How to take a zoom burst photograph

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Taking a zoom burst photograph is a simple technique, in fact, you can even do this handheld. The effect is achieved by changing the focal length of your camera lens during a long exposure. Follow the steps in creating a zoom burst photograph.

Zoom burst photograph

  1. Choose a scene that has mixed areas of light. You can use a forest with mottled light, or an apartment building where some lights are on and some are off.
  2. The exposure for your zoom burst photograph should be between half a second and 2 seconds long.
  3. You can take this photo handheld but it’s better to use a tripod.
  4. Change the focal length of the lens during the exposure. Zooming out tends to work better during the night for longer exposures, and zooming in works better during the day.

Zoom burst photograph

Where should I go to take a zoom burst photograph?

The best place to take this type of photograph is in a city, one that’s well lit, and has interesting architecture. A Ferris wheel is a great structure to use as it’s circular, which helps with the centered nature of the zoom burst. Other architecture can also work as long as it’s alone and not surrounded by other structures. A cityscape with many buildings can look too busy with too many light streaks in one frame.

You can even take zoom burst photos during the day, but you will need an ND filter to do this. An ND filter that allows you to shoot for 30 seconds will allow you to create a zoom burst using the steps listed above, though the zoom should last longer.

I look forward to seeing your photos using this zoom burst technique, please post any images you have in the comments section below. Your zoom burst photograph is an extension of your creativity.

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