Panning (Motion Blur)

CanonSnob

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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?
 

doenoe

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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 :)
 
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CanonSnob

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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. ???

2397486497_eebef0b2c3_o.jpg
 
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CanonSnob

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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
 

JerryPH

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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.
 

Village Idiot

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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.
 

KhronoS

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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...
 

doenoe

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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.
 

Double H

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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.

magrove-46.jpg


magrove-64.jpg
 

schuylercat

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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.

2267263318_3254246c79_o.jpg


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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Canon Snob, What focus point are you using? I think you have things in focus if you follow the panning line straight across the image.
 

JerryPH

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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.

If you want to see some ver nice panning shot examples, you can visit the website of a friend of mine who shoots cars professionally. I have rarely seen panning shots as clear as his.

www.alainsurprenant.com

His speciality is racing photography... and I think he does quite well.
 

schuylercat

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Hi Jerry,

Yes, he does - but note the difference in outcomes: Alain's stuff is all faster shutter - tire rotation is maybe 5 degrees at speed. Panning blur is easier to control at 250th and faster, and sometimes it just freezes the car like it's parked on the circuit unless you catch, like he did in truly superb Champ Car shot, the car throwing debris when it fell off the road - no tire rotation at all, but big chunks of shrub bouncing off the front wing and flying through the air. He captures total clarity, though - nice, saturated stuff which is great for racing because the cars are so colorful.

It usually becomes an editorial choice when shooting motorsports how much of the effect is needed. The editors at Racer wouldn't buy a single shot from me when I started because I froze the cars too still with fast shutter. Some editors refused to buy shots that were either too blurry or too static, asking literally for "about 1/4 rotation of tires." Picky folks, mag editors.

Me, I like lots of pan blur!
 

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