my flickr photostream

Monday, October 26, 2009

Take your Camera for a Spin

Going for a Spin
© 2009 Simon Hucko

No, it's not radial blur in photoshop. I did this in-camera on a photowalk I took recently. This walk was just for fun - a quickie over my lunch break to enjoy the nice weather and play around with a few new things. I'm not sure why I decided to start spinning my camera as I took photos, but I'm glad I did. I must have taken about 50 of these in various places. Some had way too much spin, some had the center of the spin at the edge or out of the frame, and some just looked blurry, but the one above turned out just right.

The lesson here? Don't be afraid to play around with new things. It's a lot of fun, and might even produce a few unique photos. Also, never underestimate the power of volume when you're experimenting with something like this. The more photos you take, the more likely you'll walk away with one that you like.



edit: Way to talk about a technique and not tell you how to do it. Sorry all (and thanks Kristan for the reminder). This is how I arrived at the photo above. Your mileage may vary.

I was shooting around 1/100th of a second. The motion I used was sort of a flip of the wrist, trying to keep the rotation around the axis of the lens and not my hand. This was made much easier by my new hand strap, since I didn't have to worry about throwing my camera in the process...

The motion was about a 120 degree rotation (started around vertical and ended a bit past horizontal). I pre-focused and locked exposure on where I wanted to shoot, started the rotation, then pressed the shutter and followed through after I heard the mirror flip back. The timing of all of this is probably harder with a point n shoot, but not impossible, especially if you pre-focus. You'll just have to press the shutter a little earlier.

And, most importantly, I did it a lot. It's going to take some practice and some luck to get this to work out right. Out of the 100 or so frames I've taken with a spin, I've really only liked 3 or 4.

Hope that helps...

[title of blog] on flickr


  1. Dude awesome! Totally thought it was a radial blur, yeah. But how do you spin the camera and keep a spot in focus? Tricks/tips? One hand, two? Full 180?

  2. hm, yeah, a "how to" would probably be good. i'll write something up and amend it to the post above.