Intentional camera movement a.k.a. panning

12 06 2011

“In photography, panning refers to the horizontal movement or rotation of a still or video camera, or the scanning of a subject horizontally on video or a display device.” – Wikipedia

Panning  or basically any camera movement during exposure is one of techniques to which comes almost every photographer who gained some experience and wants to try “something different”. It produces varying results, some excellent, worth of hanging on wall, some not as good. A set up producing usually very good results is vertical panning in wood, I wrote about it in my post Pan in wood. As a flower photographer I tried this technique also with flowers and got very nice result shared in post Creativity..unlocked!

Simple panning, meaning vertical or horizontal movement is the most simple way with which probably everyone starts. After trying this you can continue with rotation, zoom, combination of movement and zoom… whatever you want. Bad thing about this technique is that results are often hardly predictable. It happens to me that I do the movements which resulted in good photos in past but they suddenly do not work. Is it a subject or is it only me? In such cases I usually try other movements such as already mentioned rotation. I think that following photo is nice example.


1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

On this shot I captured part of our meadow which blooms heavily every year. Unfortunatelly, I don’t know the name of the yellow flower (it’s not Dandelion or Ranunculus) but I know that those pink/violet spots are cloverleaf blossoms. In case of this technique (rotation) I get one decent photo on maybe 10-20. Sometimes it’s really hard to get desired composition when you need to move your camera so quickly.

When rotation technique fails, try whatever else. This past weekend I was trying to take some photos of our blooming lobelia pot but I wasn’t able to find decent composition with so many small blossoms so I tried panning. After several tries I came up with a photo which appeals to me.

1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

If I remember correctly, the movement which lead to this was crazy wobbling with camera from left to right so it’s absolutely impossible to repeat that movement again. I must say that I really like those bright lines and colours. It reminds me refractions of sunlight on water surface.

If you want to try something new, something original, something that results in interesting photos or if you just like what you see here, grab your camera and give it a try. If you will be patient, you will definitely get something very interesting even after your first tries.

I wish you a lot of fresh energy into the starting week!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens, in natural conditions.

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21 responses

13 06 2011
milkayphoto

Very lovely, natural abstracts. The first is warm and sunny and the second, I agree, very water-like in mood and quality.

I dabble in this from time to time…it is a great way to ‘loosen up’ ones photography as it is quite easy (at least for me) to get caught up in ‘pefection’. A little randomness can do a body good!

Thanks for the lovely wish! THIS is a week I NEED it!

13 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Tracy. You’re right, it’s fun to step aside from trying to achieve a “perfection” sometimes. This is really nice exrcise if one wants to create something only using, shapes, colours and light. I’m sending 2 pots full of energy by tommorow morning!!! 🙂

13 06 2011
Barbara Kile

You won’t get rid of me that easy! 🙂
I love your experiments – I have a whole gallery on my website of ‘impressionistic’ images.
I’m using Zenfolio for my website. The url will be the same once I point the domain name to that site. My WordPress blog will be linked from the website with one click. Lots of sites to host your images: Better Photo, SmugMug, Zenfolio, flickr, etc. I wanted to offer prints for sale, which one can do with ZF – all over the world. I just have to add the European lab!

Thanks for the encouragement to play with our cameras!

14 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

Getting rid of you??? It would be like getting rid of muse, gee 🙂 No way 😉 You are inspiration to many photographers including myself.

Thanks for info about your plans and web page. I know Zenfolio and SmugMug a little, I took a look at them some time ago and they are still on my list of options for my own web page. I would like to offer my prints worldwide also but I am a little bit afraid of prints quality when I can’t check it myself. You can end up with unsatisfied customers then and that’s very bad.

One more comment about flickr – it’s not good for getting better because you won’t receive critique there but it is good for letting others know about you and your work. Of course that there is a price, there always is, and in case of flickr it is time you spent there. You need to participate in various groups, give comments and awards and slowly build your community. It take a lot of time but since my first sell was via flickr I decided to invest a little bit of time to spread my audience there. And it’s really nice to see first comment only minutes after posting a photo. Sometimes there are views before I am able to put a description to the image 🙂 Really sweet.

Thank you for your constant support and encouragement!

