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Thread: Panning

  1. #1

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    Panning

    I am looking for advice on panning. Specifically shooting cycle racing. Speeds vary from zero, of course, to 45/50 km/hr. the object being to isolate a particular rider and blur the background. I have seen shots where the whole of the rider and bike are stopped and some where you can see the rider clearly but parts of the bike and the riders legs are blurred. Obviously shutter speed is the key. I usually shoot with manual focus and metering but in this case one can't do that. Also,how much does aperture affect these shots. I use a Canon XSI and a 3.5-6.5, 18 to 300mm lense. Any ideas will be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Panning

    At 50 km/hr (13.9 meters/second) you'd need a shutter speed of 1/13.9 to blur one whole meter. I'd guess about a quarter meter is just right, so try 1/60. If this is during the daytime remember to the close the aperture and reduce ISO since exposure may skyrocket

  3. #3

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    Re: Panning

    If the rider or the bike is blurred then your not panning.

    Set your camera on a tripod set your cameras shutter speed slower then hand holding adjust our aperture to get the correct exposure. I would keep a small aperture (big F\number) and use an ISO of 100 or what ever suits your exposure needs.

    Now move the camera (Pan) along with the rider.

    Make sure you use a Tripod or you will not get a good pan.

    Rob

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Panning

    Hi Paul,

    In my experience; road racing in 2008, the shutter speed of 1/60th suggested is a good starting point.

    Now bear in mind two things with these images, all were shot on my old Fuji bridge camera and most were shot before I knew what I was doing with PP, so they're not as good as I would achieve now.

    Here's one example where you can see which riders I was panning with and how the ones either side, due to relative motion (not so much aperture) are blurred.
    Panning This was shot at 1/80 and f5.6, but do remember that f5.6 on that small sensor camera is equivalent to about f16 - f22 on a DSLR in terms of DoF. The equivalent focal length is 18mm.

    Here's another shot at 1/250, yet it still has background and wheel blur;
    Panning

    Anyway, I suggest you have a look at these galleries;
    My first real attempt
    Second and third goes in less than ideal weather.
    Final go.

    If you go itno to any image from those albums and click the "more info" link on right hand side, you'll see the shutter speed and aperture I used.

    I feel I should have another go this year

    Cheers,

  5. #5

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    Re: Panning

    The responses are very interesting. I seems that a shutter speed of 1/60 sec might be appropriate. If I set my camera to P will the aperture be automtically suitable for the prevailing light conditions? It also seems that one must wait until the particular cyclist is at right angles to the camera to get the full blur of the background. This appears to give the best impression of speed. It also seems to me that if one uses a slightly slower shutter speed while panning the wheels and possibly the legs of the cyclist might be blurred also. This is a common effect one sees in bike magazines.
    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    Paul

  6. #6
    John C's Avatar
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    Re: Panning

    I happen to be reading Understanding Shutter Speed by Bryan Peterson. He has a whole section on panning and recommends using shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/4 second. The preferred shutter speed will depend on how far the subject is and how fast. I noticed that Peterson seems to like quite a bit of blur, so 1/60 described above will probably suit you. Dont forget to turn off image stabilization if you have it, otherwise it will work at cross purposes to your panning. Also, I had assume by cycling in your original post, you meant motorcycles, guess I was wrong.

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Panning

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    The responses are very interesting. I seems that a shutter speed of 1/60 sec might be appropriate. If I set my camera to P will the aperture be automtically suitable for the prevailing light conditions? It also seems that one must wait until the particular cyclist is at right angles to the camera to get the full blur of the background. This appears to give the best impression of speed. It also seems to me that if one uses a slightly slower shutter speed while panning the wheels and possibly the legs of the cyclist might be blurred also. This is a common effect one sees in bike magazines.
    Hi Paul,

    "It also seems to me that if one uses a slightly slower shutter speed while panning the wheels and possibly the legs of the cyclist might be blurred also." indeed they will.

    I liked shooting these multi-lap road races because it allowed me to walk the course and get several attempts against a variety of backgrounds. I usually went to each new location the day before and drove around it looking for likely places to shoot with regard to sun angle, background, speed (uphill struggling and slow with good facial expressions, or downhill; fast, but possibly coasting, or on a bend for the leaning shots, etc.) - do have a look in all those albums if you haven't already.

    On larger courses, driving between shooting positions might be necessary, but one must be very careful not to get in the way; drive counter to race circuit direction (if you HAVE to use the race roads at all) and park well off the course roadway. Obviously when shooting, again, don't get in their way either. In UK, these races often last over 2 hours, covering 50 - 90 miles.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 21st April 2010 at 07:42 AM.

  8. #8

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    Re: Panning

    Thanks again for all the interesting responses. One of my sons runs a women's pro cycling team and they are entered into a 4 day event in May. The photos are for the sponsors and for the riders themselves. If I can, I will get my daughter -in-law, a member of the team, to do some trial runs for me.

    Thanks Paul

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