In last week's update I mentioned that I've been playing around with panning lately. While moving cars are interesting to photograph I found that trying to capture bike messengers in motion was far more challenging.
Freezing their motion against a blurred background is definitely hard, but the hardest part was actually finding them. I started out waiting on a corner on Congress Street near Post Office Square in downtown Boston thinking there would be a lot of bike traffic through the financial district. I only saw one bike. So I wrote about it on twitter and a friend of mine whose wife used to work downtown sent me a note about how he would see a ton of them when he would visit her.
Turns out I was about a block away form there when I was first shooting, so while I was in the neighborhood, I was just far enough away to miss the action. I went back there the next day and sure enough a whole clutch/gaggle/school of bike messengers was hanging out in the park on Devonshire Street.
I parked myself on the sidewalk and waited.
I ended up catching about a dozen messengers on that street. This was the only one that I really liked. I shot this one on the Canon 35mm film camera I have, on some Velvia 100 film. Actually all of this week's shots are from this setup.
The next time I try to go on a panning hunt I'll be bringing my digital camera. Being able to get some immediate feedback on the shots with the digital camera will make the outing a bit more successful. As it was with the film setup I had to guess at what exposure settings would work, and just how slow of a shutter speed I would need to keep the biker relatively crisp against a blurred background. I obviously have a ways to go...