Slow Shutter and Panning

February 19, 2016  •  4 Comments

This week's Project 52 theme, from the pages of "The Visual Toolbox" by David Duchemin chapters 7+8, are slowing your shutter speed and panning. This was a tough topic for me since I am all about stopping motion! Wow. We were asked to slow our shutter speed down to 1/20 to 1/60, and use our ISO and aperture to adjust our exposure, then set things in motion. Use the slow shutter to show and enhance motion in our shots. Show how some items of the photo move in relation to other aspects. Have one item still with other items in motion around it. Keep the camera still, then move the camera in other shots. Up and down, side to side, zoom in and out while keeping the shutter slow. Look for interesting effects. Next was to "pan" the camera. Focus on an element and move the camera with that element thereby blurring the environment even more. All this takes a fair amount of practice. Given the amount of time we have to execute, I know I need a lot more to pull some of this off. But, I like the technique, just need to perfect it more.

I also found that hand holding a camera at a slow shutter, especially while trying to let the motion in the shot do the talking and not the motion of the camera was challenging. A tripod with a good ball head would be a huge help, and I use some big lenses for the field work.

I asked a couple of friends to help me this week. First try was out herding at Rocking C Border Collies. I used my 70-300mm lens, set my ISO at 100 and went to work. With a fast moving Border Collie, I found a shutter speed much below 1/60th was a real challenge. The darn dogs are just too fast. Panning with anything much slower was a dismal failure for me. I could use a slightly slower shutter when not panning. I took a lot of shots, another thing I found when using any of these techniques with slow shutter, take lots to get a few!

This first one is an an attempt to show how fast the dog has to move some times to move the sheep. In this case the start of a clockwise flank to turn the sheep. ISO 100, f/20 at 1/60 sec. Good depth of field, dog in motion, and you can see the sheep's hooves moving a bit, especially the ones in front as they turn.

This second one was kind of fun, I moved the camera up and down to create some blur. ISO 100, f/20, 1/13 sec.

I like this effect, zoom out as the dog and stock moves away. This is where a tripod would have helped. I could have kept the center more in focus as I zoomed. ISO 100, f/20, 1/30 sec.

Last of the herding shots was me panning on just the dog. ISO 100, f/20, 1/40 sec.

I wanted to try something different, so I called a friend who had a large bird. Thanks Marion Montelongo! I used my f/1.8 50mm lens. In this first photo, as the bird flapped it's wings, Marion's arm moved with the motion, so the head is not in focus either, but I love how the beating of the wings at this super slow shutter almost has an x-ray effect! ISO 200, f/2.0, 1/15 sec.

I love the etherealness of the tail feathers as the bird moved. Same exposure as last shot.

Hope you enjoyed this week's topic(s). I sure had fun, and put myself way outside my comfort zone. Please continue through our blog ring to see how other pet photographers used their slow shutters! Next in line is Jodie Pholi of Jodie Pholie Images.


Pat Corl(non-registered)
Kathie, I grew up in Solvay and went to High School there. Started college at OCC. My family still lives in the area. Going back for my 40th High School Reunion this August. Thank you for your comments.
Great job - didn't participate as I just didn't have the patience. By the way, I saw on your FB page that you are from Syracuse, New York. Me too!! I was born there, lived in Dewitt until 1969. Attended LeMoyne College. Then moved to Hawaii and, 11 years ago, here to Alabama. It's not often I run into someone from by Syracuse.
That tripod with the ball head is now on the top of my wish list! The colors in your bird image are fantastic!
This week was so hard! Great job! I love the bird images with the colors blurred.
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