By Jack Berglund
Thinking back to school, I can remember some of the more entertaining parts of chemistry lessons. The teacher could have just told us that sodium in water bursts into flames and that the elements of group one get more reactive as you go down the periodic table but its more fun to watch. Having seen the equivalent cesium demonstration destroy the apparatus, we were all more likely to stick at it and learn something really useful. And so it is with panning…
Soon after I bought my first digital SLR, I was shown the technique of panning to add a sense of motion to a photograph. Panning involves following a moving subject with the camera whilst taking a shot giving the background a motion blur but keeping the subject sharp. My girlfriend introduced it only as a useful technique that I would find fun. She has since revealed it was part of a plan to get me off automatic mode and really thinking about what I was doing.
Its a technique that you can learn in a couple of hours and get great results. Many photography concepts are built up by experience over a long period of time, so having some specific techniques to learn and master is a great way to stay involved and get some interesting shots. Needless to say, in my case the plan worked. This and a series of other fun techniques got me hooked for long enough to start learning some of the more heavyweight fundamentals.