Image by Peter Bargh
You can improve your chances of getting a sharp shot if you can master the techniques of panning. No matter what your subject is, whether a fast motor car, galloping horse or a pet running around a field, knowing how to pan effectively can give you a much sharper shot.
A tripod is not an essential part of kit for panning, but the use of one can result in a smoother panning motion. If you're going to be panning in a crowded ares, it's worth considering the use of a monopod for that bit of extra support.
The idea of panning is to follow the subject as it passes in front of you, continuing to follow it as you press the shutter and even after the shot is taken. Panning at the same speed of the subject will result in a sharp object with a blurred,streaky background; the desired look for most people that use panning.
To ensure a smooth result, keep your feet still and rotate only the top half of your body as you pan. It might help, if possible, to prefocus the camera on a spot where you know your subject will pass. Other things to check are the background - make sure it's not too light and doesn't have obvious shapes which could create ghost-like effects or streaks of a different colour on the background.
A darker background will work better, and try to press the shutter at the mid point in your panning to ensure the subject is in the best position. Try to follow without moving up or down to prevent subject blur.
A slower shutter speed should be used, to give your subject some movement blur, for example in the legs or wheels, to give a sense of speed, like the image above. Putting the camera on shutter speed priority will help. Following the subject with a slower shutter speed will often yield better panning results than stopping the subject in its tracks with a faster shutter speed.
The best way to perfect this is to take several test shots of your subject, adjusting the shutter speed until you achieve pleasing results. The more you practise, the more you'll get used to roughly what shutter speeds will work for your chosen subjects.
To find out more about the range of Pentax cameras on offer, take a look at the Ricoh website.