“The enemy of photography is the convention, the fixed rules of ‘how to do’. The salvation of photography comes from the experiment.”
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

A Puzzling Camera Motion Experiment Result

Why isn’t the window rotating?

Technical – Nikon D300 RAW, Tokina 50-135 2.8 @ 135mm, 13 sec (that’s thirteen), f/22, ISO 200, EV=0, Aperture Priority, center weighted metering, Cloudy WB, Tripod. The lens has a tripod collar the significance of which, for this image, is that the camera can be rotated while sitting on the tripod. In this case, I rotated the camera back and forth about 30 degrees until the 13-second exposure time was over.


  • Nothing special except to put the “window” more or less in the center as I wanted it to be my center of rotation


  1. Capture NX2 (plus Color Efex Pro plug-in) for RAW conversion. Basically this is just as it came from the camera. It’s a camera technique experiment and I didn’t want post to influence the results with any post-process changes. However – something odd happened to the green between my NX2 output and the version in this post; pretend that it looks right. 😉


Here’s a side by side of no-spin & spin –


Here’s what a lens collar looks like if it’s new to you. It attaches to the tripod and the camera is free to rotate to any angle. The camera and lens turn within the collar which is fixed to the tripod.


About now you’re probably saying – interesting but so what! Well, I have two points to make.

First – As the quote at the start suggests, experiment with your photography. Have you ever noticed, on forums, how often a question like “What does the XYZ button on my camera do?” Now, there’s someone who can’t even do the obvious – TRY IT, for for cryin’ out loud! – and doesn’t know the meaning of the word experiment. That’s not you or me, but just sayin’.

With today’s image, I came across this structure and happened to have a lens with a collar on my tripod (I routinely carry a camera on the tripod while walking about). Further, the light was low thus allowing long exposures. I said to myself – I wonder what would happen if…. – I’ll have to remember to ask that on a forum later give it a try. And so I gave it a try – actually about 25 tries with varying exposure times and degrees|speeds of rotation, etc. The one shown above is representative.

Second – I was surprised and puzzled by one aspect of the result (and remain puzzled – answer anyone?). I did not expect the window to show almost no rotation. I expected less rotation than objects nearer to the perimeter of the frame, yes, but not the small amount that you see. Although it’s hard to see in the version here, the foliage visible behind the bars of the window is rotating as you’d expect so why not the same effect with the window frame and bars? Like I said, puzzling.

I tried to duplicate the result since returning home and haven’t been able to entirely. The experiment continues…. I’m sure that it’s a “geometry thing” and will eventually work it out. 😉



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