Dynamic Focus Fireworks

I had read about this technique a few years back, and always wanted to try it. Canada Day brings with it a fireworks celebration on most urban waterfronts, and those celebrating Independence Day will likely have an opportunity to try this in a few days. Read on!

This technique involves changing the focus of the lens during the exposure. Through the 2 second exposure, I manually turn the focus ring which allows for the fireworks trails to fall out of focus and expand. Shifting the focus back and forth from in-focus to out-of-focus can create interesting patterns unseen by your eyes! It’s a fun trick that offers many random “happy accidents” and the exposures are really fun to review, almost like watching the entire fireworks display again from a different perspective.

Just be sure to grab a few frames with static focus, however! You’ll need to mask in the foreground from a separate image to keep the landscape details looking normal. This is two images combined – one for the fireworks and one for the landscape below. I adjusted the reflections to match the colours in the fireworks image so that everything blends together nicely.

Next time you’re out shooting fireworks, give this “dynamic focus” technique a try!

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