One of my favorite experimental photography techniques is pan blurs
or motion blurs. The idea sounds simple, we are making intentionally blurry images, how could that be hard? Well, it is a bit more difficult that it sounds, and one in hundred is considered a success!
The technique involves panning at slow shutter speed keeping pace with the subject all the while maintaining some part of the image in focus! Whew! When you create a good pan blur
, the subject appears to be moving at a very high rate of speed with the background blurred as if my motion.
I find that about 1/30th of a second is a good starting point for the shutter speed. There is no exact formula for success, well except trial and error! Subjects that are running parallel to you are the easiest to track, and I find locking focus on the head before it is in the ideal position helps you keep focus throughout the run. Pan Blurs
are a very subjective art form because the acceptable amount of blur varies with everyone's personal taste. In fact, I sometimes like one today and not so much later on.
I offer Horse Roundup Photography Sessions
on many of my photography workshops, and we work on Pan Blur technique. We have the luxury of asking the riders to ride by one more time to try and get one good one!