panning photography at ice weasels comets cyclocross

Panning Photography with an Injured Hand

ice weasels cometh

Panning Photography with an Injured Hand

Ice Weasels Cometh, Photographing Cyclocross with One Hand.

hand surgery On 11/11/21, I underwent basal reconstruction thumb surgery on my left hand, which has rendered my photography business temporarily closed until I can support and operate my camera/lens with my left hand. Fortunately, I am right-hand dominant! I am currently wearing a brace and will do so for another month with hand therapy not set to commence for another 10-days.

I am a big cyclocross fan, and my friends were competing in Ice Weasels Cometh, so I went along as a spectator. I had ruled out taking a camera, but I experimented with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on my elbow the night before the race; this seemed feasible.

I only intended to take shots of my friends and a few others to set up my camera for each location. See the gallery below.

Rule #1 was to protect my hand.

I could not change my lens’s focal length with my hand, so I set it to 200mm and left it there!

My elbow, it transpires, is a very stable platform. Towards the end of the day, I opted to challenge myself to take a panning shot using my elbow as platform. Hand-panning is my favorite technique for sports photography, and with 40+ years of experience, I am pretty comfortable using this technique. Still, could I do it using my elbow.

My first couple of attempts were not fluid, and fluid movement is the key to panning. The objective is to pick up a bike 40 yards away and then track it by swinging the camera in a ‘panning’ motion. A perfect shot is when the camera and the bike are in perfect synchronization. Everything in synchronization will be in focus, and everything else will have a motion blur.

This shot is as good as I would have expected with two hands, never mind one hand and elbow.