Move the cam­era

NPhoto - - Feature -

Freez­ing a mov­ing sub­ject with a fast shut­ter speed is one thing, but, iron­i­cally, the re­sult­ing pho­to­graph can some­times ap­pear rather static. To give a greater sen­sa­tion of speed, it’s of­ten more ef­fec­tive to use a slightly slower shut­ter speed and move the cam­era to fol­low a mov­ing sub­ject. By pan­ning the cam­era at the same speed as the sub­ject, they’ll stay (more or less) in the same po­si­tion in the frame, but the rest of the scene will have moved a great deal in com­par­i­son and will be ren­dered as blurred streaks.

Ob­vi­ously this is a tech­nique that takes time to mas­ter. As Andy points out in

Cap­ture the Mo­ment, “It’s re­ally im­por­tant to pan at ex­actly the same speed as the sub­ject, so don’t speed up or slow down. It takes a bit of prac­tice to keep level through the whole pan.” Keep­ing the lens level is im­por­tant, as you only want the move­ment to ap­pear blurred in one plane – typ­i­cally hor­i­zon­tally across the pic­ture rather than ver­ti­cally as well. To help with this, you can at­tach your lens to a mono­pod, which gives you the free­dom to pan but pre­vents the lens wob­bling up and down. Al­ter­na­tively, use a Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion lens which au­to­mat­i­cally de­tects the di­rec­tion of pan­ning and stops try­ing to cor­rect the in­ten­tional move­ment in that plane.

The sub­ject doesn’t even have to be mov­ing very fast for this tech­nique to work, you’ll sim­ply need to ad­just your shut­ter speed to a slower set­ting.

Andy also rec­om­mends us­ing flash at the same time as a pan-blur to en­hance the ef­fect, some­thing that works well for cy­clists: “It is sim­i­lar to a nor­mal pan blur, but the flash gives more de­tail and bright­ens the sub­ject.” You’ll need to be work­ing at shut­ter speeds slower than the flash sync speed (usu­ally 1/200 sec or 1/250 sec) and with the flash set to slow-sync mode to en­sure that you cap­ture de­tail in the back­ground. Rear-cur­tain sync will al­low the blurred mo­tion to streak be­hind the flash-lit sub­ject.

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