Week 8 - Zoom Bursts

This week's theme was technique based.  Zoom Bursts are where you take a long exposure shot with a zoom lens and then zoom out during that exposure to create light trails in your photo.  While you could do this with photoshop this is an in camera technique. I wasn't sure how to do this as I was sure there were details that I needed to know.  I went off to google and came across this writeup on how to do it.  I've gone to Digital Photography School before.  They're a great resource for self taught photographers like myself.  If I have a question on how to do something they generally have good clear write-ups on the subject.

To capture a good zoom burst photo you need to have a long exposure, say 25-30 seconds, and something that would look good with light trails.  Typically this is a building or cityscape at night. I thought about the usual spots to go take a long exposure of the City at Night.  I had already taken photos from Beacon Hill.


I wanted to go somewhere else last night.  I decided to go to Kerry Park.  It has a great view of Queen Anne and Downtown Seattle.  The only issue was that it's been SNOWING in Seattle.  This is not a common occurrence, normally it's mid-40's and drizzly. I was not looking forward to how cold it was going to be.  I bundle up and headed off after we finished the bedtime routine for The Boy.

I got to the park and selected my spot to shoot from. Fortunately the clouds were low last night and were reflecting back really lovely light from the City.  I tried various options for the shot.  I tried zoom faster and slower and zooming more and less.  I came down to two different options.

Both photos have their merits.  Option One is a bit more abstract and futuristic.  You get a better sense of the zooming light trails from the buildings.  Option Two though the buildings are sharper and the Space Needle is clearly the focus of the shot.  I wasn't sure which one to submit this week so I asked my excellent photo editor.

As you can see I went with Option Two.  We both liked how you could see the Space Needle better.

Now, I wasn't going to let a good opportunity to take a normal cityscape shot of the city pass me up.  So I took a couple of different shots at various focal lengths as well using traditional techniques.

The city at night during winter.

The one I liked the most I took using my 85mm lens.  I got this lens a couple of years ago from The Wife.  It's such a great lens.  I can't get over how sharp this photo is.  I don't use it that much since it's too long to use inside where I take a lot of photos of the boy and the dog.  I really need to find more reasons to take it out of the bag and use.

Next week's theme is "Forsaken."  Time to go look for some abandoned buildings.