Panning the shot

Switching your camera to full manual or semi-manual mode, allows you to experiment in many creative ways. A prerequisite however is to have a basic understanding of the exposure triangle (ISO, Speed, Aperture) and how these 3 components can be used together to manipulate light.

Panning is a technique I’ve been itching to experiment with for a while now. Predominantly used in sports photography (and particularly car racing), this technique allows you to freeze a subject in motion while blurring the background. To achieve this effect, the subject should be moving laterally to your position, as was the case of this boy riding his bike on the beach in Ngapali Myanmar.

To shoot this photo, I switched my camera to speed priority (Tv on Canon cameras) – a setting which allows the photographer to manually adjust the shutter speed while letting the camera determine the appropriate aperture. Given how fast the boy was riding his bike, I dialled in an initial shutter speed of 1/25sec. I also switched the focus mode on my camera to AI Focus, which allows the camera to continually change focus as the subject is moving. I then tacked in my elbows holding the camera as closely as possible to my torso and followed the subject from right to left, taking a series of shots in burst mode.

Given that this was my first attempt at this technique, I can’t say I am disappointed. My dream however is to try this again perhaps in a Formula 1 or Nascar race!

Bicycle panning - 1920c

Shot handheld with my Canon 60D and Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OS lens, at ISO 400, F6.3 at 1/25 sec.

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Gazing into the water

Back from what seemed like a short vacation, where I had a great time catching up with old friends and enjoying large quantities of Asian food. My biggest confession from this trip is that I did exactly the opposite of what I said I would in my previous post. I did go overboard with my spending on camera accessories, and didn’t spend enough time walking out and about with my camera. I did manage to capture a couple of decent shots (stay tuned), but my camera didn’t get anywhere near the amount of use it usually gets on my vacation trips. In hindsight, I fell into the trap of believing that my creativity would be hindered due to the fact that my surroundings were so familiar to me – a struggle which I constantly and wrongfully face in Cyprus as well.

Today I decided to post another old time favourite. This is a picture of a young boy gazing into the water at Niagara on the Lake in Canada, taken back in August 2008.

Shot with my Canon Rebel XTi and Sigma F3.5-6.3 18-200mm lens, at ISO 200, F10, 1/125sec. B&W conversion processed in Photoshop.