Week 4 – Motion and Travel…

“I’m always photographing everything mentally as practice.” Minor White

We talked about how to read the flashing highlights (blinkies) and the histogram in your camera’s view screen for each photograph you take.

Learning to read the histogram for each photograph you take is essential because with digital image making you need to ‘expose for the highlights and process for the shadows’. Which means that you are exposing for the ‘texture highlights’ because the highlights are the most important tonality as they can’t be recovered in digital. Once they go white they are gone, you cannot get a texture out of them again but you can still recover the dark areas.

This week we looked at motion photography. The different types are:

For some good explanations of the different types of motion photography check out this site. Also, this link has some great info on places to practice your motion photography.

Check out this link for more info on panning.

Panning tips – Panning can only really be done effectively when you’re prepared for it. You have to find a place where you know someone or something will be moving.

How to pan:

  1. Pre-focus your camera on the spot where you expect your subject to appear.
  2. Frame your shot and wait for the subject to approach the edge of your frame.
  3. As soon as the subject enters the spot you focused on press the shutter button and keep it pressed (using your camera’s continuous shooting mode).
  4. As you’re doing this follow/pan the camera with the subject. When you pan a few things are important:
  • The movement of the subject has to be in a fairly straight line (refer to the diagram).
  • The wider your angle of view on the scene, the wider your pan can be.
  • Make the pan motion as smooth and as straight along the horizon line as possible.
  • Any camera shake or movement up or down will result in additional, undesirable smearing/blurring.
  • Expect your success rate to be rather low with this technique. It may take many shots to get one which is “just right”. Stand in one place and take about a couple dozen photos of the same sort of stuff. Practice, repetition and perseverance will get you there.


  1. For best panning results the shutter speed should be set around 1/6s to 1/20s. The slower the subject – the slower the shutter speed.
  2. Set youre f number to at least f/5.6, but there’s no optimal setting for this.
  3. You can make panning shots with virtually any lens, but remember, it should be easy for you to hold it so as not to cause camera shake and additional smearing/blurring. A zoom lens is best to do this.

We also talked about travel photography. If you don’t travel often then you may want to practice by learning to see where you live in the eyes of a tourist. Take a look at the website A Walk Through Durham Township which has some great examples of being a tourist in your own town as well as some wonderful photographs.

You have a choice for your assignment next week. You can shoot photos of the different types of motion or shot a “ghost walk” photo.

Ghost walking, or ghosting, happens when you use long shutter speeds to capture an image.  Any movement during the image recording process can result in ghost images appearing in your shot. IE: Someone walking through the frame

Here are some interesting variations on long exposure photography including ghosting.

A Google search for some cool examples of ghosting.

Do a search for long exposure photography and try taking photos of lights at night.

The technique is all about trial and error and playing. Play with low ISO’s and long shutter speeds and see what you come up with. Put your camera in Shutter Priority mode and set the shutter speed allowing the camera to set the aperture.

When shooting your assignment be creative. Don’t forget about composition, lighting and the interest value of your photos.

If shooting the different examples of motion, bring in one photo for each type. If shooting a ghost walk bring in 2-3 examples.

Sharpen your focus:

Think about starting a photo/visual journal of notes and ideas for photographs. Here is an article on keeping a photographic journal.

Information about Dan Eldon and his journals.

Another photographer, Peter Beard, that has kept journals all his life.

Amazon links for a few of the books about photographers and journals …

Sante D’Orazio A Private View: Photographs and Diary

The Journey Is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon

Big Up

Yann Arthus-Bertrand: Being a Photographer

A good book on visual journaling: Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art

A few more sites you might like…

Here is a link to the movie about Dan Eldon’s life.

Here’s some more information on recording your ideas.

A  few more sites you might like…

If you’re a nature buff then you’ll like this blog alot. Her photos are beautiful.

If you haven’t been over to the Flickr site yet…get thee there and check out the millions of photos that have been posted by people from around the world. Do a search on a topic such as children, travel or flowers and get lost for hours looking at photos.

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