Old 03-25-2013, 02:14 AM   #1
MassArt Images
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Question Advice for future zoom-pan submissions

This was rejected first for being undersharpened.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...06&key=8482781

I did some selective sharpening on the nose before getting nicked for blurry.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...16&key=3352116

Does anyone who has been successful getting zoompans accepted have any advice for for capturing a good photo?

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Old 03-25-2013, 02:44 AM   #2
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My $.02 is that I'm guessing that your shot ended up in a big pile of 100 or so images waiting for screening on a weekend, and as the screener worked through the backlog, he didn't realize that the shot was intended to be a zoom pan. It just looked like a mostly blurry picture, so he busted it and moved on.

For my money, the sharpness of the nose in this shot is decent for a zoom pan. The problem is that the crop is way too tight, and the blur in the background just doesn't convey speed the way a zoom pan should. It just looks like a tight grab shot taken at f/2.

I'd wait for Mitch Goldman to comment on this one, as he's probably got more shots of this type on RP than anyone.
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:19 AM   #3
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The sharpness is fine to my eyes, but the composition isnt, vertical composition is not doing you any favors with the cut off train and the people standing to the right are really distracting.
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:40 AM   #4
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Not enough Zoom (motion) blur. Too tight a crop. Study Mitch's Zoom pans and you'll see the difference. Search for his name under photographer, and Zoom in the Keywords.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
My $.02 is that I'm guessing that your shot ended up in a big pile of 100 or so images waiting for screening on a weekend, and as the screener worked through the backlog, he didn't realize that the shot was intended to be a zoom pan. It just looked like a mostly blurry picture, so he busted it and moved on.

For my money, the sharpness of the nose in this shot is decent for a zoom pan. The problem is that the crop is way too tight, and the blur in the background just doesn't convey speed the way a zoom pan should. It just looks like a tight grab shot taken at f/2.

I'd wait for Mitch Goldman to comment on this one, as he's probably got more shots of this type on RP than anyone.
Kevin's right on the mark, I'd say.

Did you shoot it vertically? Much harder to do so in my experience. If not go wider so as not to cut off the train, add better blur reference and let the shot breath. Otherwise - in for a penny, in for a pound - crop it even tighter! That way, instead of cutting off the train, you are simply honing in on just the engine.

/Mitch
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:22 AM   #6
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PS - Happy Birthday!

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Old 03-25-2013, 11:57 AM   #7
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The best pace shots or pan shots I've seen (many by Mitch, but also look up Samuel Phillips on RP) have elements on both sides of the train that get blurred. You have a telelphone pole and some people way behind the train.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
PS - Happy Birthday!

/Mitch
Thanks Mitch. I was kinda hoping that you would reply with a mini-tutorial on "How to ZoomPan for Dummies". Now that would be a nice birthday present!....hint.....hint
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:47 PM   #9
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Carl, I'm no Mitch but I do like to play around with zoom pans on occasion, if only to prove to myself that I'm still capable of doing them. I guess the most important thing is to have enough lack of light to get your shutter speed down low. Before I got a camera with a low-end ISO of 50 I had to settle for cloudy days:
Image © W. D. Shaw
PhotoID: 383380
Photograph © W. D. Shaw
or dusk/dawn shots:
Image © W. D. Shaw
PhotoID: 343303
Photograph © W. D. Shaw

I could have used a neutral-density filter but I had given all that sort of stuff to my daughter after I made the switch to digital, as the Zeiss lenses from my 35mm days always seemed to have different diameters than the Canon ones I presently use. On a sunny day I'll set my camera to ISO 50 and the aperture as tight as needed for the shutter speed I want, which is generally about as tight as my preferred lens for this sort of work(24-105 L) will go. I've never ventured below 1/15th, but then I always hand-hold the camera when shooting zoom-pans. I think Mitch's secret to the insanely slow shutter speeds is a quality fluid pan head on a quality tripod but I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong! One thing I try to do is make sure the perceived area of "sharpness" extends down the visible side of the train as far as possible, at minimum the whole front of the locomotive
Image © W. D. Shaw
PhotoID: 280078
Photograph © W. D. Shaw
if not the whole side of the train.
Image © W. D. Shaw
PhotoID: 295892
Photograph © W. D. Shaw
I know others don't really care about that, but I see images with only partial sharpness on the front of the loco as technically flawed. But that's just me, one of the nice things I got from my mother along with the Muscular Dystrophy was a healthy dose of OCD, and that stuff only gets worse with age! (Note to Thias: if you think you've got it bad now, wait until you're pushing 60!) Once you've figured out your preferences, get out there and practice. Nobody told or showed me how to do it, I just went and learned it on my own. Film and processing was a big expense in those days and I wasn't rich, so I had to learn quick!

