[LRflex] Re: Swishy Pan

  • From: Ted Grant <tedgrant@xxxxxxx>
  • To: leicareflex@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 09:42:01 -0700

Roberta asked:

Subject: [LRflex] Re: Swishy Pan
> Nice "swishy pan" shot. How is that different from the traditional
> panning technique?<<<

Hi Roberta,
this may help. ;-) Although David gave a pretty good account. :-)

Given I've never, well I was going to say...." I've never used anything but
Leica SLR's and motor drives shooting swishie pans covering sports events."

However that would be in error, as I did a series using an M6 and Noctilux
about motor bike traffic on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in '98
that worked quite well. But in this case you really need a Tom Abrahamsson
RapidWinder and the hand skill of making 3 frames a second! ;-)

What's far more important in capturing this type of picture successfully is
to have  perfect body follow through with the subjects direction than what
you actually see. Simply because if you don't rotate your body motion equal
to the motion of the subject, try auto racing ;-) for example. You'll have a
"swishy pan" no one can understand what it is other than a smear of colour.

A well shot swishie should have part of the subject sharp and still be
understandable when the camera and runner are moving at the identical speed.

In other words the body of a runner could be sharp but the legs & arms are
beautiful swirls of colour indicating speed. Quite frankly all this happens
so fast the photographer really isn't seeing individual elements of the body
and what they're doing, that's why one need not use a viewfinder as in an M
or external because you're moving & shooting a mass of something in motion.

Besides if you hold the camera still and expect to shoot the subject moving
through the frame.....99.9999999% of the time the subject will be gone
before your re-action time kicks in to shoot it.

This "Swishie pan" effect only works when the background is a complete blur
due to camera movement in sync with the moving object.

Now did I confuse you or not? ;-)

David's rider is very good considering he only shot 12 frames and came away
with one !! When one is shooting this kind of effect one shouldn't even let
"how much film will this take?" enter your mind!

It's burn it like there's no tomorrow and certainly use a motor drive if one
has one. Digital isn't any different.

One last thing.... the perfect timing for the best effect is when camera and
subject are at absolute right angles. In other words your shutter release
and subject must be straight in front of you while you, camera and subject
are all moving at the identical speed!

See it's simple enough.;-)

You asked the difference between a "swishie pan and a pan?"

Actually there isn't any, it's merely a name given to me and what I was
shooting at an Olympics some years ago by much younger photographers in a
joking manner. Offering I was too old to shoot sharp stopped action pictures
and used the "swishie pan effect" to cover my ass by calling it "sport art!"
True story. ;-)



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