How to Get Flowers Out of Fireworks: A Nighttime Photography Technique

18

What is a photographer to do at a Firework Show? What about finding new ways to use his camera, and take beautiful and unexpected images of flowers in the night sky. Find out how photographer David Johnson did it.

Earlier this month I was browsing through some of the posts and articles from blogs I follow on a regular basis, many of them about photography, when I stumbled upon this picture:

All pictures can be found at the artists’ website.

And I must admit that all I wanted right then was a tripod and a night sky full of fireworks so that I could get pictures like these myself.

The results are wonderful, organic shapes, full of volume and bursting with bright colours. They easily remind us of shapes we can find in nature such as flowers (as I have mentioned), sea creatures, or macro images of bugs, fungus or viruses.

I once actually took a photograph of a firework, but it looked nothing like these, as you can see for yourself below, so I was very intrigued about the process David used in his pictures.

My own not so wonderful picture featuring fireworks.

At first I thought it was merely a long exposure, but that didn’t explain some of the gorgeous blurriness in some parts of the picture. I then proceeded to read the full article and did a bit of research and found out how the photographer went about the process of taking these pictures.

What you absolutely need to photograph like this:

  • Tripod;
  • Camera with bulb/ B mode;
  • Focusing Lens.

In here David Johnson explains what you have to do:

“The way I captured the photos was actually pretty simple… it just required good timing. Having the camera in Bulb mode (exposure is as long as I hold down the shutter) was key. I put the camera out of focus and would start an exposure when I could see the fireworks going up. Once they exploded, I quickly refocused the camera. This created an effect of blobbed/out of focus light that slowly converges into fine points. Makes a regular explosion look like a deep sea creature!”

That pretty much sums it up. So, what’s left to do? How about finding out where the next fireworks are going to be and rush there, camera in hand, in time for the show?

The blog/website where I found the original article was Colossal, which I also follow on Facebook. It’s a very well maintained site with gorgeous, artistic content that I advise anybody that has an interest in art in general to follow.

written by blablabla-anab on 2012-09-21 in #gear #tipster #tipster #david-johnson #fireworks #bulb #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #nighttime-photography-technique #out-of-focus #long-exposures #select-type-of-tipster #flowers #b-mode #art

18 Comments

  1. quenita
    quenita ·

    I must try this!!! thanks!!!

  2. blablabla-anab
    blablabla-anab ·

    @quenita you're welcome :) Yeah, I must try it as well!! :)

  3. stouf
    stouf ·

    Ho yeah ! This is insane!!!

  4. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I know it and I tried to replay the effect last week but with no results! :( now I must wait until the next year to try it again!

  5. ghostcopy
    ghostcopy ·

    truly inspiring, thanks

  6. hailkingstewie
    hailkingstewie ·

    amazing stuff!

  7. basch75
    basch75 ·

    awesome!

  8. stea
    stea ·

    brilliant!

  9. mmoya
    mmoya ·

    interesting!

  10. mrmaart
    mrmaart ·

    great!

  11. littlemisslove
    littlemisslove ·

    ooh gorgeous! will try this at bonfire night

  12. kristen322
    kristen322 ·

    Beautiful!

  13. soundfoodaround
    soundfoodaround ·

    nice!

  14. zonderbar
    zonderbar ·

    oh wow!

  15. carmengraphy
    carmengraphy ·

    preciosa!! love the effects!

  16. rinchy
    rinchy ·

    awesome!!!!!

  17. kokakoo
    kokakoo ·

    Nice!

  18. marille
    marille ·

    wow - now I can't wait until tomorrow! ... new year's eve yeah :D

More Interesting Articles

  • Photographer Michael Ciavolino Tells the Story Behind 'Boat Ride, Rye Beach' (1962)

    written by chooolss on 2014-06-27 in #lifestyle
    Photographer Michael Ciavolino Tells the Story Behind 'Boat Ride, Rye Beach' (1962)

    Photographs with sprocket holes exposed are practically a dime a dozen these days but, of course, this wasn't the case more than 50 years ago. However, former freelance photographer Michael Ciavolino was already able to create one of the earliest examples of this technique back in the early '60s in his groundbreaking photograph called "Boat Ride, Rye Beach." Find out the fascinating story behind this photo, as well as how and why he did it in this exclusive Lomography feature!

  • Lomography x The Victoria and Albert Museum Presents a HORST Rumble

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-10-03 in #competitions
    Lomography x The Victoria and Albert Museum Presents a HORST Rumble

    Horst P. Horst was a fashion photographer who became famous for his striking use of composition and lighting. His photographs depict sheer and timeless beauty. The Victoria and Albert Museum is celebrating Horst's work with a retrospective exhibition of photographs from his prolific career. Lomography has teamed up with the V&A to give YOU the chance to win amazing prizes including tickets to see the exhibition, a book of his photographs and a Diana F+ Colette. Read on to find out more.

