More Creative Panning

by Steve Eshom on June 28, 2008

As I mentioned in a previous post railroadforums.com‘s advanced topics challenge this month is ‘creative panning’.  To create a contest entry I shot quite a few photos through the month of June.   I ended up with about a half dozen I really liked and now I’ve posted my favorite from the month in the contest gallery.  If you are a rrf.com member, please make sure you vote for your favorite image when Leia releases the poll next week.

In my previous post I mentioned some items that I had learned while experimenting.  At the end of the month here’s my favorite tips on panning.

  1. Use a tripod.  The tripod helps with some of the unwanted vertical motion blur.  Of course you still have to keep up with the train as it moves across the scene!
  2. Shutter speed I found had to be regulated by train speed.  Generally trains moving 20 m.p.h. or slower need a 1/10th second shutter speed or slower to capture decent motion.  From there 1/15th second worked well up to around 35 m.p.h. and speeds above that worked well with 1/20th, 1/30th, and 1/40th of a second. 
  3. Use tracking focus (called AI Servo on Canon gear) to continually refocus as the train moves by the camera. 
  4. Take plenty of photos and throw away those that are not focused or panned just right.
  5. Enjoy!

Besides the one I posted at rrf.com here’s a few of my other favorites.

Torn Tarp

Torn Tarp

Building America

Building America

X-KAL

X-KAL

[tags]trains, railroad, photos, photography, pan, panning, vancouver, washington [/tags]

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