Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reverse Tracking, and EXTREMELY difficult technique.

"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.


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.

25 comments:

Mr. Condescending September 26, 2009 at 7:53 PM  

sorry if you already saw these a few months ago on the other blog, but I had to pop them on here.

J.J. in L.A. September 27, 2009 at 2:14 AM  

You don't have to apologize. This is your blog...just warn us first if you're gonna post any nekkid pics, okay? ; )

ladytruth September 27, 2009 at 4:34 AM  

Doesn't matter; still good to see them and appreciate the degree of difficulty

Amandasaurus September 27, 2009 at 5:36 AM  

I'm awestruck every time I look at your reverse tracking pictures. By far this is the coolest technique you've come up with.

P.S. You're cordially invited to play Q&A at my blog in honor of my 200th post! :)

mysterg September 27, 2009 at 6:23 AM  

These are fantastic! The second to last one must have been incredibly difficult to pull off, but you clearly have some very good technique.

Sami September 27, 2009 at 6:53 AM  

I hope you didn't do this while YOU were driving. Tsk tsk! ;)

These are great, I don't know if I would have the skill, patience, or steady hand to do this!

Soda and Candy September 27, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

Oh wow, these are really impressive! I would just cheat and cut ou the person and Motion Blur the background in Photoshop, but you wouldn't get that rotatey effect with that.
Very impressed!

Jaime September 27, 2009 at 8:35 PM  

those pictures are great. they made me a little dizzy. but they're really good

Mega8815 September 28, 2009 at 8:03 AM  

WOW!! Awesome effect!

Also makes me dizzy but looks terrific

Siren September 29, 2009 at 1:51 AM  

Let me recover from vertigo, wait...that is not from the pictures i was spinning fast in my chair, to see if i could unblur the background and blur the person, what can i say i am easily amused. J/K!!!

These are awesome. I think they turned out very cool. Maybe you should be teaching this class I am taking.

Guria September 29, 2009 at 11:42 AM  

Hey, I took some photos during the Durga Puja Festival (you may not know about, then again you may) in my city, Calcutta, India.

Of course, they are amateur pics but I would really like you to tell me how they are, and on what should I improve (I love taking good snaps)

Skip the post if it's too lengthy! :P

Cheers, G.

Tennyson ee Hemingway September 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM  

These are great. I really feel sick just looking at them. And that's a compliment.

Ginnymo October 1, 2009 at 7:17 PM  

Very interesting effects! I like them!! Awesome!

LegalMist October 2, 2009 at 1:49 PM  

When you enlarge the photo, you definitely get a bit dizzy just looking at it. Cool effect.

JenJen October 4, 2009 at 7:12 PM  

If there are naked pics I am so running for the computer and refreshing my screen.
Yeah. Ahem.
I love these shots. I think the ones below of the junkies are poignant and cringe-worthy. You've done a fantastic job of catching something behind the eyes of that one freakish woman.

Valerie October 15, 2009 at 10:41 AM  

that's pretty awesome. I learn so much when I come to your photography blog. There's a fairly famous picture of Minneapolis (my home town) that is reverse tracking. I think anyways.

Ellie October 20, 2009 at 5:17 AM  

I love the rotation pics, but the previous post of your street photography was very attention-grabbing.

KaLynn October 28, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

AWESOME!! I am in AWE of you! I would love to take pictures that were 1/2, no, a 1/4, this good! I am going to go look at more of your pics! I'll be back!

One Sassy Girl November 15, 2009 at 4:29 PM  

These are badass. I want one of me. Do I just standstill and let the world pass me by?

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Anonymous,  December 29, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

And there is a similar analogue?

Tabitha January 9, 2010 at 2:59 AM  

Man, this is totally amazing and really so difficult to do! Im hoping to get a digital slr soon, working with film is fulfilling but its harder to experiment on it.

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Big Mama Cass March 3, 2010 at 11:22 AM  

That is awesome! I can't wait to try it!

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