‘Ghost’ Reportedly Crashes Nighttime Shot of London’s Parliament Building

What happens when you try to take a nighttime shot without a tripod? Apparently, a ghost wanders into the frame and cocks up the whole thing. At least that’s what British photographer Jules Annan is claiming happened to him.

The professional lensman was out along the Thames on New Years Eve, waiting for the fireworks, when he decided to grab an image of the lights about the Houses of Parliament and Westminister Bridge. Reported specs: Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens set at ISO 400, f/22 and 1/25 sec.

Reviewing his shots later, Annan says he found a mysterious figure (specifically, “a Youth in a red jacket and beanie hat”) standing by the riverfront in a spot where there was absolutely nobody when he snapped the shot. “There was no one there when I took the photographs and it is not a double exposure or a long exposure,” he told the typically staid Daily Mirror. “I have shown it to five or six other people and they cannot explain it either.”

Conclusion: GHOST!!!

“Experts” in the paranormal have been quick to validate the “morose visitor from beyond the grave” theory. Others were less impressed, with YouTube commentators noting that elements of the image, particularly the smooth blurring of lights reflected in the Thames and the streak of blue on the bridge to the right, don’t jibe with the reported camera settings. Also interesting: Awfully empty for New Year’s Eve in a spot about to be bathed in fireworks.

(via Daily Mirror)

  • Cayen

    It’s easy enough to fake. You take two shots and merge them, using Photoshop so one appears more ghostly against the other. I have seen similar photos to this one that shows the process of how they fake them.

  • Florian Calas

    Double exposure uncontroled ?

  • Leif Sikorski

    I guess he was just too tired or focused on something else to notice that someone was walking through and stopping there for a short moment.

  • Rick

    ISO 400, f22, 25 seconds is believable. 1/25th at f22 would be completely black. Also, the rough water has become blurred into a smooth surface, again indicating around 25 seconds of exposure. People walk past, one stops off for 5 seconds. So what?

  • Will

    It would be handy if there were a still image with the EXIF intact to confirm exposure settings, but if you check out the photographer’s Facebook post on the subject (, you’ll see that he doesn’t say the exposure was 1/25 second. He says it was “ISO400 APP22 SPEED 25″. A further comment from someone else says, “In all seriousness at 25 seconds if they were standing still they’d be opaque’.

    So, it’s 25 seconds not 1/25 second which is an impressive feat to hold a camera steady for that long and not end up with a blurred mess…

  • Will

    Absolutely. Just because he didn’t notice anyone there doesn’t mean there wasn’t somebody there.

  • jenny12

    Seriously PP, why is this news? Could we replace this useless post for something more informative or useful?

  • Jules Annan

    alas I didnt fake this , I didnt use a tripod……….and if anyone wants to examine the original shot which is still on my memory card please contact me and come visit
    Jules Annan MCIJ

  • Jules Annan

    you are right it was 25th my stupidity

  • Jules Annan

    i still have the original file please do come visit view the original and tell me how this happened

  • Will

    The original photo would only clarify the exposure information which I believe is stated incorrectly in this article.

    Is it beyond any possibility that somebody actually wandered into your frame, stopped for a few seconds and then walked off without you noticing? That could explain how you ended up with that photo couldn’t it?

  • Rick

    25 seconds. Look at the light trails on the bridge on the right – either that vehicle was travelling at a few thousand miles per hour, or you’re reading your metadata wrong.

  • Rick

    1/25th of a second? 0.04 seconds? Other than my reasons stated above, what about the light streak on the bridge from a vehicle? Either the exposure is half a minute long, or that vehicle is travelling at a few thousand mikes per hour.

    Check your metadata again.

  • Will

    Have you posted the photo online somewhere other than Facebook so that people can check the EXIF data for themselves?

  • John Flury

    I think it’s not to much of a stretch to explain this phaenomena :). During only part of the time when your shutter was open, somebody was standing there – either arriving and standing still or standing and then leaving. He was even lit by a street lamp or a passing car. You can see that on his left shoulder. The effect can of course be used creatively, like in this single exposure

  • Will
  • harumph

    Nobody is saying you faked anything (edit: ok, one guy is). They’re just saying you probably didn’t notice the guy wander in and out of your frame while you were shooting. The only amazing thing about the photo is that you held the camera that still without a tripod for 25 seconds.

  • Spencer Hughes

    No way was this 1/25th. At F22 and ISO 400 this was 25 seconds MINIMUM. Therefore, if someone walks by there isn’t enough light hitting him to show on the sensor, yet when he stops closer to the light source on the right enough light hits him to start to appear on the sensor but more light hit the sensor from the background to create a transparent image.

    I also find it hard to believe the photographer’s claim that no one was around. REALLY, you found a spot with a view of Parliament that no one else knows about?

  • matt jones

    Firstly what kind of photographer says “speed 25″? No tripod does not mean hand held, the camera could have been sitting on something. Finally why does the Photographer keep saying come visit me at my site, instead of explaining things more clearly. It’s a publicity stunt, just like the fake Morgan Freeman photo was the other week.

  • superduckz

    Good Grief…must be a slow day at PP…

  • Jim Macias

    Does clothing have a soul as well?

  • Jim Macias

    You know that F22/25th this image would be black. Stop trying to BS us. We don’t believe you.

