"Tracking" or sometimes called "Panning" is a photographic technique where you follow a moving subject with a slower shutter speed, so that the subject stays in focus while the background is blurred. It creates a sense of speed and motion. Like a sharply focused car with the road just a blur, or a cheetah in mid-sprint.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
I've seen tracking used in a slight reverse as well, where maybe a subject stays still while a subway car pulls up, or while a hundred people walk around time square while a subject is standing still.
I'm not a big fan of posed shots myself, I like the character and sincerity that only candid shots can provide. As the followers of my other blog know, I have a tendency to capture the less fortunate people in society. There is often no glamour in my subjects, and I wanted to convey a sense of life speeding by these stagnant people. The only way to powerfully do this, is to motion blur the world in the background, while the person moves at a crawl.
I've never seen this technique done before, and it is INCREDIBLY difficult. What has to happen is you must shoot someone from a moving vehicle, keep them in focus, and track them precisely at the same movement of the car so as not to blur them. Another problem arises, as the car moves, it actually rotates around them, so you have to rotate the camera during the exposure as well. It creates an unparalleled motion blur that is one of a kind. I took dozens of these a few months ago, but only a few were decent enough, enjoy...
If you click the second to last one above, you will notice the center of rotation is actually about a yard away from the lady, kind of like she is standing on a vinyl record just outside of the center of it.
The last one is my favorite. Click on it to see it full size, and try not to get dizzy! Look at the grass and see how the rotation really came out well.