10 -12 photographs
Next, do the same kind of thing while following the movement with the camera. Take the camera off the tripod for this (or loosen the tripod head), and simply swing it so that the moving subject stays in the middle of the frame. This comes naturally as a technique to most people, and is known as panning. Again, compare the results of different shutter speeds. 1/60 sec or 1/30 sec will give a fairly sharp image of the subject, while the background will be streaked. This is an easy way of freezing the essential movement in photography.
Having assessed your results in a technical way, sit back and choose the one from each of the two series that you actually like the best. Is it the sharpest version? Or do you think that some slight blurring gives more of a sense of speed? Sometimes the amount of sharp detail that you get in a photograph is less important than the overall impression. Write down your thoughts in your learning log referring to the prints by the numbers you have given them. File the prints, and order the digital files in a folder (or place the negatives or slides in a file, if you used film).


At 1/50 of a second the horse and the background are pretty much frozen by the shutter speed, but we do start to see an effect here that was discovered from the early studys by Eadweard James Muybridge into horse locomotion that the hooves of a horse move at dramatically higher speeds than the rest of the leg as they flick them, in this photograph you can see that the hooves are slightly blurred compared to the rest of the horse. In the last two shots this is exaggerated and finally frozen at 1/800 sec

1/40 sec

At 1/40 sec the motion of panning the camera is holding some of the horse in focus while the background is beginning to blur this is a relatively fast shutter speed for this effect to work

1/30 sec

At 1/30 sec we start to see a more pronounced effect as we start to leave the safe speeds for hand holding a camera

1/25 sec

At 120 of a second we are starting to get a sense of motion

1/20 sec

At 1/20 sec I think it is really starting to work there is enough balance between blur and sharpness to make the image work, notice this image captures the horse with all 4 feet off the ground

1/15 sec

At 1/15 sec again its working bur we are starting to get to the point where most of the photograph is blurring it’s not quite to a point where none of it is recognisable yet

1/13 sec

At 1/13 the image background is a blur but enough of the horse is in focus for us to identify with the image as a horse.

1/10 sec

Starting to get some real blur at 1/10 sec at this sort of speed the differing movement speeds of different parts of the horse begin to show up, you notice the added impression of speed generated by the blur on the rear legs

1/8 sec

At 1/8 sec you can see the photographer’s natural instinct to follow the eye or head as this is the part that has remained most in focus during the pan

1/6 sec

At 1/6 sec it is hard to tell which parts of the horse are which the tail is almost indistinguishable from the rear leg.

1/5 sec

at 1/5 sec we are getting double images and a lot of blur this is starting to not look as good to me

1/4 sec

It’s funny how this happens but mostly by luck all the parts of the horse come together here at the slower shutter speed and the image works better than the ones with the slightly faster shutter speed I like this image.

1/800 sec

I had to go to a shutter speed of 1/800 sec to finally freeze the hooves showing just how fast this horse flicks the tips of his hooves. This horse was only in a canter for these photographs imagine the speed if it had been galloping, It would be interesting to see if a much higher shutter speed would be needed to freeze a galloping hoof

1/160 sec

Just to prove a point this was shot at 1/160 sec and the horse and background are relatively sharp but notice the speed of the front right leg which is not frozen at this relatively fast shutter speed.


I think I prefer the shots at 1/25 and 1/20 sec they convey a sense of movement and are exciting to look at. over both of the exercises on photographing motion I think I have prefered images that have some blur and motion conveyed in them to stark sharp shots frozen at really high shutter speeds.

Lessons Learned

Continuing on from the discussion in the previous exercise if our example is no longer a rock or a building but now a person waving an arm. In this example the photons continue to bounce off our subject and enter the camera lens, if we have a fast enough shutter speed the photons only bounce onto the sensor from one position of the arm and appear to freeze the action, see the last image of Colin cantering around the ring above, however if the shutter is too slow the photons collected by the lens will have bounced off the arm while it was in more than one position giving multiple exposures for the arm on the film, the result will be a blur of motion. Like the images taken a 1/4 and 1/5 second above.

Now from an aesthetic point of view it get complicated now as this is not necessarily a bad thing and neither scenario is right or wrong depending of what you are trying to achieve with the image, if we wish to take an image of Colin that shows our audience that he is a magnificent and fast beast then the slow shutter speed will convey a greater idea of the speed and motion if we want to demonstrate that a horse does indeed take all four feet off the ground in mid gallop then the faster shutter speed is the answer.

This exercise demonstrates some further factors, the art of panning allows us to shift the blur but moving the camera with the subject we lessen the blur caused by that motion and transfer this blur to the stationary background thus creating an aesthetically pleasing image that cry’s out motion and speed and if done properly will not make the audience cry “Out OF Focus”