Panning and Treatment of Motion

Assignment:   Learn how to show motion with a camera, Produce a Collage with samples of your results

Goals:             Take pictures with a digital camera learning how to use the shutter and flash to show motion.

Tools:              Digital camera, props, Picasa and PicasaWeb


"Motion...because life does not wait for your pictures."...Natalie Roan - '07-08


Websites to review:

Treatment of Motion Discussion Thread on DPR

Instructions for creating the collage - "Motion Poster":



Instructions for shooting assignment to shoot pictures that show motion:


This is HIGHLY experimental. Remember, exposure is like filling a water bucket. If you open the faucet (aperture), it takes less time to fill (shutter speed). In photography, what goes in the bucket is LIGHT. Every picture has a certain amount of LIGHT that is needed to get the best picture possible.







Shoot for your other up coming projects...

Tips and reminders:



by Clete P, a 2004-05 Senior...took 1st place at the State Fair.


Other times to use a slow shutter, such as with panning:

Challenges with Showing Motion when Shooting in Automatic Mode:

Generally, when you turn on your flash and you are in AUTO, P or A modes, the shutter speed will automatically go to the default flash sync speed of 1/60th, aka the minimum handheld shutter speed. This shutter speed, combined with the flash burst of light at 1/5,000 of a second pretty much stops ALL action...assuming your subject isn't too far away for the flash to reach it.

So, to show motion AND use your flash, you need to turn to Tv/T (Tv on Canon and Pentax, or T on Nikon) and set manually set your shutter speed to 1/15th. Then, force your flash to go off. Now you can experiment to get wonderful pictures using the slow shutter to show some motion while the flash fires to freeze part of the motion.

Advanced camera tip: If your camera has "Rear Curtain Flash Sync"  mode (or Slow Curtain), use this to make sure the "frozen" portion is at the END of the exposure, rather than at the beginning.


Showing motion outdoors in bright sun:

The problem with trying to show motion is that because of the bright sun, your shutter will be way too fast. For example, if you are metering 1/1000 @ f2.8, the SLOWEST you could go is 1/125 @ f8 on the Canon A85 because of it's limited minimum F-Stop. With the Pentax K100d, the slowest you could go is 1/15 at f22.

Here is how it looks:

Shutter Aperture
1/1000 2.8
1/500 4
1/250 5.6
1/125 8
1/60 11
1/30 16
1/15 22
-2 stops…with polarizer
1/4 22

So, as you can see above, if you use a polarizer, you can slow the shutter down a couple of more stops to 1/4 of a sec. But, if it is really bright would be more likely at 1/2000 or 1/4000 of a second at f8, which means, even with a polarizer, you would only be able to slow the shutter down to 1/30.

Bottom line is that it is difficult to show motion in broad daylight. Some other tips would be:


Bonus: Want to try something even more interesting? If you have a MANUAL zoom lens (one that can be turned WHILE the camera is exposing), try zooming during a 1/4 sec exposure...either WITH or WITHOUT a flash.

Here is another example you can try with out flash:


Samples of Motion Posters:





Older Samples, Not as good, before we added the Skating Trip, Spirit Photos and Spin Art:


Samples from various sources:

A construction worker walks past a logo next to the main entrance of the Google building in Zurich May 25, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann