Looking to do a little ghost hunting? In the mood to re-enact your favorite scene from “Predator”? Whatever your pleasure — from security to nature-watching to artistic expression — there’s a night-vision camera for you.
Nighttime photographers entered the picture in 1871, when Richard L. Maddox developed a photographic plate that was finally up to the task. Early photographers captured images on wet plates — panes of glass coated with chemicals — which were touchy and cumbersome and required exposure times that made night photography impractical. Maddox’s gelatin dry plate changed all that, becoming the first medium capable of capturing nocturnal cityscapes [sources:
As time passed and interest spread, legendary photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, George Brassaï, Weegee and Diane Arbus brought better cameras, improved film and special development techniques to bear. These famed photogs peeled back the curtain of night not with night vision, but with the glow of city lights, illuminated signs, moonlight and the occasional flashbulb.
By the 1970s, Japanese photographers such as Kohei Yoshiyuki were stalking city parks at night, capturing voyeuristic tableaux with their infrared (IR) film and filtered flashbulbs. The era of true night-vision image capture had begun, and both criminals and young lovers would never be safe again
From World War II to today, the U.S. armed forces have driven night-vision tech. As the military turns out incrementally better night-vision scopes, the technology finds its way into civilian cameras. Most prominently, closed-circuit security grew from its infancy in the 1970s to become commonplace by the 1990s [sources:
Today, nigh vision is most widely available in security cameras. Some work only at night, while others switch modes based on user input or ambient light. Surveillance rigs can run from $18 for a 0.5-lux low-light camera to $3,670 for a top-of-the-line thermal imaging model (lux measures the minimum light a camera needs to pick up an image, so lower = better)
Out-of-the-box night-vision photography cameras are rare. The Midnight Shot NV-1, a dual-mode, digital color/IR camera offered through ThinkGeek for $99.99-$149.99, was the only exception we could find in 2012. In most cases, photographers turn instead to IR film, IR lights and special filters, or hack their digital cameras to capture IR (more on that later).
Whatever your shopping selection, your camera will use one of two basic approaches to see in the dark: It will either amplify dim visible light, such as the ambient nightglow of the moon and stars, or gather electromagnetic radiation types that humans can’t perceive, such as infrared.
It makes sense that we would end up taking these two approaches; after all, that’s how Mother Nature does it.
lately it seems there are an increasing number of ads about TV shows dealing with the paranormal. There must be some growing fascination with what lies beyond our senses for these shows to be sold to networks and to be profitable. Although not entirely new to the entertainment world (as much milder versions of these themes were around when I was kid such as “Bewitched, and ‘I Dream of Genie”), the genre is ever expanding, and becoming increasingly darker (as is much in our culture). In a culture that supposedly purports to be “reasonable” and “scientific”, one wouldn’t necessarily deduce that from watching prime-time TV.
A similar longing for the supernatural exists within religion(s) as well. Some Christian Charismatic denominations have this as their primary area of focus and expression. Many of the modern praise choruses cry out for an encounter with the Divine; “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you…I want to see you”.
That’s exactly what happens to Peter, James, and John in today’s gospel text. What began as “another day at the office”, ended in something that would inform them for the rest of their lives (Peter comments about this event in today’s epistle lesson). Let’s recap these paranormal events as they unfold:
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. In hearing the account of Moses and his encounter with the living God, it would seem Matthew is drawing parallels with the Transfiguration of Jesus. In the Bible it is not uncommon to have significant events happen on mountaintops as these two readings attest. As was true of Moses and his encounter with the living God at Mt. Sinai, Peter, James, and John experience a “theophany” (God appearance) as Jesus is illumined with the glory of God.
Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Much speculation has arisen from this verse and the appearance of Moses and Elijah. These are undoubtedly two of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament (OT), and represent much of the OT’s content (Moses with the Law, and Elijah the Prophets…had King David appeared as a representative for the Writings, the OT witness would have been complete). Matthew omits any indication as to the purpose of the ancient visitors, but Luke tells us, “They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem”. In the early verses of this text there is enough supernatural activity to last an average person a lifetime as Jesus’ person becomes luminescent, and two long gone spiritual giants (Moses had died some 1200 prior and Elijah ascended into heaven in a chariot if fire around 850 BC) are seen to be very much alive and well.
… if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” Although not supernatural in nature, Peter’s response is worth noting. How can this event be captured and immortalized (long before the days of iphone cameras)? I have an idea (thinks Peter), let’s construct a tent/shrine for them…a place where they can live, and we can memorialize this moment forever. In our study of cults and other religions, we discovered that JR Rutherford (then leader of the Watchtower Society/Jehovah’s Witnesses) had a similar idea in building a 10-bedroom mansion in San Diego California back in the early 20th C to house OT dignitaries like; Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, and Isaiah. Apparently, the OT saints never showed up, so rather than let the house sit empty, Judge Rutherford graciously volunteered to use Beth Sarim as his winter home. It’s not uncommon to want to memorialize significant events like the Transfiguration this with a shrine or a temple. What we discover however, is that such events (and the God of such events) are not easily contained in a box, or as the Bing Crosby classic song goes, “don’t fence me in”.
While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” Although being part of Jesus’ inner circle (and for some, the Church’s first pope), Peter, like all of us, has his less than shining moments. We see the first example of this when Peter comes u