Special Guest Writer
Photography is usually about capturing an instant in time. Sometimes, though, we want to capture the feeling of motion in a scene. This article will talk about some ways to capture that feeling.
Freeze the Moment
The simplest way to capture motion is to use a high enough shutter speed to “freeze” any motion.
In some cases it is not advantageous to completely stop the motion. For example, when photographing helicopters, if you use a high shutter speed, it appears the helicopter’s blades have stopped and it looks odd. It is beneficial to have just a bit of blur on the blades to show motion.
In some cases you may want to pan as a vehicle or person moves across the scene. “Panning” is moving your camera to track the motion of the photo’s subject. This can be done while holding the camera, or while the camera is mounted on a tripod. Panning keeps the object in focus while blurring the background. Done correctly, this can create a powerful feeling of motion.
One advantage of a pan is that it can be used in low light situations where a high shutter speed is not available. That way you can still capture the object even though the available light is too low to stop the action with a high shutter speed.
Panning takes practice. The key to a good pan is to move the camera with the object in a smooth motion. Try it out - a local highway will provide all of the practice objects you will ever need!
Steve Boyko is a photographer who especially enjoys chasing trains and documenting grain elevators. You can find him at www.traingeek.ca, on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+SteveBoyko, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TraingeekImages among others.