Panning -- A Low Light Solution for Motion

Most of us have experienced the frustration of trying to stop moving subjects in still pictures when we don't have much light to work with. We can't use a fast shutter speed without getting underexposed images or raising the ISO. In this situation, giving in to the low light and using a slow shutter speed goes hand in hand with panning.

Panning a motorboat on the Siuslaw River, Oregon
ISO 100, 1/25 second, f/8, 96mm

To perform a panning shot, choose a slow shutter speed like 1/15 second or 1/30 second. Turn on Continuous Drive so you can take a burst of frames. Then follow your subject in the viewfinder by moving the camera to keep up. As you shoot a series of frames, you will get a couple in which the subject is sharp and the background shows streaks from moving the camera. This technique is difficult to master so plan to take several shots and select the best one later.

Learn more about panning and other creative shutter speed techniques in Creative Camera Techniques beginning October 2, 2018, in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register.