Panning Shots – Sharp and Blur Together

Panning shots always looked cool to me.  You see them often in sports photography – a car or bike in perfect focus with the background just a motion blur behind it.  The way you usually do this is by setting your camera to a moderately low shutter speed (it all depends, but maybe somewhere between 1/50 and 1/10) and as the subject moves past you in a horizontal direction, you track them with your camera and take the picture while moving your camera to follow them.  When done right, you get a subject in focus and everything else a blur.  I’ve never had a ton of practice getting this type of shot but here are a few like that:

Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland - Panning Shot

Image file not found(ImagePath:/volume1/web/wordpress/http://192.168.0.15/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/thunder-mountain-railroad-panning.jpg)

Here’s another.  Notice how… not sharp the subject is.  Part is lack of practice and the other part is this just… kinda hard!

Seattle Redbull Soapbox Derby Banana - Panning

Image file not found(ImagePath:/volume1/web/wordpress/http://192.168.0.15/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/redbull-soapbox-derby-banana-panning.jpg)

I’ve got the cure for your problems.  Wanna take a picture that doesn’t require things to go whizzing past your face, lets you easily accommodate your subject of choice, and get a great panning effect?  With a little help from an idea stolen directly from DIY Photography, you can do just that!  Hit the jump for the rest!

Continue reading →