Panning (Motion Blur)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by CanonSnob, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. CanonSnob

    CanonSnob TPF Noob!

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    I have been playing around with getting good panning shots. Going out to the go-kart track to practice. It seems that on a lot of my photo the subject comes out segmentally focused. Where only the front, or back or top or bottom of the subject is sharp and the rest gets caught in the motion blur. I don't understand why? the front of the kart is moving the same speed as the rear, if I got the front focused (panned at the same rate it was moving) then shouldn't the rear be sharp too?

    I am shooting a telephoto lens. Any ideas?
     
  2. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like a DOF thing, but I could be wrong, I don't do many panning shots.
     
  3. doenoe

    doenoe TPF Noob!

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    I think if you take pics in a corner, the back will move slighty different from the front. Thus making it unsharp. And if its a indoor track, you probably shoot with a small F-number, and then you get a DOF problem too, just like Battou said.
    But this is only my guess work. Maybe there is someon who knows it for sure :)
     
  4. CanonSnob

    CanonSnob TPF Noob!

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    it doesn't appear to be DOF. It looks as though the out of focus or unsharp area pulls in the direction of the motion blur of the ground. Sorry about the huge size, but it makes the point im after. Look at the 445 number plate on the rear of the kart. Then look at the driver's shoes. ???

    [​IMG]
     
  5. CanonSnob

    CanonSnob TPF Noob!

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    Im about 100ft away. The kart doesn't travel more than a foot, two at the most, in the time of the exposure (1/50) Focal is 110mill on a 70-200
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    John, am I reading your EXIF correctly, you were shooting that pic above at F/20?

    For me, it looks more of a simple panning technique issue more than a DOF issue (well actually a combination of not focusing on the cart, as no part is crystal clear anyway and the front moving faster than the rear of the cart which happens JUST as it enters a curve). The rear plate looks different from the side merely becuase of the angle, not any optical or lens/camera setting application.

    Back off to F/11-16. increase shutter speed a notch. Yes it reduces the background blur... but it won't totally destroy it, it will still be there... and your kart will be better in focus.

    It's all about the balance.

    Edit: Does your camera have the ability to "focus continually" after locking in on the target (your Mark II should, but I am a Nikon snob and don't know... lol)? That would also help a lot. Also try standing closer or zooming in less as well as getting the panning effect on the subject either before or after they begin turning into a corner (straightaways are easier to do this with). Another hint is to stand on the INSIDE of the corner not the outside. Not only is it safer, but the results are a lot better.
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How fast? I'm shooting 1/100-1/200 at bikes doing about 70-90 mph in a corner. 1/50 is way too slow if they're moving at any clip. I know those carts can move.

    Plus how are you actually panning? I start tracking my subject as soon as I can see him and shutter click when he gets to where I want.
     
  8. KhronoS

    KhronoS TPF Noob!

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    I think that the picture came out that way because of the angle of the kart... is seems that it gets farther and this might be the reason it becomes out of focus...
     
  9. CanonSnob

    CanonSnob TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the input. Ill put it to good practice next time I get out at the track.
     
  10. doenoe

    doenoe TPF Noob!

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    i learned something yesterday about panning (havent got a clue if its true, cause i didnt try it yet) But it was said that you use a shutterspeed thats about the same number as your lens in mm. So of you shoot with a 200mm lens, you use a shutterspeed of around 1/200. Like is said, i dont know if its true......but it worked for the guy who told me this.
     
  11. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Like others eluded to, it's a balance between a shutter speed fast enough to eliminate shake and movement of the camera, but slow enough to blur what you want to blur. Maple Grove Speedway is a great place to practice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    I shot Indycars for 6-7 years back in the early 1990's.

    I learned to shoot at about 1/30th or less (for artsy shots) with reeeeeeeally steady motion, without regard for aperture, to 1/200th (juuuust that little bit of motion or when they're at full song) with the smallest apertue I could get by with. On one occasion the sun was perfect but my backdrop had a trackside porto-san in it: I shot f2.8 with ND filters to slow my shutter, and blurred it away.

    The difference in blur, front to back, is caused by your panning actions themselves. The kart looks like it's on a straight, and you are panning, right to left. The camera is turning, the car isn't, and something's gotta give - in that case it's the front of the cart. Additionally, you might be moving your body withut knowing it - that causes all manner of things like up and down blur in odd places. Maybe you took an involuntary breath. Photogaphers move a LOT when panning shooting race cars.

    Tip: shooting from the apex of a corner and panning gives really smooth results - you're turning, the car's turning, life is good. I always did better with a longer lens from a distance - I could control my body rotation more.
    Incidentally - that shot is quite good - go look at RACER or Road and Track and check their action/blur shots - this pic, if it was Hamilton, Andretti, or Tracy could keep up with the big boys and make a sale...too bad the sun wasn't out, though.

    I sold the one below to On Track magazine in 1992 or 93 - shutter was something like 1/30 - it was the title shot for the article on Kim Green's racing team.

    [​IMG]

    Not a great scan, and not a particularly good shot, but see the difference in blur from the front to back tires? He went by me at an angle, about 90MPH, headed uphill to pit. Wierd angle to pan, and in the end I love the effect. The reason they liked the shot was because I missed my subject: I was shooting for Jaques' distinctive helmet, but his dad's car number (27) came in focus - the editor liked that. Funny how that works.

    And the trick, when they're moving at 185 to 225 mph is similar to what Village said: start tracking early, as soon as you can, and (depending on shutter lag - cars could go 10-15 feet or so with my old film cameras) release the shutter just before the feature you're shooting for (helmet, for open wheels, driver or rider body for karts and bikes, sponsor name if you're on assignment) gets there. Keep the center focus on the feature, do NOT autofocus (nice thing about racing: they go by almost the same way every time. Lots of setup time available). Crop later.

    And Double H - I shot NHRA twice and didn't sell a thing: drag racing was HARD to shoot! Your shots are lovely!

    Cheers
     

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