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.
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.
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.
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.
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!