Usually when we take fast action photos, we need to increase the shutter speed a lot so that the pictures won't be blurry. It's called freezing the action. Now with cameras capable of shooting at 1/4000 sec or even higher speed, freezing the action isn't that hard as long as we have plenty of light. But what if we shoot in low light situations that prevent us from using very high shutter speed? And shouldn't we purposely allow some blurriness to better convey the sense of fast action? That's when sometimes the panning technique comes very handy. In short, it's a technique of panning the camera so that the picture frame moves along with the main object in action when triggering the shutter at a slower than normal speed. The effect is the sharp enough main object with a blurry background.
The following are a couple of pictures I took at the Dick Lane Velodrome last week. I used panning and shutter speeds of about 1/60 to create the blurry background. Even when the background were not interesting, the sharp upper body and blurry feet and paddles still conveyed a sense of fast action. They were shot during the night, and with panning I didn't use flash and kept the ISO to as low as 400 sometimes.
To view more samples, please go HERE.