Tips for panning sport

April 23, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Most action photos use a 'panning' technique because the subject is followed / tracked and then the shot is taken. If you can follow the subject in the same way, but simply lower the shutter speed to 1/80s or less, you can create motion in the background and a sense of speed.

In this shot, the portions of the athlete that are stationary relative to the overall movement, are sharp - so sharp you can read the time on her digital watch!

20180415_144020180415_1440Action during Joondalup#2 Triathlon, Perth on Sunday 15th April 2018

If you can get an object / athlete going in the opposite direction in the background, you'll create double the sensation of speed!

20180415_141520180415_1415Action during Joondalup#2 Triathlon, Perth on Sunday 15th April 2018

Some tips - credit to Clive Mason (Getty) and Dave Black

1. Use a shutter speed slow enough to create the background blur for your subject- e.g. cyclists would need a slower shutter speed than a racing car. You need wheels to be spinning.

2. Frame the subject against a background that has texture, such as shrubs, trees, pavilion etc. to see the motion blur.

3. Shoot at 90 degrees to your subject to maximise motion blur.

4. Start with slower shutter speed and work upwards until you can get a sharp image - gets easier this way and you'll reach the maximum effect quicker.

5. If your lens has Vibration Reduction / Image Stabilisation, then use it in Normal mode if you are on a stationary surface.

6. Use Continuous Focus mode with single point AF, aiming the AF point on a 'stationary' part; e.g. helmet, athlete's hand - shoot in burst mode.

7. Realise that the keeper rate goes up the more you practise

Have fun! 🚴🏻‍♂️💨

Once you've mastered subjects moving in 1 dimension (left to right / up & down) such as cars, cyclists, then advance to subjects in 2 dimensions (left to right and up & down) - e.g. athlete running like this shot of a cricket fast bowler running in to bowl.

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