Panning and Zoomburst (…it all gets a bit Dr. Who) Unit 1

Weeks 7-9 NCFE photography level 1

Unfortunately, I was unwell and missed college for weeks 7 and 8. But after seeing everyone else’s blog posts and a chat in class about techniques that we’d been learning I have attempted to catch up with the rest of my classmates.


Panning is a technique that involves shooting a moving subject whilst moving the camera so that the subject remains in the same position within frame.

As you follow the subject, the exposure should be long enough to allow the background to blur.

You need a slow shutter speed of approx 1/30 or slower depending on light and the speed at which your subject is moving. Enable your auto focus. The length of your exposure should be long enough to show the blurring of the background whilst keeping the subject in focus and appearing to remain still. This technique is useful for moving vehicles, playing children, dancers, cyclists, animals running, among others.

It’s probably best to use a tripod with this particular technique, as it’s difficult to keep your subject in the same position if you don’t track the camera smoothly.ย  You need to be parallel with your subject for the best effect. As your subject approaches begin tracking and continue tracking them whilst taking your exposure.

One more thing… When using a tripod in public, one needs to be aware of health and safety of course, both for yourself and for passers by. Also, please be aware of the traffic or moving subjects, because you may be more focused on getting ‘the shot’ rather than being around fast moving vehicles or people!

You look a little confused dear reader…..

Ok, here are some examples that I took (…not all of them successful!) It’s a little trickier than you might think….

As you can see, I didn’t really manage to capture what I hoped for. I must have taken 100 photos, and was too near, too fear, and not taking the exposure at the right settings. So I have posted a picture of a running chicken (borrowed from Wikipedia) to make you smile, but also to demonstrate what the technique is used for whilst I go away and shoot some more moving targets. (Be afraid….be very afraid.)


Here’s where it all gets a bit trippy!

Zoomburst is a technique where you use a zoom lens, with a manual zoom ring to produce an image which has blurred streaks radiating from the centre of the photograph.

The technique involves you manually zooming in or out with a fairly low shutter speed. Again, this is another technique to be used with a tripod – I was lucky enough to be given a small,ย  lightweight tripod for my birthday (Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) So this exercise was the perfect opportunity to use it.

On Shutter (S) priority mode, with a shutter speed between 1-4secs, lock your auto focus, then zoom out to the widest angle, press the shutter and zoom in until the frame is filled. Try to zoom smoothly and at a steady speed, finishing just as the exposure ends.

A zoomburst photo is all about creativity, so just have fun with it…. As you can see, I did!

We have had a group discussion about the next assignment of our course and it involves taking a series of 5 photographs to illustrate, Natural/Man-made. We need to show shape, form, texture, pattern, line, tone, colour and composition. We can interpret this task however we wish. We have 3 weeks to complete the assignment. I am currently brainstorming to think of some creative and unusual ideas. I have a feeling that the hardest part for me will be just keeping the 5 photo limit.





‘Ill’-uminations. Unit 1

Weeks 7 & 8 NCFE level 1 Photography

Due to an illness, I was unfortunately, unable to attend college for two weeks… but…. it didn’t stop me getting out with my camera this weekend, as soon as I was feeling a bit better.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Since I didn’t know what my classmates had been studying, I kind of ‘winged it’ a bit…

My ever patient model, and camera assistant (aka Tripod Carrier) and I, took a trip to Chiswick House on Sunday afternoon. I snapped away quite happily for anย  hour or so. (…and I didn’t even once, use the tripod! Sorry wbbf.) Chiswick House is just setting up for their Magic Lantern Festival for the Christmas period.

In this series of pictures, I played with changing the shutter speed, and f.stop to change the exposure in order to leach out all the bright colour, and take the exposure down to a silhouette of the structure and a sun flare.



The next few photos show composition and leading lines: (with only a little bit of cheating)




Balance in Composition

Rule of thirds and changing perspective on the subject.



And finally. Some gratuitous, pretty pictures… ( also demonstrating depth of field)

“Photography is an art of observation.ย  It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” Elliot Erwitt.



So, as you can see, I have been putting into practice what I’ve been learning over the last several weeks.

More to come… ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Back to college tomorrow…





Things that go bump in the night and pop …and whizz and bang (or having multiples.) Unit 1

Week 6 NCFE Level 1 Photography


This week, in class, our tutor entertained us with magic tricks. ๐Ÿ˜Š In truth, he was taking multiple exposures and painting light trails. It was all suitably Halloween-ish. ๐ŸŽƒ

We also talked about buying new bits of kit. A small tripod and a remote control timer – these are both relatively inexpensive.


Set up your camera on a tripod, then set your lowest ISO, f stop 22 and your shutter speed to BULB.ย  Position your subject at one end of the room with a light source, such as torch or mobile phone. Switch off your auto focus and focus manually. With the lights off, use a remote control timer to open the shutter.ย  Get your subject to ‘paint’ with the light source (If your subject is a little less juvenile than mine, they might not draw male genitalia…Although I have a feeling that the very first cave paintings were exactly that!)



Great party trick, but there are lots of fascinating light trails at this time of year. We spent Bonfire Night at my juvenile model’s favorite Thameside ‘drinking establishment’ where there was an awesome (I don’t really like that word, but it was….) fireworks display.


When all the fireworks were over, we tried some light trails across Hammersmith Bridge.


MULTIPLE EXPOSURES (or ghosts, if you like….)

More magic. Open the shutter, cover the lens with a piece of card at timed intervals of a few seconds, whilst your subject moves position. Then close the shutter.



Some people like to use the same technique to show movement in water,ย  I however, do not particularly like the effect of so-called ‘silky water’. Personally,ย  I think movement is shown much better by taking photos at a faster speed. Enough… nit picking.

Here I shall insert my excuses…..

I’ve been unwell. So, these are my moving water pictures taken from the comfort of a warm kitchen and some Lemsip.


Here I have also inadvertently demonstrated my tutor’s mantra “If you want faster shutter speed increase your ISO” There wasn’t enough light on such a dull day, so I increased the ISO but compromised the picture quality..

More next week…..

ps….I’m definitely going to need a bigger kit bag!