Beautiful Firework Photographs Captured Using Clever Camera Techniques

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Firework photographs are generally pretty uniform in their appearance: a dark sky, glowing sparks that are either points or lines depending on exposure time, and perhaps some views of the surrounding area. When photographing a major fireworks show last week, photographer Rob Shaw of BackFromLeave Photo wanted to do something different. He played around with various camera techniques and captured a set of firework images that is quite different than most of the images you’ll see online.

The photograph above was captured by rotating the camera around the lens axis (i.e. spinning the camera around while keeping the lens pointed at the sky) while zooming. Shaw rotated his camera while his 70-200mm lens was resting inside its tripod-mounting collar.

Here are some of the other shots captured using camera movements:

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The show Shaw was attending was the Yokohama Fireworks Festival 2013, officially called the 28th Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival 2013, in Yokohama, Japan. 15,000 fireworks lit up the night sky of the port city over 1.5 hours.

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Shaw writes that he loved the long length of the show: “[It] meant that I could play around with different lenses, exposures, as well as some combinations of creative focusing, zooming, and spinning.” He also tells us that he was inspired by a number of articles we’ve shared in the past about photographing fireworks.

Here are some out-of-focus shows Shaw made:

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Throw in some zooming during the exposure, and you get an even cooler look:

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Finally, a shot with a super long cumulative exposure time:

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You can find more of these photos in larger sizes on Shaw’s Facebook and SmugMug.

Image credits: Photographs by Rob Shaw and used with permission

  • Patrick Magee
  • Matthew Wagg

    They’re gorgeous

  • Bossi

    Love these! Are a few of those blackcard?

  • Christian DeBaun

    Great work!

  • Rob Shaw

    Thanks and yes – but it was shaped more like a hat that found its way into my bag because I forgot to bring a black card.

  • Daniel Thomassin

    Bonjour;Merci beaucoup pour votre post .Moi je n’est jamais réussi de belle photo de feu d’artifice soit elles sons flou ou carrément raté mes le 15 août je ferais une autre série . J’espère y arriver à un bon résultat.Bonne journée à tous

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  • rainbow explosions

    awesome. this is something i was doing back in 2009. fun technique to play with