Filé nocturne, Strasbourg, February 2014.
I can’t find the word in english, but in french it’s called a “filé” (is panning the right expression?). Technically it’s one of the most difficult and fun thing to shoot in full manual mode.
First, a focal length superior to 35mm will make it easier to you, because your shutter speed is supposed to stay below 1 divided by your focal lenght. E. g. if you have a 50mm mounted a shutterspeed of 1/30 or 1/24 will do. With a 35mm, 1/24, 1/15 etc. Lower speeds mean a greater effect but a harder shot, as it will be more difficult to freeze your subject.
When you have set you shutter speed, you can make your exposure, keeping in mind that the narrower the aperture, the easier the shot, thanks to the greater depth of field.
Then you have to zone focus when you see your subject approaching. Zone focus in front of you, because to maximize the filé effect you’re supposed to shoot when you subject passes right in front of you while you “pan” him. It means, with a Leica, you have to point your rangefinder patch on him, then follow him to keep him in the patch until you go “click”.
On this one, with a 1/24 speed and a large aperture - I was obliged to go for 1.4 because it was night and I didn’t want to go over iso 640. I couldn’t totally freeze the guy on his bicycle, because of this and because of the subject speed, but I still love the result.