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The Colours of Old Bisbee | Some Recent Shots | Birds of North America | St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery | California Condors at Navajo Bridge | Tumacacori & San Xavier Missions | World Championship Hoop Dance Contest | Yellowstone National Park | Midway & Boundary Country | Morro Bay Classic Ford Bench Seat Sculpture | Peggy's Cove | All Shadows | Yukon Days | Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, California | Some Wildlife Shots from our Travels | Europe 2003 | China in Costume | Dreamland | Our Ixtapa | America West | Cochran, Arizona & the Coke Ovens | Grand Canyon Odyssey | Crested Saguaro | White Sands National Monument | Grand Tetons Again | San Antonio | Monument Valley Revisited | Carlsbad Caverns National Park | Zihuatanejo: Celebrating the Revolution | Go To Your Happy Place | Jenny | More Nova Scotia | Algonquin Park | Goldfield Ghost Town | Sedona's Downtown | Bulow Creek State Park | Flagler Beach Area | Alligators | USS Midway | Coronado | Arizona's Red Rock State Park | Windy Point Reyes | Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona | Grand Canyon - South Rim | Hearst Castle | Little Colorado River Overlook | Morro Bay | Lake Powell & Rainbow Bridge National Monument | Wukaki Pueblo in Wupatki National Monument | Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument | Walnut Canyon National Monument | Chiricahua National Monument | Wave Crest at Del Mar | 7197 Cedar Brook Place, Sooke, B.C., Canada | West Boulder Canyon Saddle Hike | Panning Fun | Great Basin National Park | Scots Bay & Blomidon, Nova Scotia | Muir Woods | Golden Gate Bridge | Fort Bowie National Historic Site | Tombstone | Celebrating Sixty in Lockeport | Oriya | Around Jerome, Arizona | Alcatraz | Beechy Head Trail | First Water Trailhead to Canyon Cove Trail | Piestewa Peak Climb | Massacre Grounds Trail | Treasure Loop to Massacre Grounds Hike | Riparian Preserve | Bryce Canyon National Park Revisited: Chapter 1 | Bryce Canyon National Park Revisited: Chapter 2 | Bryce Canyon National Park Revisited: Chapter 3 | Bryce Canyon National Park Revisited: Chapter 4 | Bryce Canyon National Park Revisited: Chapter 5 | The Clockmaker's Inn | Brig - Our New Home | Finnerty Gardens | Iron Mine Bay Trail | Thetis Lake Two Lake Loop Trail | Matheson Lake Trail | Orveas Bay Resort | Mt. Wells Trail Hike | Some of Sidney's Waterfront | Mt. Work Trail Hike | Hikes Everywhere | Durrance Lake Trail | Henderson Park & University of Victoria Alumni Trail | Mt. Tolmie | In Box | Family & Friends | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 1 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 2 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 3 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 4 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 5 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 6 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 7 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 8 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 9 | Cesky Krumlov: Chapter 10 | Southern Vancouver Island Hikes: Chapter 1 | Southern Vancouver Island Hikes: Chapter 2 | Southern Vancouver Island Hikes: Chapter 3 - Mt. Finlayson | Mystic Vale | Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary | Gowlland Tod Provincial Park | Gowlland Tod Provincial Park: McKenzie Bight Trail: Chapter 1 | Gowlland Tod Provincial Park: McKenzie Bight Trail: Chapter 2 | Colquitz River Trail | Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park | Mt. Douglas Park: Chapter 1 | Mt. Douglas Park: Chapter 2 | John Dean Provincial Park Hike 1 | John Dean Provincial Park 2 - Slektain/Montfort Trails | John Dean Provincial Park 3 | The Casa Grande Ruins | Sandy & Diane on the Apache Trail | San Diego Botanical Garden | Imagine... the wolves | Arches National Park Revisited | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 1 | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 2 | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 3 | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 4 | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 5 | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 6 - Hackberry Springs Trail | Arizona Hikes & Drives - Chapter 7: Peralta Trailhead to First Water Trailhead | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 8 - Picacho Peak | Arizona Hikes and Drives - Chapter 9 - Flatiron Climb | Arizona Hikes & Drives - Chapter 10 - San Rafael Valley | Arizona Hikes & Drives - Chapter 11 - Madera Canyon | Sandy & Diane's Arizona Hike | Wednesdays | Chainsaw Carving - Soper Originals | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 1 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 2 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 3 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 4 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 5 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 6 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 7 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 8 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 9 | Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Chapter 10 | Joshua Tree National Park: Chapter 1 | Joshua Tree National Park: Chapter 2 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 1 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 2 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 3 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 4 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 5 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 6 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 7 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 8 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 9 | Budapest, City on the Danube - Chapter 10 | Scottsdale Camelback Resort | Budapest Market - Chapter 1 | Budapest Market - Chapter 2 | St. Stephen's Basilica - Budapest | Szentendre, Hungary | Danube Bend | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 1 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 2 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 3 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 4 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 5 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 6 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 7 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 8 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 9 | Prague: On the Street - Chapter 10 | Prague's Vysehrad | Prague: On the Vlatava River - Chapter 1 | Prague: On the Vlatava River - Chapter 2 | Prague: On the Vlatava River - Chapter 3 | Prague Nights | John Lennon Wall | Campgrounds & RVing | At Large In The West | Selecting the Shots | Dawson City, Yukon | Dawson City Revisited | Top of the World Highway | Hodgepodge | Some Old Ones | On The Water | Peggy's Cove Revisited | Canadian Patrol | Searching for Autumn | At Large in the Adirondacks | Footloose in Nova Scotia | Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) | Pete & Carol's Great Western Adventure Gallery | Just Bumming Around | Kamloops Country | Christmas Time at Heather's | Mesa Verde National Park | Monument Valley | Canyon de Chelley | The Hector | Canyonlands | Arches | Utah 24 | Bryce Canyon | Zion National Park | Ni Hao Friends | Feng Du, the Ghost City | Beijing, the Northern Capital | Shanghai, Window on the World | China's Haunting Guilin | China at Work | Lesser Three Gorges | Winding Li River | Ancient Xi'an | Along the Mighty Yangtze | September in China | Moscow Armoury Museum | Russian Folk | MokiMac | Nakusp | Montana Treasures | Puppies, Puppies, Puppies | The Cabin | Thomas Spence | Travelbug, Our 2002 (2003 Model) Chinook Premier 2100 Motorhome | Bluff Springs Loop Trail

