Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 01:18AM
1) Choose a clear, uncluttered background. Try to use uncluttered backgrounds in your composition. This will help focus the viewer's attention on your panned subject, as opposed to the background. However, sometimes it is beneficial to include more background in your composition, as this helps convey a sense of location.
Canon EOS 1D MkII, 100-400mm at 400mm, ISO 160, f/32 @ 1/10 second.
2) Zoom lenses are more flexible. I like to use the Canon 100-400mm for my blurred pans. Why? Because it offers the ability to zoom in and zoom out, helping me frame my subject better. The lens is also considered a 'slow' lens at f/4.5-5.6. Slow lenses are also valuable because they usually allow you to stop down to f/32 or f/40. This is important, because if you have ample light, you might have difficulty reaching slow enough shutter speeds at ISO 100 and f/22. With the ability to stop down even more, you can often obtain shutter speeds in the 1/4 second range.
Canon EOS 1D MkII, 100-400mm at 300mm, ISO 100, f/32 @ 1/10 second.
Canon EOS 5D, 400mm f/4 DO + 1.4x, ISO 400, f/45 @ 1/6 second.
4) Choose the right shutter speed. Depending on your subject, you will find that shutter speeds ranging from 1/60 to over 1/2 of a second can be used. I try to have the subject's main torso, neck and head as sharp as I can, while leaving the legs blurred. The appropriate shutter speed changes for each animal. For example, giraffes, wildebeest and hyena have longer front legs, which makes their neck and head bob up and down. This makes longer shutter speeds more difficult.
Canon EOS 5D, 500mm f/4 L IS, ISO 160, f/32 @ 1/8 second.
5) Follow through. When focusing and panning on a subject, be sure to follow through with your panning movement. With slower shutter speeds, this is extremely important, as you are creating horizontal lines of movement within your photograph. You also need to pan at the same speed as your subject. Choose an area on your subject, and focus your camera on that particular area. Now follow through, while maintaining that particular focus point on that area.
Canon EOS 10D, 300mm f/4 L IS + 1.4x, ISO 100, f/16 @ 1/50 second.
6) Practice practice practice. My family has adopted 2 retired racing greyhounds, and I frequently use them as my practice subjects. Whenever I purchase a new camera, I will test the new camera on my greyounds in either a park or our back yard. Try this yourself. You can even practice with passing cars.