Panning as a Technique of Art

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In my search for using the camera as a tool for making Art, I came over a technique that can be applied to achieve this.

In her book “Color Light & Composition. A Photographer’s Guide”, Sue Bishop writes shortly about how to use panning as a technique “that can effectively simplify a scene by gently spreading the colors and removing detail”. I tried the method on some photos shot with the Sigma SD15 during the summer of 2010. They are now presented in a separate gallery “Panning” under “Artistic”.

I like the technique because it is a different way of using the camera as a tool to make an artistic expression. I don’t know if it would work with any kind of scenes. My testing has been with trees and with the light coming from behind me to get the objects in the photos brightened up with natural light.

In my testing I chose a shutter speed of 1/8 second. Bishop says in her experience a speed between 1/8 to 1/15 seconds gives the best result, but of course you can experiment with these settings. Because of the longer shutter speed, one has to choose a smaller aperture in daylight, like F11-F20 and maybe add a ND-filter.

In the moment of pressing the shutter, I moved the camera in the vertical direction of the trees from bottom to top as Bishop recommends. It does not succeed all the time and it is important to move the camera in a steady way. The LCD screen is of good help to control the possible outcome.

In post processing with LightRoom I worked carefully to keep the artistic feel. Adding grain to the images gave them in my opinion an even more artistic look. Bishop has not done this. As always the printout is much better than the screen shows it. It can easily be printed bigger.

I think there are moments when this technique can be applied to the photos and I will try it with the Fuji X100 when it is possible and I have a relevant scene.

1st version, 29th of January 2012