  • Zos Xavius

    handheld? 25 seconds with no blur? Total BS.

  • Sterling

    Agreed. This is pure drivel.

  • shananigans!

    My wife and I were visiting the Redwoods in CA and thought it would be fun to take some ghostly images with long exposures. I set the camera for 15 secs and put a timer on…we’d stay in the frame for about 10 secs then run away and hide while the last 5 secs captured the scene without us. Pretty simple trick. I could have easily made a short video with false settings and said it was a ghost.

  • Benicio Murray

    troll, stupid or still learning the science of photography? I’ll guess a combination of the three.

  • Rob Elliott

    It is super simple… guy walked by wearing head phones stopped for a few seconds and then walked away.

  • David Liang

    I’m actually going to go ahead and call bs on the 25 seconds of hand holding with zero motion blur.

  • Shipwreck Dai

    Another lame attempt of gaining viral popularity. You can definitely tell the light source came from the left side. It looks like a quick flash during a long exposure shot. the reflection of the water is too smooth to be shot at 1/25sec. Common Peta-Pixel! I’ve lost a considerable amount of respect for sharing something like this. This guy doesn’t deserve the recognition.

  • Sam

    Jules Annan, It might be your lens at fault if you’ve got ghosting artefact :D

  • harumph

    Yeah, I’m trying to be nice.

  • Daz

    HAHA trying to trick photographers that you captured a picture of a ghost LOL come on man you can easily do this with long exposure like you did the person stopped for a while letting the camera absorb some of that light and then moved and didnt stop for enough time for the camera to see him anywhere else. 25 seconds is long exposure and if it was 1/25 at f22 iso 400 it be underexposed and no damn light trails from cars like you have.

  • BDWT

    He does say “hand held leaning on a wall” which leaves us to assume he’s braced the camera or himself against something sturdy, as we’re all taught to do when we don’t have a tripod. A 1/25th of a second is still short enough to get a sharp shot if you have a steady hand, I don’t doubt that claim at all… but I do agree with other readers about how the exposure doesn’t LOOK like 1/25th of a second, due to the blur of the water and streaking light on the bridge. It looks like something closer to a 2-3 second exposure, something just long enough to have someone stand in the frame with a small flash on them (like say from a cell phone) and then swiftly leave the frame, thus giving the “ghostly figure” seen there.

  • Gabriele Amorth

    Jules, this is a clear cut case of Photodemonic possession. I am an expert in the field and if you will send your camera, lenses and any other photographic equipment you had with you at the time, I will perform the necessary exorcism. Actually, since you probably have allowed these possessed items to come in contact with other photographic type devices, you should send those as well… just in case, we wouldn’t want some evil ectoplasm remnants to cause future disturbances.

  • Unimpressed

    I’d rather not have any news at all, than to see pointless things like these.

    Petapixel slowly going down the drain..

  • Unimpressed

    Please stop posting crap like this, it’s an embarrassment.

  • Michael Palmer

    Seriously??? I mean really?

  • Emko

    if photographer is not trolling this is embarrassing.

  • DL can’t take criticism

    /this/ is the kind of content we’ve got to look forward to since the change? What a joke. This site has become a laughing stock. Have fun with your selfie posts and barely photography related posts, you are a shadow of your former self, PP, and you’re only gonna be sinking further with this hack writer “DL” at the helm. Farewell!

  • olafs_osh

    dude, it was not 1/25, it’s impossible.

    oh, and yeah, send yourself a file via WeTransfer, for example, and post the link here :D

    on a side note: PetaPixeeeeel!?!?

  • Rick

    What kind of a photographer says APP 22? What is APP? If its an abbreviation for aperture, where does the second P come from?

  • Rick

    So you were out shooting fireworks without a tripod? Are you sure you didn’t just fire off several test shots, got very confused, and when you got home you misread the metadata on this one? You do realise that 25 sec and 1/25 sec can read quite similar?

  • Eden Wong

    PetaPixel… for crying out loud… you’ve posted some really dumb stuff
    lately but this is scrapping the bottom of the barrel… pure drivel,
    absolute stupidity.

    Honestly, why in the world are you giving this crap publicity?!?!

  • Eliott

    > tell me how this happened

    It didn’t. Now you can say you got a picture featured on the Daily Mirror but goodness what a pathetic way to get published.


    Stupidity is only marginally better than just photoshopping it.

  • Zos Xavius

    but he is claiming it is 25 seconds. if he is at f22 and iso 400 there’s no way that’s a 2-3 exposure. it would be completely black except for the lights. the lights are also not blurred. this was shot on a tripod. you can’t handhold a shot for even 2-3 seconds without some obvious movement. nobody is that steady. even with bracing.

  • Zos Xavius

    who uses AP or A or APP? Someone that is trolling the interwebs. f!!!! f22!

  • Zos Xavius

    Total BS. This whole story reeks.

  • Zos Xavius

    You don’t even have to do that. Just expose with the person standing there for a while and then have them leave the frame. light them up with a flash light if needed or even a weak flash burst. Bam instant ghost.

  • Trevor Dennis

    I’d say that was about an EV6 which works out to 4 seconds @ f22 AND ISO400. To get the shot at 1/25th at those settings would need EV12 (dull daylight)