This last weekend I was out at a MINI event with lots of cars and driving and great outdoors. In talking with my friend Paul, we figured this would be the perfect chance to try a technique known as “Panning”. This is where you set your camera to a lower shutter speed (to keep it open longer) and you move the camera at the same speed as the target you are shooting. This gives the illusion of speed to the target. It’s great for shooting cars as they go past. The car stays in focus, but the background becomes a blur of speed.
This is NOT an easy trick to master.
I decided to stop mid way on the Tail Of The Dragon to test out this technique. There were lots of photographers on the road so my setting up camp for 30-45min wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary. I understood the principle of the technique, now to just practice. Something I learned quickly was that location is a huge part of this. I set up near a turn, and not far off from the road. This was two-fold of a problem since most of the cars were coming towards me, instead of past me, and it was hard to see them coming. With the cars shortening the distance to me, I had to work on my focus as well as the panning. If I got the focus right, I may not have the whole subject in the frame. If I got the panning right, the subject would be out of focus.
All totaled, in 45 min of practice, I took around 100 shots.