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


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 #long-exposures #select-type-of-tipster #david-johnson #art #out-of-focus #flowers #bulb #tipster #b-mode #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #fireworks #nighttime-photography-technique


  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 ·


  8. stea
    stea ·


  9. mmoya
    mmoya ·


  10. mrmaart
    mrmaart ·


  11. littlemisslove
    littlemisslove ·

    ooh gorgeous! will try this at bonfire night

  12. kristen322
    kristen322 ·


  13. soundfoodaround
    soundfoodaround ·


  14. zonderbar
    zonderbar ·

    oh wow!

  15. carmengraphy
    carmengraphy ·

    preciosa!! love the effects!

  16. rinchy
    rinchy ·


  17. kokakoo
    kokakoo ·


  18. marille
    marille ·

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

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