Edit: Joe, please post some examples of Samuel's zoom pans. I browsed though his shots and the only things I saw that could have been confused with zoom pans actually appeared to be pace shots
Image © Samuel Phillips
PhotoID: 427103
Photograph © Samuel Phillips
(unless he has a propensity for setting up in the middle of a highway! )
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I think Mitch's secret to the insanely slow shutter speeds is a quality fluid pan head on a quality tripod but I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong!
Actually, I've watched Mitch do a number of these, and I've never seen him use a tripod. They're pretty much all hand-held. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen Mitch use a tripod outdoors at all, except at night.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:59 PM   #11
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It really wasn't an appealing example of a zoom-pan. Sorry--just being honest.

Samuel Phillips' shots are mostly pace shots. His father drives the car and he does the photography.

My own shots with movement are almost all pan shots, taken while I'm standing stock still. I've never tried a zoom pan. Mitch is the best I've seen at it---but I'm not sure I could pull it off to my own satisfaction. And, if I'm not satisfied with my own work----you'll never see it here.

Rule Number 19: Good photographers never show anything but their best work. They take the rest to the grave with them.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Actually, I've watched Mitch do a number of these, and I've never seen him use a tripod. They're pretty much all hand-held. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen Mitch use a tripod outdoors at all, except at night.
Well, there you have it! I could never pull off a 1/6th second shot handheld, let alone a 2 second one. My hands shake like aspen leaves in a fall wind! Thank God for image stabilization!
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Flanary View Post
It really wasn't an appealing example of a zoom-pan. Sorry--just being honest.

Samuel Phillips' shots are mostly pace shots. His father drives the car and he does the photography.

My own shots with movement are almost all pan shots, taken while I'm standing stock still. I've never tried a zoom pan. Mitch is the best I've seen at it---but I'm not sure I could pull it off to my own satisfaction. And, if I'm not satisfied with my own work----you'll never see it here.

Rule Number 19: Good photographers never show anything but their best work. They take the rest to the grave with them.
Re: Rule Number 19. I guess I will never be a good photographer since I would have no problem sharing what I did to get a certain shot. A lot of factors besides the technique have to fall in place to get a nice zoom-pan.

I wasn't all gaga about the shot either. I would have rather done a landscape but then I would have got a lot of the photo line. I was happy with the sharpness of the nose. Would have rather seen a bad crop rejection than either of the two I recieved.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:28 PM   #14
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I stink at any attempt to pan or zoom pan, as I told you at the charter. I do know that faster trains make for a more likely success. A trip to the NEC may be in order for some practice.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:23 AM   #15
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I wasn't all gaga about the shot either. I would have rather done a landscape but then I would have got a lot of the photo line.
Done right with a certain amount of luck, a pan shot with a photo line can be really cool.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:11 AM   #16
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Done right with a certain amount of luck, a pan shot with a photo line can be really cool.
I thought so:

Image © Mitch Goldman
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Image © Mitch Goldman
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:48 AM   #17
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Re: Rule Number 19. I guess I will never be a good photographer since I would have no problem sharing what I did to get a certain shot. A lot of factors besides the technique have to fall in place to get a nice zoom-pan..
True. But---a photographer should self-edit. Unless I honestly think a shot I've taken is good, I will not share it with another soul. If you have to debate the merits of a shot, or explain why you think it's good, perhaps you shouldn't have revealed it to others in the first place. I know---because I've made that mistake (and probably will again). A rejection from RP.net does not mean your shot isn't good. It merely means RP.net rejected it. You can place as much value in that as you wish.

Of course there's always the point that one doesn't improve unless he/she shares certain shots to get advice from others. I suppose that's okay---but I tend not to do it. And, I'm not claiming to be a "good photographer"--that's just what I do.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:56 AM   #18
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Confucius says; "He who takes nothing but zoom pans has little to show".

