is controlled by two factors… the time the lens is open (shutter speed) and how far it opens (f-stop). As is readily apparent, the longer a lens shutter is open, the more light that is allowed through. Likewise, the further it opens, the more photons will pass through. These factors become important when we introduce another factor called “Depth of Field” to the equation.
The Depth of Field, basically, is the area of or depth of that area of the subject photographed that will be in focus. This is controlled by the f-stop setting on the lens. The higher the f-stop, the greater the depth of field. In the illustration at the right, it is obvious that the f-stop is low as there is a very short area of the barbed wire that is in focus. In cameras with lenses capable of very low f-stops it is possible to have your depth of field so tight that you may have the button on the shirt in focus while everything in front of it and behind it blurred. It should be merely noted here that longer focal length lenses require higher f-stops where the focal length is the distance from the film or sensor to the actual lens. In short focal length lenses like a 28mm lens, f-stops of 1.4 are possible while a longer lens like a 200 mm lens cannot have an f-stop below the 4.5 range.
Shutter speed is usually marked in increments of a part of a second. I.E. a shutter speed setting of 8 will mean the lens is open for 1/8th of a second while a shutter speed of 1600 means it will be open for only 1/1600th of a second. As one can imagine, the former setting will let in much more light than the latter since it is open 20 times longer. This is critical in low light settings where shutter speeds of 8 and even less are needed to get sufficient light to the film for proper exposure. Even at 8, the camera should be on a tripod to prevent blur due to motion. Since the f-stop and the shutter speed are manipulated together to achieve the desired exposure, the depth of field becomes even shorter in low light situations.
This is very quick, very cursory explanation of what is actually a very technical facet of photography but it serves to explain the circumstances for what is in focus in a shot. And this is with ME controlling the settings. If one allows the “automatic” setting to take over, there is no control over this most import of aspects of photography.
The next major problem occurs with the automatic focusing in modern cameras. With my fully manual cameras, I chose precisely what I wanted to focus on and didn’t have to worry about what was not in focus. With auto focus, the camera decides what it wants to focus on and that is usually the most massive or most dense object in it’s field of view. In September of 2014 we gathered in our research area in British Columbia, Canada. While there, I was enjoy the opportunity to commune with the natives. The two photographs here, labeled Figure 1 and Figure 2 were taken one immediately after the other.. the Stellar Jay was my object but I had my Canon SX 500 camera in auto focus mode and shot first one, then the other exposure.
Notice that in Figure 1, the camera chose to focus well behind my subject and the cedar tree behind Jay is sharply in focus. In figure 2, the camera decided that the hemlock tree in the foreground was my desired object of focus and it is very clear and define in the picture. In neither case is my intended subject, Mr. Jay the chosen object so remains out of focus in both examples.
The other major reason for the blurry outcome of our sasquatch photos is the high level of energy that seems to surround them. Description after description and account after account speaks of the energy level associated with them. From accounts of the hair on one’s arm standing on end to the fact that batteries that were new and fully charged at one moment seem to be useless and powerless the next moment indicate that there is an energy field associated with them. Personally, I have had the battery discharge phenomenon occur on more than one occasion and have had that “hair on end” feeling very many times even though I am not, in any way, intimidated by them or their proximity. I have been compliant with them for decades and have long sense left fear and apprehension in my wake. The many accounts of being “zapped” by these fellows may well be an application of and a manifestation toward the presence of this energy field.
In my perambulations across the remote regions of our nation I have, when in the areas frequented by these locals, I have encountered many manifestations of this energy field, but one of my most significant occurred last summer when with my friend and research partner, Brian near his home in British Columbia. We had spent more than a few days in the bush there walking, watching, photographing and enjoying all nature had to offer. This area is one our main centers for research for our Project Alpha investigations into the sasquatch written language. There is a large and concentrated family that resides in that general area and we have become on a first name basis with several of the clan.
On the day in question, Brian and I were scouting for a specific spot for our planned September gathering to be held in that area. In that scout, we came to our preferred area and spent some time looking. This is an area of profound activity and we are seldom disappointed and often greatly rewarded. This was to be such a day.
As we explored the area, we found a number of areas where small stones had been amassed and piled into diminutive rock mounds. On one occasion we came across an area especially rich in sign and in the glyphs we were chronicling. It was one of those “hair on end” spots where you could literally feel the energy in the air. I was by myself when I found it, but called Brian to me quite soon after seeing it. It was innocuous… just a stone about seven inches in diameter in the plane in which I could see it and a pale green color such as one would find in some high pressure granitic deposits. It had occlusions in it. I assume they were quartz but I’m not sure. I thought to pick it up, but felt pressured to leave it as it was… so I determined to photograph it en situ… which I proceeded to attempt.
At once, I could not get the camera to focus on it with the camera in “automatic” more. I tried more than a couple of times to get a decent photograph of it without success. I changed the setting and again attempted to get the stone in focus to no avail. I simply could not focus on that stone. The photo shown indicates it was but a simple stone… but notice that nothing around it is focus nor is the stone itself. But, it is the best photo out of the several attempts I made.
When returned to Brian’s home that evening, we discussed this at great length and when we arose the next morning we determined to return to it and try once more. On arrival, we parked Brian’s car and I walked to the spot I’d photographed the prior day and all was as it was then, except the stone was gone… it simply was not there. The moss where it had lain was smooth and unruffled but the stone was not there. Brian quizzed me to make sure I was in the right spot and I knew I was but that stone was simply GONE. While I stood at the tree I knew to be the prior resting place for this stone, Brian circled me in expanding concentric circles while looking for that rock. I mean, how far can a rock walk just overnight?
At a range of some twenty five feet, Brian said, “Hey, look what I found!”
I looked up, asking what he’d encountered when he showed me a tiny stone with a face, of sorts, on it. We often make a game of finding faces in the naturally occurring structures we find… but this fellow was pretty cool to me so he now resides on my desk by my computer and we call him Teeny Bud!
Next time you see a picture posted and wonder, why is this not clearer, think of the above. Most of the problems stem from non-professional people attempting to take professional grade pictures with sub professional grade equipment and non-professional knowledge. A few are probably the result of some kind of an energy field distorting our vision or the vision of our camera. This phenomenon is readily apparent on a hot day… one merely has to look across a field or down a road to see the effect of this kind of energy caused distortion.