Shots like this long-exposure pan are becoming popular. This picture was taken at Badlands National Park in May of 2007 during my Artist In Residence tenure. I was trying to illustrate the speed of the fastest land animal in North America,the Pronghorn. I decide to try a handheld pan of 1/2 seconds using a 300 MM Canon F4L mounted on a Canon 20D.
I used Neutral Density and Polarizing Filters to help increase exposure time on my brightly lit scene. The image was captured at F32 and ISO 100.
The problem with shooting long pans like this is that your mirror on your DSLR flips up, blocking the viewfinder, in order to expose the sensor. When this happens you lose the ability to hold your target in frame.
A quick search through my gadget bag yielded a solution. I carry a hot shoe-mounted bubble level for use in panoramic and landscape images. By mounting it on the camera and peering through the clear plastic, using the level lines as a targeting guide, I was able to hold the camera on target as I panned across the long exposure.
I was very happy with the image overall. It conveyed exactly what I’d hoped when I originally conceived the shot.
What gratified me most was that in a subsequent issue of Outdoor Photographer in September of 2007, featured the technique in an article titled “Seeing in Slo-Mo”. The article even featured a photo by Art Wolfe of, you guessed it Pronghorn. It is nice to occasionally be ahead of the curve.
Rikk Flohr © 2007