Tag Archives: NASCAR

The fine art of high speed panning

So this post is about few different things. First, it is a test of using SmugMug galleries in my WordPress blog. It’s a nice demo to the art of “Panning” where you track a subject with your camera while swinging the camera one way or another. The subject can be NASCAR race cars or just a kid running at high speed. The idea of the pan is to keep the subject sharp while providing motion blur on the background which gives the image a very dynamic feel of motion.

In the case of my NASCAR images, I was panning with the subject hitting somewhere around 180 MPH. With a 200mm lens on a crop sensor, I was having to pan very fast side to side. I was also shooting at a shutter between 1/320 to 1/800 of second which normally would stop the action but given the high speeds in involved, gave just enough motion to the tires and background to keep the cars from looking like models set on a track.

That is the magic for any panning shots like this. You want and need to show motion. With the race cars, it would have looked “Wrong” if the tires were as sharp as the cars and you could read the letters. With the tires blurred, you have a very sense of motion and that the picture looks “right”. This is the same reasoning why when shooting warbirds at an airshow, you want the props blurred some. No blur or not enough blur and the airplane just looks “wrong” to us. Motion can provide visual tension and a very dynamic feel to an image. And it does not have to be alot of motion, just a touch will work wonders depending on the image.


[smugmug url=”http://michaelsweeneyphotography.smugmug.com/hack/feed.mg?Type=gallery&Data=11352184_xkV9Hh&format=rss200″ title=”NASCAR%20-%20Fontana” description=”NASCAR%20racing%20at%20AAA%20Raceway%20in%20Fontana%20California” imagecount=”50″ start=”1″ num=”50″ thumbsize=”Th” link=”lightbox” captions=”false” sort=”true” window=”true” smugmug=”true” size=”L”]

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted in commercial photography, event photography, technique Also tagged , , , , |