Street Photography – Panning Moving Vehicles

Mark and I enjoyed a date night at Short North Gallery Hop in Columbus, Ohio last evening. We began with dinner at Lemon Grass, an Asian fusion restaurant located on High Street.

After dinner we strolled the hop, enjoying the street musicians. Mark brought along his camera, and he snapped several photos of various performers. I ducked into the occasional art gallery while he stayed outside to photograph the crowd.

I especially enjoyed the work showing at Roy G Biv Gallery. Jaye Schlesinger’s collection is titled POSSESSED, a series of about 400 exquisite small paintings that represent each of her personal possessions. On the other side of the gallery, Katherine Cunningham’s photographs of the sites of nineteenth century utopian communities in central Ohio comprise a thought-provoking display.

While I was enjoying the art, Mark was outside practicing panning moving vehicles. He offers these tips for photographers who want to try the technique:

  1. Use a slower shutter speed than you normally would. For cars and bikes on the street, 1/30 second shutter speed is a good starting point. Increase or decrease the shutter speed depending on your results. The slower the shutter speed, the greater the background blur but also the greater difficulty in keeping the subject in sharp focus.
  2. Hold the camera securely and swivel at the hips as the subject goes by. If it’s an option, consider using a tripod with a good swivel head.
  3. Track the movement of the subject as it goes by and follow through, just as you would in a golf or tennis swing.
  4. Take multiple shots; use a multi-shot setting if your camera has one. A good camera lens, like this 50mm Nikon, helps too.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.
  6. Search “photography panning” online for more information, but the key points above will help you get started.


Is there a street fair or arts festival coming up in your community? Take along your camera and photograph the event. I’d love to see your photos!


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