Colour in Motion

October 11, 2011  •  Leave a Comment
"Panning" is a technique I used quite a bit in my student days at art college. It was a technique that served me well in creating a sense of movement and dynamism in the urban photography I was producing at the time.


Gulls


Recently while looking through some old photos from my college days I was reminded what a great technique it was. I always loved how colour and form was abstracted by this technique and the painterly effect it produced.


Kinetic Energy



The basic idea behind panning is that you pan your camera in time with the moving subject and end up gettinga relatively sharp subject with a blurry background. How sharp the subject you are focusing on depends on the shutter speed you are using.
 
 
 
Skimming Turnstones
 
For this series of images of birds in flight I wanted to make the end product fairly abstract while still retaining enough detail to make the subject matter recognizable. 
 
Using a relatively slow shutter speed (1/25s - 1/15s) allowed me to blur and abstract the background while still retaining some detail in the birds. To retain some detail in the birds I panned my camera in the same direction as the birds in flight and at their speed of flight.
 
 
Gulls III
 
 
The weather conditions along with the monochrome background of the surf also helped highlight the subtle colours of the birds in flight. Colour fades in motion and becomes more transparent the longer the exposure; because of this I choose a shutter speed that would retain some solid colour in the moving forms while making the background more abstract and soft. 
 
 
Gulls II
 
 
This technique can also be used with a flash in closer proximity to the subject. With a long exposure, when fired, the flash will freeze forms in the foreground while the panning effect of the camera will blur the background into abstraction.
 
I really love this technique and I hope to use it more in the future.  Try it out for yourself and you'll be amazed with the results!
 
To view high-resolution versions of these images go to: www.kevinlangan.ie
 
 
 

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