Shutter Speed – Pan, Zoom & Twist

In this second post on shutter speed, I show how I pan, zoom and twist with a slower shutter to get fun and creative shots of action and every day life. This follows my first post Shutter Speed – Take it Slow

To use these techniques creatively, you really need to know your shutter speed and anticipate when the shutter will close.

Twisting the camera is a technique that need lots of practice and a steady hand. Basically, you focus on your subject, then press the shutter and twist the camera body simultaneously a little to the right to get the desired whirl effect. For this shot, I was on the back of an open truck alongside the cyclists in Dubai. My camera focal point was on the middle riders face and my Canon 1dx set to single shot. I pressed the shutter, simultaneously twisting my camera to the right a little, smoothly. All this takes place within 1/15th sec so your ‘twist’ has to be timed well.

Dubai Roadsters 5-11-10-118
Canon 1dx, 70-200mm f2.8L II, 1/15th, f20, iso 200, handheld

Shibuya Tokyo. With my Canon 5d3 on a tripod, I focused on the man raising his hands in the big screen. Pressing the shutter, I smoothy zoomed out a fraction (just before the shutter closed) with my Canon 16-35mm f2.8L lens. This kept the man more in focus but added energy and movement to the rest of the scene. Again, timing is key.

Canon 5d3, 16-35mm f2.8L, 1/15th, f8, iso 800, on tripod

Dubai cyclists out on a training run. I’m sitting on the back of an open truck, just 3ft from the cyclists. I focused at 35mm on the front right cyclist, then, as I fired the shutter, quickly zoomed out to 16mm with my Canon 1dx in servo mode. This image gives an almost 3d effect with the line of cyclists speeding out of the photograph towards you.

C2C Nov 13-297
Canon 1dx, 16-35mm f2.8L, 1/15th, f20, iso 200, handheld

Panning is a widely used technique in photography to give a motion effect.

The bright lights of Shibuya, Tokyo create a fantastic background for panning. Focusing on the cyclists, I panned along with him shooting a burst in servo mode. He looks like he is rocketing across Tokyo at high speeds leaving everything in his wake.

Blog Tokyo
Canon 5d3, 70-200mm f2.8L, 1/30th, f8, iso 2500, on tripod

A similar panning motion can also be used to create a nice motion effect on a stationary subject too. In this case, its the Jakarta skyline.

Placing my Canon 5d3 on a tripod on the 35th floor of my apartment, I set a 4 second exposure and counted down. Just before the shutter closed, I panned the lens a fraction to create the drag effect of the city lights. My 90mm tilt shift lens added to the creative look as the image centre is more focused that the edges.

40th Floor-44
Canon 5d3, TSE-90mm f2.8L, 4 secs, f5.6, iso 100, on tripod

This Lamborghini screams down the home straight at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi. I’m in the stands locked on with my Canon 1d4. A team engineer was placed in the foreground of the shot to give a sense of the cars speed. Otherwise, I would have only had nice angled lines framing the Lamborghini as it was travelling so fast.

Yas GT
Canon 1d4, 70-200mm f2.8L, 1/80th, f10, iso 1250, handheld

A surfer rides the waves at Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia. Panning here gives a smooth and fluffy effect to the waves and creates a sense of the surfers’ speed.

28-07-13 Desert Point RAW-63
Canon 1d4, 400mm f2.8L, 1/60th, f25, iso 100, on tripod

To view more of my photography, please visit my web esam hassanyeh





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