16 06 2011
Barbara Kile

Looked at Smug Mug and all your help comes through the forums, so no quick replies. Zenfolio took the initiative to email me back after I signed up for the trial and asked if they could help me set up my website! Customer service wins every time! I asked many questions and got quick replies.

There is a European lab – I’m not set up for international orders right now. The US lab is Mpix, and they apply correction to all prints. Figured I’d have to give them a try. ZF guarantees all printing and takes care of all the customer service for you.

The site is up – the domain has propagated – happened very quickly today in just a few hours. Link available on Am3 page, although not finished with galleries and other details yet. Will make a ‘formal’ announcement in a week or so…..

16 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

Customer service is definitely great thing because without it one can easily feel frustrated soon. I’m sure you will make (or made already) smart decision and you will be satisfied. This our discussion encouraged me to spend some time comparing Zenfolio and SmugMug yesterday. At first sight Zenfolio looks like easier to use and with better services (not mentioning lower yearly payment) so I signed up for trial, loaded some galleries and spend an hour or two with configuring pages. After all I was pretty disappointed by limited possibilities of configuration, especially when it comes to site design. There are page themes which differs only in colours and then page layouts (different for thumbnail gallery and “photo page”) with also very limited set up possibilities. Very limited for me but easy to start with and sufficient for many others, I’m sure about it. Now I’m convinced to give SmugMug a try. If this fails also then other option might be installing wordpress on my hosting and using this. Some photographers use if for main page (e.g. Mark Graf) and it works pretty well. This solution has some advantages – it’s free, there are bigger configuration possibilities and huge amount of configurable themes. Disadvantages might be – not so easy to use for everyone, no services such as printing, e-shop aso. You have to manage everything on your own – this might be also advantage for someone. When you mentioned MPix, there is a comparison of print quality and customer satisfaction on SmugMug site: http://www.smugmug.com/photos/pro-print-labs-compared/ And if you want to check out my quick try on zenfilo, here it is: http://tomasturecek.zenfolio.com/ It is very simple, almost no texts included. I was only interested in seeing design possibilities.

14 06 2011
Ken Bello

Your results here are terrific! this is a tricky technique, one that requires patience, experience and a big memory card. it’s not easy to get results like this, very, very nice.

14 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

Thanks Ken, I’m glad that you like it. It is true that it might look as difficult technique at first sight but it only takes couple of tries to find out which kind of movement brings which kind of results. I forgot to mention one important thing in the post (even though it is probably obvious) – you need slow shutter speed for this kind of images, ideally slower then 1/3 sec. Therefore I always go with maximal f-stop (32 in this case) and sometimes (during bright sunny day) even this results in quite quick shutter speed so additional filter would be handy – ND filter is used very often in these cases but as I don’t own any a polarizer may work well also.

17 06 2011
Barbara Kile

I almost always use a medium gray for websites, as I feel my images ‘pop’ more than on white and I’m not a fan of black. I liked ZF more than SM in this respect. I will try out Mpix with my prices and see how it goes. I have a choice to upgrade and use Mpix Pro. I thought about WP, but too hard for me. I gotta have easy! To get easy you might have to give up some things. However, my site is about my images, not the glorious design. 🙂 Good luck and looking forward to your site!

17 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

I answered you via email to not post more irrelevant comments 😉

18 06 2011
Anita Bower

I seldom pay much attention to the comments of other photographers, but Barbara’s name caught my attention. Thank you both for the information on web sites. I don’t have a website yet, but will take that step sometime.

Question: How did you sell an image through flickr? Did you have a note saying they were for sale?

As for panning flowers–this technique is not my favorite. I do like the second image–nice abstract.

18 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

Hi Anita, the sell through flickr was whole coincidence. A lady from Australia visited my photos and she liked some of them so much that she immediately decided to contact me and ask if it would be possible to have them as prints. And as I was somewhat prepared for this I accepted. It was my first and so far only sell. Since that time I§m offering my photos on 2 local (meaning Czech) web sites and people like them but not so much to purchase prints 😦 I think I need to offer them internationally to have some success so I plan to build my web site this year.

21 06 2011
Mark

Looking into water reflections is the first thing I thought of for the blue image, before even reading your text below it.

21 06 2011
Tomas Turecek

That’s good, I really like it when you can take a photo of some subject in certain way which makes it look like something else.

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