Sadly this has very little to do with Pizza (unless you’re eating pizza while reading this)!
Motorsport is an exhilarating and exciting pursuit and it can be great fun to capture images of the vehicles. The impressive machines and eye catching decals make for perfect photo fodder!
I took this shot at Castle Combe of a classic mini on the track, I’m happy with the composition, it's in focus and is bright and clear - the only thing is it appears to be parked, it definitely isn’t. This car was being skilfully piloted into a corner and wasn’t hanging about!
So instead how do we capture this action, speed and excitement? Read on...
I’ll get to the technical part in a moment!
Panning is all about technique and like so many techniques it's all in the hips! You need to follow the action - this part is quite easy as unless something very bad is happening then the action goes one way at a fairly consistent speed. You’ll also need to pick a background spot, this is usually directly opposite where you’re standing, have a good look round and make sure it's clean and uncluttered so as not to distract from your main subject.
The art of the pan is to follow the subject (in this case a car) and to capture your shot as you are still moving through an arc. Once you’ve gently squeezed the shutter keep moving with the subject to keep that appealing smooth blur, from left to right or vice versa. Sounds tricky but with a few practice goes you’ll (pardon the pun) be in full swing! A nice smooth consistent action is required for best results, and please don’t be disheartened it's a tricky shot to get right - but it's all the more satisfying when you get keepers!
Camera settings - your camera has lots of modes, the one that’s best deployed for this type of shot is TV or ‘shutter priority’. This is you telling the camera how long you want the shutter to stay open for - in a fully auto mode the camera will always strive to get you a pin sharp shot of the subject and fully freeze the action (these shots are fine) but a shot that shows the momentum will really pop!
I’ve crudely illustrated the technique in this diagram below - panning with the action right to left, slowly pressing the shutter button when the subject passes directly in front of you and continuing to follow the action through…
Practice really does make perfect and even the best of the best won't get a perfect image every time so keep at it - you can try different shutter speeds for alternate results too!
I hope this little guide is useful and we’d love to see some of your handiwork.
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