The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir
Every now and then I like to experiment. Panning is a fun technique and so easy to do. Just move the camera with a slowish shutter speed. All done in camera; no fuss. With trees, I like to slow the movement at the bottom of the scene to get a little more clarity. I think this helps to ‘ground’ the image. It’s very different from my usual, realistic style but it stops me from taking photography too seriously, and that has to be a good thing, right?
When winter closes in and the bare bones of trees are revealed, I like to create abstract images using ‘intentional camera movement’, or ‘panning’.
This technique is very easy. Simply select a slowish shutter speed and move the camera while the shutter is open. It helps to start the movement before pressing the shutter and to finish just after the exposure, to avoid jerky shapes in the image, unless that is what you’re after, of course! I also find the results generally much more pleasing if you move the camera in the direction of the dominant shape in your view, so vertically for trees.
Trees are not the only subject for this sort of technique. I have also panned landscapes, although there I move the camera horizontally rather than vertically. But winter forests do seem to be particularly suitable subjects.
I couldn’t resist including a mysterious figure in the last two images. The final one is for my son’s horror film project.
Do you ever play around with this technique? Please feel free to share your panned/camera movement images or other winter abstracts in the comments below; I would love to see them!