Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Panning Practice

I love to play with motion with my camera. It's fun to set a long shutter speed and deliberately move the camera, or to shoot a moving subject with a long exposure. One of the most challenging techniques for playing around with motion is panning. A good pan has a relatively sharp subject, with a motion blurred colorful background. Panning can really adds a feeling of movement and speed to your photos.

When you pan, you move your camera parallel to the subject, following it at the same speed and direction.Your motion needs to be smooth with no stops or hesitation. It's easiest if the subject is moving straight across in front of you, either left to right, or right to left. I usually do my pans at 1/30 sec- 1/60 sec and I don't use a tripod. It often takes some experimenting to get just the right speed, depending on the speed of your subject.  I've used panning to shoot car races, traffic, planes, snowmobiles and 4 wheelers. It does takes lots and lots of practice (and many deleted photos!), but when it works, the images are very cool. It's also lots of fun, and isn't that what photography should be?

I shot a barrel race competition last weekend, and knew as soon as the action started that it would be the perfect situation to practice my pans. The first few shots were pretty bad, but I soon got the right speed for the action in front of me, and I happily panned the competition for several hours. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the event.

I also shot some portraits of the riders, all in all a very fun day!

I hope you have some challenging fun with your camera today!

Happy shooting!

Friday, May 20, 2011


 I’ve just finished shooting a patch of ostrich ferns near my house. Ferns fascinate me, I love the curves, the repeating lines and patterns, and all that green! They are one of my favorite photography subjects in the Spring. 

Patterns make great subjects! When you repeat a shape, color or line, you can add strength to an image and make it much more interesting. If you repeat it many times, it forms a pattern and brings a sense of order to  the photo. You don’t need a fern patch to find patterns in nature to photograph, they are everywhere!  

                     You can see repeating patterns in flowers.....

In webs.....

                                   In leaves and dew drops...

                                 Sand and water ripples.....

                                  On frosty surfaces...

...everywhere!  So, get out there are find some patterns. I'm heading back to the fern patch! :)

Happy Shooting!