Old 11-09-2011, 07:28 PM   #1
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Question Mitch's Zoom Pans

How does he do this?

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Do you just give a crank on the zoom ring while taking the photo?

What % of these do you think turn out?
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:10 PM   #2
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Correct. Just liking panning, you move the zoom ring at the same speed as of the train. The perspective of the oncoming train plays a big role in it as well. It is certainly a science that I think Mitch has an eye for capturing.

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Old 11-09-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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I guess I just realized you would have to have your camera set to continuous focus, right?

I'll have to figure out how to do that.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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I'm not positive on the autofocus method used by Mitch, but when attempting pans or zoom pans for that matter, I use AI Servo mode which continuously tracks the subject.

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Old 11-10-2011, 12:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase55671 View Post
It is certainly a science that I think Mitch has an eye for capturing.

Chase
And a hand for capturing. You could have a great eye, but without the smooth hand motion, the great eye means nothing.

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I'm not positive on the autofocus method used by Mitch, but when attempting pans or zoom pans for that matter, I use AI Servo mode which continuously tracks the subject.

Chase
So you're shooting then with the focus set to the shutter button?
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hatchetman View Post
How does he do this?

Do you just give a crank on the zoom ring while taking the photo?

What % of these do you think turn out?

With respect to the first question, the technique is a fair bit more demanding than just cranking on the zoom ring. I can't speak for Mitch's specific methods, but essentially what the photographer does is frame the train, then ease back on the zoom ring as the train comes toward him , at a rate which keeps the perspective of the train (meaning its position and size in the frame) exactly the same. That's the hard part....keeping the perspective in the frame exactly the same. It clearly takes a steady hand holding the camera and moving the zoom ring. Of course, most photographers are likely also holding down the shutter release and shooting in burst mode while doing the zoom. Like a regular pan, you'll end up with a bunch of images, which you then examine for sharpness and the desired effect.

Hopefully, Mitch will chime in with some answers to your second question as to what percentage of his attempts yield at least one presentable frame.

While I understand the technique, I've personally never tried it. It's not an effect that I have any particular affinity for, but I clearly appreciate the technical difficulty. I have been very impressed with some of Mitch's results, especially the Acela shot he posted a week or two back. The zoom-pan effect is most pleasing when used on a vehicle that is known for extreme speed.....such as a Thunderbird's F-16, a Top-Fuel Dragster or an Acela Train. You can do it on a D&RGW K-36, but as the artsy-fartsy types would say, it just doesn't "work".
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:53 AM   #7
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And a hand for capturing. You could have a great eye, but without the smooth hand motion, the great eye means nothing.
Sure, it takes a smooth hand, too, but you have to have some skill to be able to follow the subject at approximately the same speed as the approaching subject, know your settings, and be in the situation to pull it off. Like anything else, there is a time and place for zoom panning, and I think Mitch has a good eye for when it is appropriate.

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Old 11-10-2011, 03:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatchetman View Post
How does he do this?

Do you just give a crank on the zoom ring while taking the photo?

What % of these do you think turn out?
Anybody who does a zoom pan turns the zoom ring as they are panning a particular location of the locomotive. That is usually the number board or logo since it is in or close to the center of the frame.

I can't speak for Mitch but the % that turn out depends on the subject. Obviously, a medium speed is optimal for success because it requires average speed turning the zoom ring. In a burst of 6-8 shots there will be one that is perfect or close to it and usually one or two that are close. If you mean % in terms of successes vs. attempts to get that ONE perfect shot per train. I'd estimate Mitch's success rate would be 90-95%. Mine would be somewhere around 80-85%. Obviously, it's easier the more practice and attempts you have.
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:25 PM   #9
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Sure, it takes a smooth hand, too, but you have to have some skill to be able to follow the subject at approximately the same speed as the approaching subject...
Agreed. And that was the point I was making as I was complimenting him for having a smooth hand motion to be successful at these shots. Without that, a great eye means nothing. Physical skills are just as important, if not more, as visual skills when trying to perfect this type of photography. I consider myself to have a good eye for photography, but I'll be damned right now if I can get the physical part of it down. I have tried a few times with great fail. Much respect to Mitch (and Andrew) for having the physical skill to perfect this practice.