  • Diego Uchitel's Timeless Polaroids

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-04-23 in #world #lifestyle
    Diego Uchitel's Timeless Polaroids

    Before smartphones and digital cameras, Diego Uchitel used a Polaroid to test his lighting. For many of his subjects, these dress rehearsal shots turned out as marvelous as the published pictures. David Bowie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gisele Bundchen and many other celebrities exposed their delicate side for Uchitel's magical lens even after the main show.

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Mini Neo & 10x Fuji Instax Mini Film

    Fuji Instax Mini Neo & 10x Fuji Instax Mini Film

    Save 20% on Fuji Instax Mini Film with this bundle and get 100 sheets for pure Instant fun! Plus, get to choose which Fuji Instax Mini Camera fits your personality!

  • Colorful Flower Ladies with Revolog Kolor and 460 nm films!

    written by blackfairy on 2014-06-18 in #reviews
    Colorful Flower Ladies with Revolog Kolor and 460 nm films!

    I was inspired by the work of Lara Kiosses and her photographs of women and flowers. I just thought they were so beautiful! What is the secret? She lovingly superimposes pictures of flowers and women to obtain surprising and dreamy images.

    1
  • LomoGuru of the Week: roman_sekatsky

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-12-21 in #lifestyle
    LomoGuru of the Week: roman_sekatsky

    Arguably, Roman Sekatsky has one of the most distinct photographic styles in our community. His extensive and experimental use of vivid colors often gives his snapshots an otherworldly vibe. Read on to find out what makes our latest LomoGuru tick and sample some of his finest work.

    10
  • How To Shoot Nature With The Petzval

    written by hembot on 2014-06-06 in #news
    How To Shoot Nature With The Petzval

    The Petzval lens captures beauty, emotion, drama and sentimentality effortlessly, that's part of what makes it a great portrait lens. Find out how to shoot the most powerful portrait of all, mother nature!

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Petzval Artist:Wedding Photographer Johnny Cheng

    written by e_ercolini on 2014-06-30 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist:Wedding Photographer Johnny Cheng

    Summer is in full swing and wedding season is moving in. And in keeping up with the season, Wedding Photographer Johnny Cheng invited his girlfriend to a spur-of-the-moment shoot using the his new Petzval Lens. With the Petzval, he managed a confluence of grassy meadows and the lens' swirly bokeh effect, resulting in soft-focused images to fall in love with. Read on to hear what this Georgia-based wedding photographer has to say about his Petzval experience.

  • Side Effects: Cocktail Red Passion

    written by simonesavo on 2014-07-16 in #gear #tipster
    Side Effects: Cocktail Red Passion

    This month, I'll be teaching you how to use different techniques to add effects to your photos. BE patient enough and follow these quick tips to find out how I manipulated my film to achieve reddish tones in my photos.

    17
  • Film Artist and Light Show Host Julian Hand

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-09-04 in #lifestyle
    Film Artist and Light Show Host Julian Hand

    Julian Hand is a film artist and visual projectionist for our latest LomoAmigos The Oscillation. He uses traditional analogue techniques to create swirling, trippy and beautifully tactile films and light shows. He uses Super 8 film, coloured inks, washing up liquid, soap and acetate to create these images and visuals. He embraces all things analogue! I brought an LC-A+, some 1600 ISO film and captured him at work.

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • Photo of the Day by mafiosa

    written by chooolss on 2014-07-22 in #news
    Photo of the Day by mafiosa

    Stay curious and go wild with trying out new things. Keep your audience intrigued by using unconventional techniques, just like what mafiosa did in our winning Photo of the Day!

    3
  • A Salute to the Masters: Sports Through A Plastic Lens (A Tribute to David Burnett)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-06-21 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Sports Through A Plastic Lens (A Tribute to David Burnett)

    The great American photographer David Burnett is famous for his unusual photos of sports competitions. He uses a tilt-shift lens to create miniature fakes, or a simple Holga camera to shoot in black and white. To write this tribute, I used my Holga to take some pictures of amateur sport activities around my city. Take a look after the jump.

  • Photo of the Day by velvetseahorse

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-20 in #news
    Photo of the Day by velvetseahorse

    Make the most out of a fairytale setting and create an exquisite double exposure of flowers and colors just like what velvetseahorse did in this surreal Photo of the Day!

    1