One of my very favorite techniques!
The idea is to move the camera and focus on a moving object leaving everything around it a blur. It can be a dynamic image simulating motion and action. This can be done with the camera on a tripod or hand-held, although, if hand-held, tuck elbows close to your body to stabilize the camera as you move with the object. You can learn more about this in National Geographic's Complete Photography.
Your shutter speed with be set at 1/15 or 1/30 of a second so unwanted movement will create too much blur. Seriously, I have practiced this for 3-4 hours at a time and I’m lucky to get one or two shots that work.
Another way to capture motion is to focus on a static object while another object moves in front or behind the focused object, like my school bus photo.
Let’s talk about some of my panned images.
Bicycle Rider – I was in Honolulu panning and this rider suddenly appeared. It was noon and I had my polarizing filter on my 75-300 mm lens. My shutter speed was 1/15 sec and f-stop was f/10. I was using a tripod and moved the top half of my body along with the bike passing by quickly. I think this shot represents a decent pan.
Barrel Rider - The Ft. Worth Rodeo is one of the best and I was so excited to be there. It was dark in the arena and it’s best to have a lens that opens up more, like a 2.8 f-stop. My 75-300 zoom was at a focal length of 200mm, a 5.6 f-stop and so I set my shutter at 1/100sec. That speed stopped the motion somewhat and still allowed the blur. The dirt is kicked up and the energy of the horse and rider leaves no doubt that she wants to win that trophy!
Bella Running – Yeah, I do love this shot for some reason. It shows Bella in a full run with some of her torso in focus. I shot this at 1/40 at F/5.6, ISO 400 with my 24-70 MM2.8L lens. The beautiful vivid colors of the forest create an interesting background making the panned image stand out more.
Kid on a Ride – I have to admit, I love this shot. The cute little blue-eyed boy looks mesmerized and is in focus with everything else in mass confusion. That’s a good thing. The camera catches those split-second events or expressions that the naked eye is unable to see. Some feel like the camera is looking into their soul. Sometimes it truly is!
Mom & Son Zooming - What do us parents do at Christmas time? We share whatever energy we have left with our kids! Sherry spinning by with Bryson is a great pan shot and there is no question what time of year it is. Anything goes so get the camera moving.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!