TahoeSunsets PRO 10:58am, 19 July 2006
Over on the Showcase 2006 thread, tanakawho pointed towards hirobamboo photostream with some incredible photos. Here's a sample:

The technique appears to be a gradual change in focus while the image is being taken. Personally, I like it. Unfortunately, I can't duplicate it. The first time I saw this technique was just before the Fourth. I then discovered a new limitation of my camera: A funky electronic manual focus that doesn't operate while the image is being exposed. Bummer.

I'm not sure why I started a new thread, but I do think this method of shooting fireworks, deserves some attention. Your ideas, comments or secrets would be interesting.
mortimer? 10 years ago
Wow! It's too late for me to try that, but next fireworks I find, I'll try it. It looks so cool.

Thank you for the thread :D
jimmy~ 10 years ago
some images like those were featured in japanese magazines. tried to duplicate them also, but not quite... =(

(raw image, some contrast manipulation can make the background darker)


tanakawho PRO 10 years ago
This is the URL of the photographer I referred on the Showcase 2006 thread.

If you are interested in it, please take a look.
bovinemagnet PRO 10 years ago
Hey people, do you think this technique is also a zoom and not just a blur/focus. 10 years ago
No, it doesn't look like zoom is a factor, however the size/shape of your aperture diaphragm will play a big part in what each point of light will look like blurred. Whats worse, in the original shots posted it looks like they went from a blurred state to an acceptably sharp focus. That tells me that they're using a small aperture for the creamy bokeh and large depth of field. I can only bet fireworks would look funky the other way around (sharp, and then blurred as they burn out).
petecarr 10 years ago
Wow fantastic. Great take on the classic firework. Gotta try that.
Jackie S 10 years ago
Very interesting! They look great!
Glow* 10 years ago
very interesting, I'll try to do that on july 14th !
shoebappa Posted 9 years ago. Edited by shoebappa (member) 9 years ago
This is interesting, I just shot some fireworks last night and wished I'd seen this first! I think jmphotography is right about the focus and aperture. It seems like a sharp focus would be at infinity, so perhaps if you just had the focus all the way out so on something close and then brought it in to near infinity it would accomplish this. Also some of those shots have a jittery look so maybe they did it in short bursts. But I've also noticed my camera doesn't really do motion at night continuosly so it almost has a jittery look rather than a smooth blur, so it may have been a smooth mothion and the camera just caused the non-smooth look of the zoom. Definately cool.
beth.armsheimer 9 years ago
very cool, i love it!
My attempt at the hirobamboo method. I also have several other on my stream. Love this way to shoot fireworks

Sea Anemone
SoulJah PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by SoulJah (member) 9 years ago
I've got some in my stream. I will update later with some choice morsels.



Red Durian?

airbiscuit 9 years ago
And this is mine.

Fireworks @ HMs 61st Birthday - 15/07/07 - 15
ndnboy321 9 years ago
is this a good blur?
laungmai 9 years ago
This technique is not only limited to fireworks. Some pyro poi. It produces some interesting results.

Blurring the lines
Randall Cottrell 9 years ago
so the picture starts out of focus? then focuses as the firework goes? how can you tell if you get it in focus at the end of the picture?
Allyeska PRO 9 years ago
oh my god this is incredible!!!

i only took my first ever fire work photos the other night but we shoudl have some more on australia day coming up soon - i have to try this technique!!!

soulja - so on your fabulous ones u started it out of focus and then made it come more into focus right?

it looks so tricky. but i cant believe how awesome they are!!!
SoulJah PRO 9 years ago
Allyeska, I posted an answer on my pic but here it is:

"Yep, I eye the point where the firework would be in focus by looking at the distance markings on the lens, as it would not always be at infinity for perfect focus. Then I just put it on manual, focus close first, then turn towards your initial mark.

Experimentation on this theme includes the point when you start opening the shutter, the length of time you open the shutter, the point of time when you want to start turning during the firework exploding, how fast you are turning the focusing ring, etc."
Allyeska PRO 9 years ago
thanks so much!!! :)
Allyeska PRO 9 years ago
ok - well i finally got to try out the technique last night! but am dissapointed. i guess practice makes perfect - its the only way u learn. i wasnt really ready when they started so i had my camera on shutter priotiy rather than fully manual. i didnt know what i was doing with the focus ring - i didnt mark the lens etc and had no way of knowing when it was in focus etc - darn i wish i had live view on my camera!!!

i took all the shots at a shutter speed of 1 second. i played around with starting with the shot infocus and bluring out. and starting out of focus and bluring in (but had no way of knowing when i got it back in focus). some of my shots go in and then out again. i would love to try this again. i liked the ones with out national capital's landmarks but unfrotunately the next lot of fire works wont be held over the buildings...

anyways will post a few over the enxt few days but heres my fave one...

