Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Camera Movement Fun

I love making images while moving my camera vertically using a slow shutter speed. Some people call this Vertical Panning, some call it Intentional Camera Movement, call it whatever you'd like, I call it fun! 

                                                                           f/9  1/5 sec.

 Deliberately moving your camera during an exposure can result in some stunning abstract photographs. I love this technique, it's a wonderful way to see your subject differently! It does take some practice and is often hit or miss, each photograph will yield such different results. It’s well worth the effort to shoot lots and lots of these. You may need to use your polarizing filter or neutral density filter to get the necessary slow shutter speeds for these images if you are shooting on a bright day.

                                                                        f/25 .5 sec
f/14 .4 sec

f/4.5 .3 sec

 f/32 .4 sec

Find a subject with lots of interest, containing pattern, line, color, shape, or contrast. Set an exposure that allows you to use a long shutter speed, I usually start with 1/30 second or slower. At the moment you press the shutter, move the camera in a straight line, up or down. Too little movement will just resemble a blurry photo and too much movement will result in loss of all detail. Experiment with movement speed and shutter speed until you find a combination that works for you.

Photographers often use this technique to photograph trees, their long lines do make them excellent subject matter for the technique. But think beyond trees... you can pan buildings and other landscapes, and also smaller scenes, just look for a frame filled with line and color. This can be a great thing to try on a very windy day when you are just not going to get subject sharpness, or with a subject that isn't in prime condition, blur is very forgiving! It's also a great way to create photos when you just aren't feeling very creative. Panning will get you out of that slump!

Irises f/9 1/6 sec

Lupine F/32 1/8 sec

 Try adding a little curve to that vertical motion for a different effect:

Tulips f/18 1/30 sec

iPhone shooters can pan too, my favorite App for this is called Slow Shutter, here are some images I  made in Charleston while panning with my phone:

Happy Shooting!


  1. These are beautiful, Kathleen.
    They look like wonderful paintings.

  2. Really really beautiful ! It makes me want to try it :)

  3. Kathleen these images are so lovely. They do look like paintings. I have always loved this style of image which I see often in your work, but had no idea how you achieved the look. I am off to practice this over the weekend.

  4. Kathleen I am truly enjoying your work and find it extremely inspirational. I have a cropped sensor camera (Nikon D7100) and am looking very hard at the Lensbaby Spark. I am getting mixed signals about how the lens would perform under my conditions. What can you provide since you are, in my opinion, the best? Thanks

  5. Not sure what you mean about conditions, but you'll have great fun with the Spark!

    1. Conditions meaning using a cropped sensor camera vs a full frame.

  6. I have no personal experience with a cropped sensor camera, contact Lensbaby support:

    Toll free: 877-536-7222
    Outside USA: 971-223-5662

  7. awesome photos. it really look like a painting. I've look on your photos kathleen and its wow! It catch me. I love your style Kathleen.