I think I'll climb a tree now.

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Anybody who does a zoom pan turns the zoom ring as they are panning a particular location of the locomotive.
My 100-400 doesn't rotate.
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:42 PM   #10
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I think a 77MM NDF filter goes for about $150.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:20 PM   #11
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I think a 77MM NDF filter goes for about $150.
As always, there is a quality/$$ tradeoff. I use a Tiffen for my occasional forays into long-shutter daytime photography. The 77mm is now $43 at Amazon.

You certainly won't notice any quality differences for web-displayed shots.

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Old 11-10-2011, 05:24 PM   #12
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Sounds like a potential stocking stuffer!
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:50 PM   #13
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Ah, what is wrong with me! I have forgotten to take my opportunity to link to my own shot! Not a zoom pan, but using an ND filter, a loose connection to the thread, to be sure.

Image © Janusz Mrozek
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Not that great a shot, frankly, but OK. So, within a month comes Chase's blatant rip-off!

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One thing I don't like about this category of shots is that people, including me!, tend to try them when the light is iffy or poor, because easier to get the slow shutter speed. But poor light is poor light and that isn't necessarily overcome by an interesting blur. One can do a well-lit blur (and on mine above the sun was marginal) but then you definitely need the ND filter, and the three stop version at that.

I haven't mucked around with zoom pans yet, always forget to give it a try.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:58 PM   #14
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I would imagine the best place to practice your zoom pans would be out in front of your house on passing cars (isn't digital the best?). Of course people would think you are some kind of a nut (and rightly so).

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Old 11-10-2011, 06:14 PM   #15
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I would think if you want to practice zoom-pans, you can walk your ass to any busy street with a bus bench, sit there all day and practice your technique on cars...

I'm not a fan of these gimmicky shots to be honest, but what difference does that make.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:16 PM   #16
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So here's a question, do you zoom in or out?
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:20 PM   #17
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So here's a question, do you zoom in or out?
If the object is moving towards you, you zoom out. The idea is that the object fill the same space within the frame as it moves. So as it gets closer, you have to go wider on the lens, otherwise the object gets larger with respect to the frame of the shot and you get blur everywhere except the center point.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:25 PM   #18
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So here's a question, do you zoom in or out?
Out. Remember, we want the front of the train to appear frozen in the frame and if the train is coming at you and you are simultaneously zooming in, you're not going to achieve that.

For those who want to just practice, and don't want to splurge for an ND filter, you can always throw a Circular Polarizer on the lens. It's good for a couple of stops, and depending on the light, that might be enough at ISO 100.

Not the ideal solution, but it works.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #19
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For those who want to just practice, and don't want to splurge for an ND filter, you can always throw a Circular Polarizer on the lens.
You dont have to spend a lot of money on ND filters. This was done with a $40 .9 ND filter, I think Tiffen or SunPak. Spend money on a good CP (I have a B+W), but I think ND filters, you can do fine with one of the cheaper ones.

For reference, this was done with the above said filter. 4 sec exposure at F22, ISO50

May not be super, but it at least shows what you can do with one that wont break the bank.

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Old 11-10-2011, 07:39 PM   #20
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I don't usually comment on pictures since I have exactly 0 in the db and I'm still learning but that waterfall looks really cool to me. Is that your picture Troy, and if it's ok to ask, where did you take it?
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:49 PM   #21
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Loup Creek Falls, between Thurmond and Mt. Hope.

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Old 11-10-2011, 07:50 PM   #22
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For reference, this was done with the above said filter. 4 sec exposure at F22, ISO50
Nice shot, Troy. Why did you embed it in the post also attach it? Are the two different? (too lazy to a-b them right now)

Also, are those tracks in the background or a road?
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:54 PM   #23
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Also, are those tracks in the background or a road?
You're wondering about the leveling, aren't you. Bastard.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:57 PM   #24
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Loup Creek Falls, between Thurmond and Mt. Hope.

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Old 11-10-2011, 08:03 PM   #25
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You're wondering about the leveling, aren't you. Bastard.
I hadn't even thought of that. But now that you mention it....
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