Nature Photography by Rob Gray :: Image #00180

'Five Phantoms', Natural Arch NP, QLD


Just before making what must be my all time most popular image, God's Portal, I exposed another sheet of film in the more standard horizontal format that every Australian landscape photographer seems to do when standing inside the cave that is Natural Arch.

This is quite a popular place and, with an exposure of three minutes, it's almost impossible to get a photo with nobody in the shot. However I waited and waited until I was fairly sure there were no tourists on their way (even sent my wife up the track to check), tripped the shutter and started timing.

Blow me down if some people didn't turn up within seconds of me opening the shutter. No problems, I thought, with an exposure this long they won't show up on the negative.

Unfortunately they also wanted a photo of this amazing natural feature so they proceeded to photograph the outside of the cave with their pocket cameras and, because they were standing still, they started to register on my negative. To make matters worse the face and inside of the cave was dark so the camera's flashes fired.

By this time I had written the shot off but continued to expose the film anyway.

I processed the film on my return home but did nothing with this negative until weeks later.

When I finally made a print I was amazed to see the phantom images left by the people and their flashes (see detail below). Far from ruining the photo it had, in my opinion, enhanced it.

The above detail doesn't show all of the phantoms but I think you can get the idea. As to whether there is five I can't be sure but the title is catchy and it alliterates :-).



Camera::Tachihara 5x4 field camera
Lens::90mm f5.6 Schnieder Super Angulon


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PO Box 450, Gin Gin, QLD, Australia.