Today, I’m featuring an unusual picture and story. This amazing panning shot has been taken by Susan Portnoy from The Insatiable Traveler. Susan blogs for Huffington Post and take great pictures of wildlife. Her photographies from numerous safaris stolen my heart. Just follow her on Twitter and Facebook!
Picture Story: Panning shot, Masai Mara, Kenya
It was twilight on the Masai Mara in Kenya. Our small gang, a group of photography enthusiasts and professionals, were eagerly watching three cheetah brothers stretch and roll as the light left the sky. Elephants and wildebeest were in small herds behind them, but the predators didn’t seem to notice.
Suddenly, one male got up and began to saunter towards a fallen tree in the distance, and it hit me, I should try a panning shot. Panning shot involves slowing the shutter speed way down, focusing on the subject, and then following its movements while shooting.
It’s kind of a crapshoot. Most of the time photos will end up looking like a blurry mess, but when it works, parts of the subject are held in focus while other parts are blurred, emphasizing the feeling of movement.
I was at war with myself. I loved the look of panning, but I had little experience doing it. I was worried about wasting precious time with the cheetahs on an experiment, but then I thought, (mentally slapping myself across the face), “Just do it!” and began snapping away.
In seconds I took over 10 photos in rapid succession. The cheetah sat down to clean itself and I immediately flipped over my camera to look at the shots on the LCD. At first it was, as I mentioned before, multiple frames of blur.
My heart sank. But half way through the images, this one appeared. My heart soared. “Yay!!” I thought. “Woot!” I said out loud, a little too loud, causing my comrades in the jeep to turn around perplexed.