Panning Fun

Photo panning is a technique of photographing that involves following a moving subject in a manner that blurs the background and creates a sense of motion of the subject.

I decided to try this technique and it mostly involved experimentation and practice. The results were my first efforts and I am hopeful that those with much more experience than I will share their advice and expertise here with their comments. I am sure that my comments here relate mostly to the circumstances and environment I encountered in my "trial" and that there are lots more experiences and ideas out there.

Here are some of the things I learned about panning:

- Practice, practice, practice... perhaps 10 to 20% of the shots have some redeeming value in the end, even after much practice, and I am still learning each time I try.
- What you learn about focus mode, ISO, shutter or aperture mode and whether you use a tripod or monopod and whether to use the vibration reduction option will vary depending on your camera and the light or the nature of the subject... for example, how fast were the cars travelling? In my test photos, I came to the conclusion that shutter priority was by far the best setting, that my ISO settings between 200 and 500 were the best with 200 giving me the best clarity of the foreground subject but 500 giving me the best panning results and 800 over-exposing the background, the vibration reduction mode off, camera hand-held and circular polarizer pre-set for where I was going to depress the shutter release. I chose hand-held because I have a moveable focus point in my viewfinder and so I set it on the main subject and follow it until I release the shutter... I couldn’t do that properly on the tripod. I found that 1/100th of a second was too fast and captured too much of the background without blur, 1/50th got decent results, but 1/30th got the best results... slower and everything was blurred from the background to the main subject.
- Not all out-of-focus main subject photos are discards... some can be post-processed with various techniques.
- How close you are to the subject makes a difference... if you are using a zoom lens, you can get significantly different effects by varying the closeness, but generally if you are too close and lose the background, you don’t get the panning effect of a moving background. Being further back gives perspective and you are best to rely upon cropping to get what you like in the final version.
- The main subject doesn’t need to be in the centre of the photo... you need the background to show the motion and speed effect... decide that first if you are setting your focus point and doing continuous focusing.
- How you stand makes a crucial difference... I found that I needed first to decide where I wanted to actually trigger the shot, so I faced that way, widened my stance, locked my elbows in, then twisted at the waist to start to track my subject. Keeping the plane level was important and while you can get some interesting effects if you don’t keep level, they don’t give the full impression of background movement or blur that makes the subject seem to be moving fast.
- If you are using a circular polarizing lens, pre-set it for where you will trigger the exposure... the polarizing effect will change with angle of the sun and sometimes it does not produce a friendly result.
- Sometimes it is best to trigger the exposure when the subject passes directly in front of you for maximum effect, but you can get some interesting results when the subject has passed you and is going away... you can get a great blur effect with added diminishing perspective.
- When you trigger the subject, smoothly continue the swing past that point... some cameras have a longer lag time for the exposure and this will be most noticeable when the light is lower and the lag time is longer.
- How you use your focal options is important... if you have a continuous focus mode you can usually apply it two ways... either by pushing the shutter release down half way with the focus mode set on continuous, though it is sometimes hard to do that while also rotating at the waist and holding the camera and triggering the release, or using the focus mode lock button which does the same on my camera. I just keep it depressed with my thumb while I rotate and then depress the shutter release.
- If you use a relatively narrow focus area, which seems to work best, and if your main subject is large, like a long truck, other parts of that truck are likely to be out of focus... that can be o.k. to improve the panning effect. Widening the focus area might work but it can decrease the panning effect in many shots. I did discover that the centre of a smaller subject might be in focus, but there appears to be movement in other parts of the same subject... a bit of a conundrum unless the effect looks good.
- I also discovered that some of the panning background multiplies... for example, in several shots, the same vehicle repeats in the same shot several times... up to three in fact... the effect was fine but is inexplicable. The same applied to one of my shots where the continuous background in front of the subject was one colour and behind it another... dramatically. I am guessing that the camera simply couldn’t capture it at the slow speed... I was moving with the subject and behind the subject there seemed to be a “shadow” effect where the camera couldn’t capture the detail.
- It is hard to shoot cars in multiple lanes because you can follow one subject and have another pass at the wrong moment, but sometimes this can be effective because your main subject may be well focussed and the other will be moving fast enough to provide the panning effect in the foreground if the other car is closer to you. I had some surprise results when I discovered that my focus point had actually captured a different subject at the time of shutter release... but that can be good too as long as you take enough shots and are flexible... some are bound to work.
- In terms of post-processing, I found that my main subjects looked best if I sharpened them several times in order to provide a contrast with the blurred background and that sharpening didn’t have a measurable result on the blur effect.
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