it’s A tech­nique that’s FOUND FAVOUR with motorsport, wildlife AND CRE­ATIVE pho­tog­ra­phers Alike. JOR­DAN But TERS DEMON­STRATES the ART of PAN­NING…

Digital SLR Photography - - Contents -

Cap­ture sub­jects in mo­tion by im­prov­ing your pan­ning tech­nique. Jor­dan But­ters demon­strates how it’s done

Cam­era: Nikon D750 / Lens: AF- S 70- 200mm F/ 2.8G ED VR ii

P an­ning is the prac­tice of fol­low­ing the di­rec­tion of a mov­ing sub­ject with the cam­era whilst us­ing a slow shut­ter speed to con­vey mo­tion. By keep­ing the sub­ject, or at least part of it, in one place in the frame through the ex­po­sure, the re­sult is a dy­namic blurred back­ground, with the sub­ject ren­dered nice and sharp. it’s a rel­a­tively sim­ple tech­nique to learn, but one that takes lot of prac­tice to be­come con­sis­tent at and to mas­ter.

Be­cause mo­tion blur con­veys the idea of speed in still im­ages, the more blur, the faster a sub­ject is per­ceived to be trav­el­ling. the amount of blur that you cap­ture de­pends on sev­eral fac­tors. the main two to con­sider are the speed that the sub­ject is trav­el­ling at and the shut­ter speed that you choose. For ex­am­ple, a pan­ning shot of some­one walk­ing past at 1/ 30sec will con­tain far less mo­tion blur than the same sub­ject pho­tographed at 1/ 15sec. a car pass­ing at a higher speed will con­tain sub­stan­tially more blur than the im­age of the per­son would too. Fo­cal length also af­fects the ap­pear­ance of back­ground blur – a longer fo­cal length will com­press per­spec­tive, ac­cen­tu­at­ing blur. Find­ing the right amount of mo­tion blur for your sub­ject, their speed and dis­tance from you is often hit or miss, but use the ex­am­ple ta­ble over the page as a good start­ing point to be­gin with.

pan­ning can be made eas­ier by us­ing a sup­port, such as a tri­pod or mono­pod. By lock­ing off any po­ten­tial move­ment on the ver­ti­cal axis, your hit rate is likely to im­prove. how­ever the use of such sup­ports can re­strict move­ment, and pre­vent you from pan­ning sub­jects that might not be trav­el­ling per­fectly par­al­lel to your po­si­tion.

1 AN­GLE OF AP­PROACH Con­sider your sub­ject’s an­gle of ap­proach – a con­stant speed and move­ment through the frame makes it eas­ier to track. There­fore, it’s sim­pler to pan a sub­ject mov­ing across you side- on than it is one com­ing to­wards or away from you. Pan­ning with a sub­ject ap­proach­ing or mov­ing away usu­ally re­quires a faster shut­ter speed than one mov­ing across be­cause the sub­ject’s size in the frame changes through­out the ex­po­sure.

2 CHOOSE SHUT TER- PRIORIT Y MODE Set your cam­era up ready to shoot – select shut­ter- pri­or­ity mode and con­tin­u­ous drive mode. Switch to sin­gle- point, con­tin­u­ous aut­o­fo­cus too. Look through the viewfinder and move your fo­cus point to where you want your sub­ject to be in the frame. Set your ISO to re­flect the light – on a sunny day choose ISO 100, or for over­cast weather try ISO 200- 400.

3 PICK YOUR SHUT TER SPEED Choos­ing the right shut­ter speed often calls for trial and er­ror. If you’re af­forded mul­ti­ple at­tempts, then start with a fast shut­ter speed and work your way slower as you im­prove. Pan­ning is a game of risk and re­ward – shoot­ing faster is safer, but less dra­matic, whereas slower shut­ters mean more chance of missing the shot, but the op­por­tu­nity for more im­pres­sive re­sults.

4 TECH­NIQUE As your sub­ject ap­proaches, po­si­tion your AF point over it and track it, keep­ing it in the ex­act same po­si­tion in the frame us­ing the AF point as a ref­er­ence. Stand with your legs shoul­der­width apart, lock your el­bows into your sides and ro­tate the top half of your body smoothly in one fluid mo­tion through your hips. When you’re ready, press and hold the shut­ter but­ton, con­tin­u­ing to track the sub­ject un­til it has passed you by.

5 HOW SLOW CAN YOU GO In all of the im­ages above the car is trav­el­ling at 40mph, how­ever it’s the shut­ter speed that af­fects the per­cep­tion of speed. Slower speeds might take a few at­tempts, but per­se­vere. If you’re not hav­ing any luck, then go a cou­ple of stops faster. If you’re nail­ing ev­ery shot, then go slower. Zoom in on the LCD and check for sharp­ness, rather than re­ly­ing on a quick glance.



1/ 8sec

1/ 125sec

1/ 30sec

1/ 60sec

pan han­dling Cap­ture sub­jects with dy­namic blur by slow­ing your shut­ter speed and pan­ning as they pass by. Ex­po­sure: 1/ 60sec at f/ 3.5 ( ISO 320)

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