Art of the Short Pan—Working at Dusk.

As the light fades, conventional daylight photographic techniques  begin to fail to yield  satisfactory results.

In other words, you’ll end up with dark and/or blurry photos using standard settings.

One solution is the pan photo. I’ve described this previously, but I’ll reiterate because I’m often asked how this is accomplished.

Manually select a comparatively slow shutter speed. For novice pan photographers, I’d suggest working at between 1/30th and 1/60th of a second. This is what I’ll call a ‘short pan’. A long pan is more difficult to execute and can be accomplished with speeds up to about 1 second.

One of the most effective types of pan is where the front of the subject is sharp, but the rest of the scene is offset by a sea of blur.

Pick a point in your frame where you’ll place the front of the subject and as the subject passes keep it at that point, all the while moving your camera with the subject. Release the shutter while the camera is moving.

A Ceske Drahy (Czech Railways) electric passes Lysa nad Labem at dusk. This is a trailing view of a locomotive at the back of a train. For this image I used my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 27mm pancake lens. This is approximately equivalent to a 40mm lens in old 35mm camera terms. My ISO was set to 800, shutter speed was 1/60th of second. Note the position of the front of the locomotive within the frame. This is a key to the success of the panned image.
A Ceske Drahy (Czech Railways) electric passes Lysa nad Labem at dusk. This is a trailing view of a locomotive at the back of a train. For this image I used my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 27mm pancake lens. This is approximately equivalent to a 40mm lens in old 35mm camera terms. My ISO was set to 800, shutter speed was 1/60th of second. Note the position of the front of the locomotive within the frame. This is a key to the success of the panned image.

A common problem occurs when the photographer stops moving as the shutter is released, which tends to result in a messy unsophisticated blur. Keep panning even after you release the shutter.

Remember to pan with your whole body in a uniform smooth motion.

Don’t hit the shutter button aggressively as that will result in an up-down blur that diminishes the overall effect.

It helps to practice panning.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.