Carl, I think you read Ron wrong.

Read Ron wrong
Read Ron wrong
Read Ron wrong...

Say that three times fast, lol.

Ron said - as far as rule #19 was concerned, that a photographer does not share his less then perfect PHOTOS, not that one should not share his technique in getting a good shot once attained.

Rule #20 says - he who has achieved greatness should share his technique and then move on to the next great shot.

As for your birthday wish - well, I've posted this in the past:
http://forums.railpictures.net/showthread.php?t=3577

As for zoom pans - well, that's a little harder to teach as I am still trying to figure it out with some consistency.

First, find a subject in a location that has blurability. You can't blur a train in a on a sunny day after a snow fall. There should be sideground? to blur but, like pans and paces, avoid areas with obstructions that stand apart from the rest - you want a nice blur field, not an odd streak or set of streaks.

Next - set your camera to an appropriate shutter speed to get the blur. Like a pan, you can zoom pan a subject moving at any speed and any direction. Since few if any camera companies make cameras with an ISO of 50 or less, go out and get a neutral density filter which will basically make the scene dark enough to use normal shutter /aperture settings. Alternately, if your camera can be set upwards of f28 and higher, that's an option but as I understand, not the best for sharpness - believe it or not.

Next - zoom in or out as the subject comes closer (or further). A high speed shutter is handy as it's unlikely you'll get it in 1 try. Increase your odds.

I think twist lenses are more stable then push-pull.

The greatest effect is often when the train is closest to you. Or, at least, when it fills the frame.

Like pans and paces - don't go for "the shot", rather, hope you get the shot within a series. The start and stop motion will hamper your effort. It's
all about momentum. Shoot early and keep shooting. Twist the lens (or push /pull) and keep doing so even after you think you've got the shot.

Now - I am still trying to figure out the following in regards to consistency:

Image stabilization - yes, or no? I've had luck (and no luck) each way.

AI focus on 1-spot - again, luck both methods. I am inclined to thing AI focus - ie; focus tracking.

Where do you stand? This one's got me. I like to think 3/4 as close to head on as possible yet I have had luck 3/4 and away from head on - my guess there, I panned a zoom pan - zoomed out as I panned left to right. Not for those faint at heart!

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Good luck - and recall what the wise man above stated.


/Mitch

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Old 03-27-2013, 05:09 AM   #19
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"Blurability." That's absolutely priceless, Mitch! It not only applies to a zoom-pan, but also a pan shot, or a pace shot.

I recently posted a pan shot of an NS SD roaring through a cut...and by a slide fence. The wires are a bit distracting, but the location had a high level of "blurability." ")

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As I understand it, that's what you mean.

Thanks as well for the guidance on how you pull off your excellent zoom-pan shots. I may give it a try myself (if I find the right subject and location).
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
Confucius says; "He who takes nothing but zoom pans has little to show".

Carl, I think you read Ron wrong.

Read Ron wrong
Read Ron wrong
Read Ron wrong...

Say that three times fast, lol.
The sound of that kind of reminds me a little of this, especially if you use the proper voice...

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Old 03-27-2013, 01:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman View Post
Confucius says; "He who takes nothing but zoom pans has little to show".

Carl, I think you read Ron wrong.

Read Ron wrong
Read Ron wrong
Read Ron wrong...

Say that three times fast, lol.

/Mitch
Yea, I guess I did now that I re-read it three times. Thanks Mitch. Good tips like these get buried in the posts. As far as zoom in or out have you found it better to zoom out since that would tend to keep the front of the engine the same size as it comes towards you?

Maybe another category for tips should be created in the forums.

Here's one to say fast:

Three smart fellows they felt smart.
Three smart fellows they felt smart.
Three smart fellows they felt smart.

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Old 03-27-2013, 04:45 PM   #22
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Zoom in as the train gets further and further away or zoom out as train gets closer and closer. I was stating that you can zoom pan (and pan) a train in both directions, though for steam, you lose the "magic" when the plume is ahead of the engine. Doesn't help when you zoom a going away shot of a diesel with it's headlight off and red markers on.

/Mitch
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