The Imperfect Project – Panning


I admit it, I am rubbish at panning, which is capturing a moving object. In my case I just clarify that I am rubbish at keeping said moving object in focus; I can do blurry motion pictures really well, so well that nothing remains in focus! For most of Sunday I tried to capture the birds to come into our garden in mid flight, especially as the grackle’s were very accommodating in swooping in slow and low. However, non of those photos turned out; lots of black blurred objects that can just about be identified as flying birds. I have received some great advise from another blogging friend of mine who manages to photograph the most fantastic shots of puffins, terns and other birds in flight, as can be seen on this post of his. So I will keep on trying, but I fear this is one thing I might just have to accept that I am useless at it.

The best shot from my Sunday try out is this plane crossing the sky above our houses.

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Categories: The Imperfect Project | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “The Imperfect Project – Panning

  1. This looks like a pretty good shot to me 🙂 Ive been asking for advice on the same problem too 😦 i dont know what i do wrong ! the photos look ok on the camera screen but on the laptop not so much! its so frustrating! i will have a look at your friends post 🙂

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  2. 🙂 Thanks for that nice comment.

    One other thing I think I forgot to mention is that you can try is to switch off image stabilisation so it is not fighting against the panning. My camera allows me to switch off just the horizontal stabilisation and keep the vertical but with fast shutter speeds it should not be necessary.

    Some cameras and lenses are much better at locking onto moving objects than others. My set-up isn’t renowned for being the best for moving objects, it’s focus speed is a little slower than some other makes but I still manage to get some shots I am pleased with. (I do throw a lot out too!)

    Shooting against a plain background also makes it a lot easier to focus on the moving object. Trees and plants will trick your camera into focusing on them.

    Keep going and if you want to send me some failed pics to see if I can work out what has gone adrift, I’m happy to have a look.

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    • Thank you Ivor for the additional tips. My camera is fairly old when compared to today’s cameras; so it does not have the nifty horizontal and vertical switch off. So, I will just keep going whenever the opportunity arises. Hopefully I will learn as I go along together with the tips you have given me.

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  3. Julie

    Are you using AI Servo for your focusing mode? I don’t shoot moving subjects often but found AI Servo was needed when shooting fast moving hockey/ringette players.

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    • I didn’t for this shot Julie, but will be trying to make sure it is on the next time I plan to do this.

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      • Julie

        What I did was set up a custom function (C1) just for shooting rink sports. I preset it for AI Servo for the focus mode and Continuous Shooting as the drive mode. For purposes of shooting birds, you’d probably want to set it up for shutter priority at a suitable shutter speed and a typical ISO for outdoors. This way, all you need to do is switch the dial to C1 and you’re all set to pan the birds in flight.

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      • That’s a great idea, thank you Julie – can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself!

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