Sunday, September 2, 2012
Panned photos are not for everyone. Maybe its because my own vision is defective (sans glasses) that I find them interesting. They are similar to how I see the world if I'm not wearing corrective lenses. There for a while I was doing a lot of panning to try and get a handle on the technique. Cormorants were a good subject because they would frequently fly by right along the edge of the river opposite where I would stand. I figured if I messed up, I wasn't losing much, since it was just an old cormorant. Once in a while I would get something I liked.
Panning has so many variables, you really can't use a recipe of settings to get a known result. There are just too many things involved like: how fast the bird is flying, how much light is available, how far away the subject is and more. The background is also important because that is what is going to blur. The more variation in color and texture, the better it will look as opposed to a monochrome background.
One key thing that I did learn - and I haven't seen this fact published in anything I have read about on how to pan - is to keep something in the frame (the eye, for instance) in exactly the same spot the entire time you pan. Most instructions get no more detailed than to say try to keep everything in the frame. It is more than that. If you don't keep the active sensor in exactly the same spot - in this case, the eye of the bird - the subject will have it's own blur going on in addition to the background blur and probably won't be a very pleasing image. What you are attempting to do is blur the background, but keep the subject fairly sharp.