We had some comments and questions about this Christmas lights photo I made last night at the American Rose Center.
Its a pretty simple technique that requires an SLR camera with a wide angle zoom lens and a flash. You need to set your camera in manual mode to shoot a long exposure like a 1/3 of a second or more and have a flash attached. Then hit the shutter button and zoom smoothly during the long exposure. The change in the zoom causes the lights to streak across the photo while the flash "freezes" the unlit subjects. Because the lights are so bright they continue to show up in the photo during the zoom. You can zoom in or out, twist the camera in a circle or just wiggle it around during the exposure for different effects.
Here is another example shot in a bar in Downtown Baton Rouge.
For a solid crisp exposure for our paper I set the camera on the ground to keep the streaks perfectly straight. You just have to experiment with the light and see what you can come up with.