Image of the Day: This iPhone photo shouldn't exist

What you're looking at is the nose of a propeller plane as photographed by an iPhone. You should be noticing something weird right off the bat — at least, if you understand that reality shouldn't allow for this to exist.

Before you start humming a few Twilight Zone bars, what you're seeing here is actually the effect that a "rolling shutter" can have on digital cameras. When you snap a photo with a digital cam like the iPhone, the image it captures isn't instantaneous.

Photographer Jason Mullins does a good job explaining the effect:

[Using] an iPhone 4, and the scanning typically goes from top left to bottom right so moving objects lean to the left. Essentially any electronic shutter camera (i.e. not an SLR like mechanical shutter) will give these effects. Wikipedia has some good articles here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_shutter

For those who want to try this out, just point your simple electronic shutter camera at an object moving parallel to you, preferably fast, and take the photo. The faster the relative speed between you, the more the distortion. Rotating objects go really weird!

The picture above was taken by Mullins to demonstrate the effect. Want to see another? Check out the one just down below by Soren Ragsdale. It's a pretty wild effect, yet it couldn't be simpler.

Core77, via Gizmodo

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