By now you have probably seen the mind-bending “ghost” photo that has gone viral from the Allen (Texas) football game against Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.).
But if you’re wondering how Dallas Morning News photographer Jae Lee captured the image that has been shared multiple times and written about by virtually every outlet, including our friends at For The Win, Lee penned an explainer.
Nationally-ranked powerhouse Allen was dominating the game in the first half. I saw that the Evangel players were in a passing formation with no running backs lined up behind the quarterback in a third-and-long situation. So I got into position behind the line, anticipating that there might be Allen players sacking the Evangel quarterback.
I shot five frames on the play and the quarterback threw an incomplete pass. With an incomplete pass and no sack, I didn’t think anything special happened so I didn’t look at the shots on the back of the camera to review them. My guess was wrong.
After the game was over and all of my “best” photos had been sent, I was sending in extra photos from the game to beef up the online slideshow. While looking at my outtakes to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything, I suddenly noticed an image of a helmet floating in the air. I zoomed in to get a closer look and said, “Bang! That’s a shot I’ve never seen before!”
I was lucky to capture the perfect moment with the angle of the flying helmet perfectly upright, but the lighting in Allen’s Eagle Stadium helped. Because of their beautifully bright stadium lights, I could shoot with a high shutter speed to stop the action (shutter speed 1/1250th sec., aperture f4, at ISO 5000, with a 200-400mm lens on a Canon 1-Dx camera).