Riding a Bicycle for Summer—Creating the Perfect Panning Shot

by dav.d

This last Pioneer Day I was spending some time with the family and of course I bring my camera. My niece Maren decided to go on a bicycle ride. So we spent a few minutes working on panning with the camera to create the perfect photograph of Maren in motion.

There are two things that will help create the perfect panning shot. First, you need a slow shutter speed. I was shooting at 1/20th of a second. The second key is to take a LOT of photographs. I put my camera on the fastest burst of 6 frames a second. Cameras often will shoot from 3-14 frames a second.

Maren rides her bicycle

Maren rides her bicycle

I found that a smooth motion of just following the subject was best. I probably had about 60 photographs after this experiment and at the end I had about 4 keepers. So there is a lot of experimentation and practice that goes into this shot.

Panning shots are great to convey motion. You often will find then used with auto racing, horse racing, cycling, and other sports.

As a bonus, here is a photograph of a firework blast from the same day. There is a reason to always carry a tripod in the trunk of your car—there might be fireworks!

Fireworks for Pioneer Day

Fireworks for Pioneer Day

The family had invested a bit of money into fireworks to celebrate Pioneer Day. I fortunately had my tripod and my little Fuji X-E1 proved pretty capable of firework photography. The camera uses the old style cable release which is rather hipstery and a bit of a challenge. I could have benefited from an even wider lens for that particular camera but it worked just fine.

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dav.d photo
dav.d is a portrait photographer based in Utah.