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

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Credit: Ari Brown
  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T1i
  • Taken: 12 October, 2009
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s

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

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Credit: Ari Brown
  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T1i
  • Taken: 12 October, 2009
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s

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!

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  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T1i
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s