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Today's Photo Minute

Using Panning for Action Photos

The Concept:

In Today’s Photo Minute, Brian Osborne discusses using a panning technique to work with action situations instead of just always stopping motion like we normally think about with sports or wildlife.

The Assignment:

After the lesson above, start thinking about situations where movement is involved that you might try panning on. It can take quite a bit of practice but in general, the goal is to keep the lens moving at the same speed as the subject. Linear action such as a person running or riding a bike are the easiest starting places to work on this technique. Put your camera in Shutter priority mode and start with a shutter speed of 1/125th (Usually ISO 100 or 400 will work fine for this). Then pan with the subject while letting the camera shoot multiple frames in continuous frame advance mode. If your results have a sharp subject, great. If you want a little more blur in the background (to show movement) you can try a slightly slower shutter speed (closer to 1/60th) while still making sure that you can keep tracking with the subject. Check out the examples below with the shutter speed I used listed and also take a look at our Backyard Wildlife Photo of the Day on our Instagram page where I did the panning technique on a rabbit at full speed.

Panning at a shutter speed of 1/80th
Panning at a shutter speed of 1/160th

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