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Total noob here.

I know that electromagnetic waves do not need a medium to travel. I analogize a photon as a single pulse/oscillation in the electromagnetic field and its propagation is the motion of that pulse through the electromagnetic field. Kind of like the pulse that travels through a string if you jerk it.

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    $\begingroup$ This is how science works. We first observe the physical reality and then come up with mathematical theories to explain it approximately. In quantum physics the observable objective reality is particles. Fields are not observable. Quantum fields are an abstraction made of mathematical probabilities to find a particle. Fields of probabilities are not real, they don't exist in reality. What exists is particles that behave like waves when "no one is watching". So no, particles are neither "disturbances in the field" nor "little balls". They are quantum objects with "a split personality". $\endgroup$ – safesphere Aug 22 '18 at 5:06
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There is a close connection between the optical field as it is described by the electromagnetic field and a single photon. It is stated that a photon is a single excitation of the field. In that sense it inherits all the properties of that field. So, if the electromagnetic field is a single pulse that only exists for a short duration, then the same would be true for the photon. On the other hand, if the field is monochromatic then the single photon also has a single frequency, but that means it exists effectively for ever.

This may sound contradictory to the fact that one would observe the photon at a particular instant in time. However, that is a result of the measurement process and does not have anything to do with the photon's existence in the field.

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Yes that is a correct understanding, you could also use the pebble in a pond analogy as light/photon seems to spread out. There are many posts on this forum some very good, some not so good. Keep reading and you will get a good feel for the photon etc.

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