Aust Day fire works - focus blur yay!
Over-Pass [deleted] 9 years ago
so how do you do this? ... sorry if im repeating a question ... is it whlist your taking a long exposure you slowly change the focus ring on your lense?
Allyeska PRO 9 years ago
over pass - yup thats right... read through this thread and you will find some very useful information. especially from souljah right above my post

Aust Day - fireworks
Allyeska PRO 9 years ago
ps - for REALLY funky focus blur, does anyone have a lens baby? i'd love to borrow a lens baby and try some focus blur with a star shaped apperture. then the focus blurred bits wouldnt be round/heaxagonal, theyd appear as stars!

someone has to try this!!! its half tempting to buy a lens baby just to try it out on fireworks!
Carol.C 8 years ago
I was so happpy to stumble onto this technique. I finally had a chance to try it out last night. Unfortunaly I did not get to try it out as much as I would hope, it gives me sometihng to look forward to for the next set of fireworks!

AbstractAngles 8 years ago
Not tried this with fireworks et - will have to wait for a festival :)

Though I had tried this with an LED at home -- stumbled on this technique while I moved my camera during a long exposure shot !

Carol.C 8 years ago
Try mounting your camera on a tripod, zoom in on the LEDs, then as you start shooting zoom out. It can give a similar effect. Also you can try moving the camera side to side during the exposure to distort the straight lines
SoulJah PRO 8 years ago
New ones! Yay!

_DSC3169 (by SoulJah)
h orihashi Posted 8 years ago. Edited by h orihashi (member) 8 years ago

@tahoesunset: do you have a 4/3 camera? If for instance you have an old OM lens+adapter you can try with that lens... It's all manual :)
Unluckily with the focus ring we cannot change the focus, that's a real pity... I'm wondering if they could change the firmware to do so...
Poole-shooter Cindi 8 years ago
I tried this for the first time tonight at a festival in Badin, NC. I had a couple that turned out ok, but I would love to practice more.

Badin fest- focal pull

Badin fest- focal pull 2
Poole-shooter Austin Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Poole-shooter Austin (member) 8 years ago
I tried this for the first time as well in Badin, NC during the best of Badin Festival. I had two that I like but this one I think turned out nicely for my first try.

morten almqvist Posted 8 years ago. Edited by morten almqvist (member) 8 years ago
This technique is really cool! This is with an old m42 lens on my digital camera.
Ignis Brunensis

Night flower
Allyeska PRO 8 years ago
Just letting you all know, that this thread started my obsession with this technique...

so much so I have started a group dedicated to this technique, and sharing ideas and ways of doing it! and not just with fireworks :)

christmas lights
xmas 08: focus blur fun

xmas 08: focus blur fun

christmas focus blur
koinis 8 years ago
I would like to thank this thread too, got some great result this year thanks to it!

Explosions In The Sky

Big Bang

Allyeska: Great initiative with the group, I'm your newest member :D
Andrew Curtis PRO 7 years ago
This is great, I practiced a little last night:

Patriotic Flower
dmguz 7 years ago
Thanks for this thread!.....I love the technique and tried it out for the first time myself this year......

Intentionally Blurry Fireworks
Andrew Curtis PRO 7 years ago
I'm gonna have a hard time ever taking normal fireworks shots after learning this technique:
SoulJah PRO 7 years ago
Haha good to see 4th of July was fully taken advantage of! Great stuff guys!
dmguz 6 years ago
I did much better on my 2nd attempt at this.....thanks to everyone here for introducing me to this method....

Focus Blur Technique
James C Sheng 6 years ago
I don't think I can take normal fire work pictures again. LOL
The store bought Fountains had a different effect while adjusting focus compared to the large fireworks. Next year I need to improve on my framing.


Large Fireworks
Schlaich PRO 6 years ago
This is my first attempt with this technique, I was surprised by some of the results. I look forward to trying it again.


Chad Holt 6 years ago
_MG_3667 by Chad Holt
CresySusy 6 years ago
Happy New Year6
mistymisschristie 5 years ago
WOW!....what more can be said of this technique!
Schlaich PRO 5 years ago
These are some of my attempts this year. I was surprised to see how different they look from each other, some looked like watercolors but not others. I still have to play around with how much I blur the shots not sure what looks better a subtile or extreme blur effect.





Abstract Explosion by Nick Benson Photography

Purple Pheasant by Nick Benson Photography

[] 5 years ago
That's amazing! I gonna try it next weekend!!! 5 years ago
As promissed...

Fireflowers by

Fireflowers by

Borning star by

thank you guys for sharing this!
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