In the all-important basic lesson about studying motion and shutter speeds, we met at a Milestone Mx—a dirt bike riding track.
Stopping action is simply using a fast shutter speed, timing when to release the shutter and picking a peak action moment.
Panning is a little trickier.
But Milestone Mx is excellent not just because the dirt bike riders love the attention, but there are varying levels of skills.
The more skillful ones will actually "hotdog it" or show off for folks with cameras
The ridersÂ just go around and around the track in the same direction pretty much predictably along the same path.
That means my lots of chances great for practicing.
So how exactly does panning work?
Generally speaking if you’re using a lens about 100 mm , you want a shutter speed of 1/60 sec as a starting point. At that shutter speed, your aperture might be at least f16 or even smaller f22 if it’s sunny out and you’re at ISO 100.
The idea is to intentionally choose a lower shutter speed so that when you move the camera in the same direction as your moving bike rider during the exposure, the background will be blurry from the motion.
All that remains then is for you to adjust your follow-through-motion (left to right or vice-versa) to keep the dirt bike rider in the same spot on in your viewfinder.
It sounds simple enough but here are some variables to consider.
If you want to accentuate the blurriness of the background, the longer the focal length, the more the blur.
So if you shoot 1/60 f11 with a 50 mm lens, the background won’t appear so blurry as if you shot with say a 100 mm or 80 mm.
A selection of pictures from Milestone Mx fieldtrip