BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Mary Kaye Bailey
 

How to Shoot a Successful Panning Image


I have made numerous unsuccessful attempts to pan a shot by increasing my shutter speed and following a moving target during the prolonged exposure. The inner mirror on my SLR (Canon Rebel 2000)is designed to flip up to allow film exposure, so I lose sight of my subject in the viewfinder. Can you share any tips to achieve a sharp subject and blurred background with this creative technique other than pan and pray?


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11/25/2004 5:32:52 PM

 
Tony Sweet
TonySweet.com
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  Yep, you're right! With a film camera, the mirror flips up to expose the film and you cannot see the image during the exposure. Just begin your pan and keep moving in the same direction throughout the exposure. You don't really need to see the image, and it will be fine as long as you continue to "follow-through" during your exposure.


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11/26/2004 5:29:30 AM

 
Mary Kaye Bailey   Thanks, Tony, for your suggestion. I think I need to continue to practice this technique. So far I must either be slightly faster or slower than the moving subject. My subject is not as blurred as the background but definitely not as sharp as I'd like to see it.


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11/26/2004 6:42:21 PM

 
Michael E. Johnson   Think of it like hunting or shooting sporting clays. If you pull the trigger and stop you will shoot behind it. I suggest picking up the target early so you can get your pan speed.


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11/30/2004 12:48:03 AM

 
David King   Mary, this is made a whole lot easier with a tripod with a pan head on it. If the motion is linear, simply use the axis that follows the movement, sight over the camera and follow the action as Tony and Mike suggested. If you are going for the background to blur and want to keep the target relatively still in the frame use a reference point on your camera as a marker. this is, however, one of those times when a rangefinder or twin lens camera makes life a lot easier.

I love ball head tripod heads but this is one of the types of subjects where using a three-axis pan head is easier to work with.

If you get a chance, look at some of Ernst Haas's work for some incredible motion photography and a trove of ideas.

David
www.ndavidking.com


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11/30/2004 6:28:51 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  practice on traffic.


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11/30/2004 7:00:54 AM

 
jean ray
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/22/2004
  Mary, this is a technique that really takes a lot of practice. The suggestion to practice on traffic is good, but you also need to pan objects of various speeds in order to get a sense of what shutter speed is needed for a speeding car vs a cyclist, for example. A patient friend rode his bike around the block quite a few times before I got my first successful image. Good luck!


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11/30/2004 6:59:18 PM

 
Mary Kaye Bailey   Thank you very much, Tony, Mike, David, Gregory,and Jean, for your comments and suggestions. You've given me some ideas that I have not considered!! I appreciate your sharing with me. Mary Kaye


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12/1/2004 8:54:51 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  sorry, I meant to say play in traffic.


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12/1/2004 12:23:02 PM

 
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