Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Panning Tutorial

No, I am not referring to panning for gold, 
but that would be exciting! 
I am referring to capturing the feeling of motion 
in your still photo.  

Definition
Here is the Wikipedia description: 
In still photography, the panning technique is used to suggest fast motion, and bring out the subject from other elements in the frame. In photographic pictures it is usually noted by a foreground subject in action appearing still (i.e. a runner frozen in mid-stride) while the background is streaked and/or skewed in the apparently opposite direction of the subject's travel.

Example:
I took the photo below from a ferry. 
I steadied myself along the edge of the ferry 
and using a slower shutter speed 
I followed the jet ski as it passed 
with my camera. 


You can see the splash is blurred 
as is the water - 
caused by the slower shutter speed,
Yet the action of the 
jet ski seems stopped - 
cause by following it with the camera. 

If I had a second chance, 
I would have slowed down the shutter speed some more.
But they were not aware of my pleas to circle around again!

Practice:
Here is a great way to practice...
as long as you don't get too dizzy.
Go to a playground with one of those spinny rides.
I don't know what they are called, 
but you push them and they go round and round.

Sit on one side,
have someone sit opposite of you.
Keep your camera steady by bracing your elbows against yourself.
Spin the ride and snap your photos.

Here is an example.
Note the blurred background from spinning.


Technical:
So how do you achieve that slower shutter speed?

Option 1:
If you shoot in manual (M)
or shutter/time (S or TV) priority,
you can set your shutter speed. 
How slow depends on what you are shooting, 
how fast it is moving, and how far away you are.
In the above photo, 
the speed was 1/25.


But if it was a race car I was photographing 
and I was relatively close 
I might have used 1/125.
The great thing about digital is you can experiment
and see which way you need to adjust.

To control shutter speed

Nikon users select M (Manual) or S (Shutter)
then use the appropriate dial on your camera to select the shutter speed.


Canon users select M (Manual) or TV (Time Value)
then use the appropriate dial on your camera to select the shutter speed.



If you select S or TV the camera will choose the other settings.
If you select M you will have to make those adjustments yourself 
until you achieve proper exposure.

Option 2 (Possibility):
I am not sure if you can trick a point and shoot 
that does not have manual (M) or shutter priority settings (S or TV)
into doing this or not.
I would start by choosing the landscape/scenery preset on the camera,
usually indicated by the Mountain icon.  



That will let less light in the camera 
forcing a slower shutter speed. 
But the camera might outsmart you and 
raise up the ISO too much
and not achieve a slow enough speed.
But you can always try! 

Inspiration
For examples or idea inspiration 
do a Google search of Panning and select Images.

I hope this gives you something new to try. 

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