captured by D4s / 200-400

Panning in its most basic form, is moving the film plane in sync with a moving subject. This synchronization nullifies the movement of the subject as far as the camera is concerned so we have effectively, frozen a moving subject. This is a very old technique and for it to be effective, as far as rendering a sharp, frozen moving subject, it must be practiced on a continual basis. I’m talking about a minimum of once a week in order to make it a took in your arsenal that will serve you whenever you need it. This is basic, human, muscle memory training which is what panning boils down to in its most simplest terms. These days of being “stuck” inside, you can’t let this skill you’ve built up slip away.

Waco UPF-7
captured by D5 / 180-400VR

But just capturing a sharp image cannot be an in point to our photograph. Panning is a technical tool that is reduced to this and what the world needs is not more technically perfect photographs, what it needs are more with passion. We must push our craft past that to panning becomes a means to art. These photographs of a B-17 are an example of what I’m talking about. The sky was a great blue and it had great clouds all being brought to life with gorgeous light. Shooting handheld with a D4s / 200-400 and D5 / 180-400 the shots are no accident. I put myself in position so when the aircraft make their passes, the gesture of their flight is set against that sky, the color making the clouds pop out with the light bringing it all to life. Yes, panning is why they are sharp but moving past the technique and to the art, panning is what brought all those elements to life in the photo. Push your technique and get out and practice even if it’s with cars so it is the building block to your art and then your photography will take life. Panning is more than a technique, panning is art.

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