Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Panning for gold

I'm really struggling to be inspired by the Module 5 brief. It asks you to capture 3 images of the same moving subject - one which freezes the motion, one which shows motion blur, and one where the image is 'panned'. I can think of really cool shots to take of subject that would satisfy one or maybe two of these required shots, but being able to take a good panning shot of the same subject is proving to be the sticking point. Panning is when the camera is moved at the same speed as the subject in focus throughout the exposure. By maintaining the position of the subject in the frame, as the subject moves, the result will be an in focus subject and a motion blurred background. Sounds cool, but turns out to be a real bitch to do (or perhaps it's just me).

The first time I tried this it was at the Edinburgh Christmas market, using the camera hand held and in the dark. So it's no surprise that it didn't turn out very well, but you get the rough idea...

I really enjoyed taking the water droplet pictures I blogged earlier, but found it impossible to vertically pan a falling water droplet to get that third shot I need for the assessment. I tried all sorts of crazy setups involving hoses and perforated drinks cartons, but all I managed to do was get really really wet.

So I gave up trying to take an 'interesting' picture and just tried to take a panning picture of any kind. In desperation I headed to the playpark with my trusty stuffed dog Johnson and spent an hour spinning him on the roundabout, sprinting to the camera to take some shots, then running back to spin him again.....all the while hoping not to get arrested. My activities certainly raised a few eyebrows. One young boy asked what I was doing, then demanded I take his picture. I didn't get a good panning shot, but I like the ghostly appearence of this one. I'm sure I'm breaking all sorts of laws by posting photos of a minor, but I won't tell if you don't.

So here's Johnson, on his playpark adventure. Horrible composition, terrible exposure, but finally a panning shot that works. I think I'm going to just submit this one and get this module over with.

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