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beautiful photos of fireworks, using long exposure
August 28, 2012 4:18 PM   Subscribe

While attending the International Fireworks Show in Ottawa, Canada earlier this month photographer David Johnson had his camera in hand to document the night. When Spain’s entry into the competition begin he decided to try something a little different resulting in the photos you see here which are unlike any long exposure firework shots I’ve ever seen.
posted by nickyskye (34 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice, clever.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:20 PM on August 28, 2012


Cool. Like flowers.
posted by yoga at 4:22 PM on August 28, 2012


Lovely.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I looked at those and instantly thought "that's phony photoshop bullshit." Then I read further about his technique, and said "that makes perfect sense."

I'm an asshole, and this guy had a great idea that he executed perfectly.
posted by gjc at 4:23 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


But ... that's just what they look like.
posted by wobh at 4:26 PM on August 28, 2012


They look like cactus flowers.
posted by Cranberry at 4:27 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The third green one, looks like he did it in reverse -- started out focussed, then unfocussed during the exposure.

Neat trick. Surprised it hadn't already been hit upon previously.
posted by smcameron at 4:29 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's really cool-looking.
posted by Night_owl at 4:30 PM on August 28, 2012


Wow, that's cool. I too am surprised that this hadn't already been done. People have figured out almost every thing there is to do with a camera, but this appears to be a new trick. Nice.
posted by Scientist at 4:33 PM on August 28, 2012


Very cool! It does seem strange no one has thought of this before, it's so simple and the results are very impressive.
posted by smartypantz at 4:35 PM on August 28, 2012


IA, DAOLOTH!!
posted by hermitosis at 4:37 PM on August 28, 2012


These fireworks aren't in Ottawa, dammit! THE FUCKING RIVER YOU CROSSED?! ON THE INTERPROVINCIAL BRIDGE!? IT BROUGHT YOU TO HULL, QUÉBEC, YOU GEOGRAPHICALLY-CHALLENGED PERSON. /hyperventilation/refusaltorecognizethestupidnamechangetogatineau.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:41 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow. Those are great.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:51 PM on August 28, 2012


My thoughts when I saw this post:
1) Oh boy, another blah overwrought photography post. Ehh, what the hell, I'll click on it.
2) Whoa how the hell did he do that??
3) (read the explanation) Dang, I wish I'd thought of that.
4) set a reminder in my calendar to try this next July 4th.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:01 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wonder if he was doing this with autofocus or manual.
posted by klangklangston at 5:03 PM on August 28, 2012


Mine too, though 1) also contained the phrase "how good could it be really? and 2) the word "woah".
posted by dabitch at 5:04 PM on August 28, 2012


I used to do this when doing astrophotography - if you're taking a long exposure of the stars, change the focus slightly during the exposure. It makes the stars blurrier, but it brings out the different colours.
posted by Jimbob at 5:17 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Immediately knew how he did it, wish I'd thought of it first, 30% chance you'll see this effect everywhere in a year. Still frickin' neat.
posted by chrominance at 5:22 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


those are beautiful!
posted by tarantula at 6:46 PM on August 28, 2012


Very nice! Thanks for posting.
posted by math at 7:58 PM on August 28, 2012


They look like something under an electron microscope. So cool. Thanks!
posted by rtha at 8:07 PM on August 28, 2012


I wonder if he was doing this with autofocus or manual.
posted by klangklangston at 5:03 PM on August 28 [+] [!]


Block-quoted in the article...

The technique I used was a simple refocus during the long exposure. Each shot was about a second long, sometimes two. I’d start out of focus, and when I heard the explosion I would quickly refocus, so the little stems on these deep sea creature lookalikes would grow into a fine point. The shapes are quite bizarre, some of them I was pleasantly surprised with.

Thanks, Nicky. You always deliver.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:52 PM on August 28, 2012


Oh yay. It's a nail biter posting anything about photography or art here on the blue. Pleased you're pleased.
posted by nickyskye at 9:44 PM on August 28, 2012


This is awesome. A brilliant idea that I'm surprised no one has tried before. I'm definitely forwarding this to my photo nut relatives.
posted by chemoboy at 11:59 PM on August 28, 2012


This was all they seemed to do when zoom lenses first came out, nice to see a seemingly long-forgotten technique rediscovered.
posted by epo at 3:18 AM on August 29, 2012


Don't worry nickyskye, for each person that clicks and grars, there are five that think it's awesome, but don't bother commenting.
posted by empatterson at 4:23 AM on August 29, 2012


This was all they seemed to do when zoom lenses first came out, nice to see a seemingly long-forgotten technique rediscovered.

This is a change in focal point, not focal length (aka zoom). Not the same thing. You can do this with a prime lens, you don't need a zoom.
posted by kcds at 4:59 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gorgeous.
posted by OmieWise at 5:03 AM on August 29, 2012


This is a change in focal point, not focal length (aka zoom). Not the same thing. You can do this with a prime lens, you don't need a zoom. I realised that soon after posting, sigh!
posted by epo at 5:51 AM on August 29, 2012


30% chance you'll see this effect everywhere in a year Ahem!, and I wasn't even looking.
posted by epo at 6:46 AM on August 29, 2012


Looks like we credit hirobamboo with the technique.
posted by epo at 7:21 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is really cool; I'm glad he shared his technique with everyone. I wonder if he adjusted his exposure any.

I used to do this when doing astrophotography - if you're taking a long exposure of the stars, change the focus slightly during the exposure. It makes the stars blurrier, but it brings out the different colours.

One of my first thoughts was how well the colors stand out.
posted by TedW at 7:52 AM on August 29, 2012


Very creative and beautiful.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by caddis at 11:28 AM on August 29, 2012


This is also what fireworks look like when you're on shrooms.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 4:57 PM on August 29, 2012


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