2014 Challenge, Week 6: PANNING

Welcome to week 6 of the 2014 challenge! This week we will focus on a technique that can be used to convey a sense of motion in a still photo: panning.

“Terry Perkins – 1957 Nota Consul” by Richard Taylor

Panning allows you to capture a crisp image of something that is moving, while at the same time showing a blurred background, which gives the viewer an impression of movement. Of course, you can freeze a moving object by using a fast shutter speed, but a fast shutter will also freeze the background, and that is not always the desired effect.

“Bicycle downhill series” by Nikos Koutoulas

To get this effect, the camera needs to be moving along with the subject when the shutter is released, and the camera should continue to follow the subject as long as the shutter is open. This can be tricky at first, but with practice you will find that it becomes easier and you will be able to use slower shutter speeds, giving the sense of faster movement in the image.

“Untitled” by Tony Eccles

To practice this technique, find a place where traffic, such as cars or bicycles, will pass in front of you. Pick a vehicle and follow it through the viewfinder as it passes. Practice keeping the vehicle in the same place in the viewfinder, moving the camera smoothly to follow the vehicle as it passes. While the camera is moving, release the shutter and keep moving smoothly. If done correctly, you will have a sharply focused vehicle and a blurred background. Once you get the hang of it, you can try slower shutter speeds to get more movement in the image.

“FULL OF ENERGY” by Vinoth Chandar

You can try this with any moving subject, and in any direction. The key is to continue following the subject as the shutter opens and closes. Try lots of different subjects, and see which you enjoy shooting the most!

As always, please share your one final photograph with us on at least one of our social media groups, found at Google+Facebook, or Flickr.


4 thoughts on “2014 Challenge, Week 6: PANNING

    1. Guido, the last line of each week’s post reminds us all where we can submit our weekly photos.

      As always, please share your one final photograph with us on at least one of our social media groups, found at Google+Facebook, or Flickr.

      On a side note, as you’ll see in the comment below, and oft mentioned in the blog posts, the point of PhotoChallenge.org is for all participants to conceive and shoot a new image for each week’s theme, within the week of the theme.

      If by chance your photo submission for this week’s theme of PANNING was not taken by you, this week, then please do not submit it.


  1. I think you need to stress more that the photo has to be taken during the week of the challenge. More and more we are seeing people (sometimes even professionals) trolling through their past photos to put up a really good pic. It’s not fair on the rest of us trying to adhere to the rules, and it sometimes spoils the fun of the challenge. They are just “like farming” and I think you should comment on it and try to put a stop to it. Otherwise I LOVE the weekly challenges.


    1. Thank you Rob. It’s been a concern of mine for a while. I just don’t always have the energy to police the groups, and communicate with the offenders.

      I will try to re-emphasize this again.


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