#8 in the Judging a Photograph series
Last week I introduced the 50th anniversary Gold photography competition at the historic Knaresborough Camera Club, which I was lucky enough to judge. Space did not allow me to cover all the things I wanted to show you from that competition last week. So this blog post follows on from last week. Some club members have kindly given me permission to reproduce their pictures. However to begin with here is one of my own, just a snap taken with my phone as I set off for the judging evening. I think this box is as old as the club! It contains all the print entries for the competition and carrying it I felt a bit like the chancellor on budget day.
As I explained previously, there are three categories and only one is for prints. There are two further categories of projected (i.e. digital) images: One standard projected category and one “projected plus” for the club members who have a habit of winning or doing very well. This means that photographers of all abilities have a good chance. The club uses a projector in a darkened room to display the images one by one as the judge talks through them.
Panning Photography – Tips
The winner of the Projected category was an exciting shot “Malcolm Campbell’s Legacy” by Richard Bryant. If you’ve ever taken a photography course then sooner or later you will have a go at taking a panning photo. If you never have, do give it a try!
Reduce the shutter speed and hold the camera very steady. (Perhaps try an eighth of a second for your first go). Point the camera at a moving object like a vehicle and track as it goes past you. Make sure the camera doesn’t move up or down, only from side to side. You’ll have to stand fairly far back so you can keep the object in sharp focus within the depth of field. After you have started to move the camera, press the shutter but don’t interrupt the flow of movement. It will all be over in a split second, so keep it smooth. The trick is to keep the vehicle in the same place in the frame, even though you are moving the camera.
This is how Richard Bryant’s panning shot turned out.
Whenever I have tried to take a panning shot I have ended up with something very avant garde. Richard’s winning shot is crisp and dramatic. The boat is perfectly frozen in the frame. It looks like it is moving very fast and cuts a real dash on the water with the spray and bright orange lettering. There’s a nice reflection from it and I like the vignette on the image.
The mystery in this photo
Still, it is a very unusual panning shot and I am quite surprised to see how it turned out. If you look at the water you can see that it is a panning shot because all the little dapples of light are horizontal stripes. However take a look at the beads of spray. They are moving and the exposure is relatively long. So why are they perfectly frozen spheres and not blurred? This almost completely baffled me. It’s extraordinary to see such clear evidence of panning photography combined with separate moving objects frozen in the same photo. The two things can barely exist together.
The answer is to do with the angle of travel of the boat. Richard tells me that because it was moving at an angle towards him from a distance, he barely had to pan the camera. His fine motor skills must be very well honed to pan like this! Also I think the droplets of water in the air probably also have some forward movement and the fairly quick shutter speed which Richard is using is just perfectly right to catch them.
Final thanks and wishes
I take awful selfies, it’s really not my style, but I thought I should grab a snap while I was there. I could only fit in a section of the room! Sorry to half the club members for missing you out! Thanks for having me, Knaresborough Camera Club. It really was a tremendous honour and great fun. Congratulations on all the super shots which made it so hard for me to choose. May you go from strength to strength in your next 50 years.
Read the previous blog in this series here
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