This is a technique I learned years ago in photography school and have been having fun with lately. Hope you have as much fun playing with it as I do!
Zooming during a long exposure tips
- Works well on night scenes and ones with many light sources
- Set up your camera on a tripod with a remote trigger or release
- Set your camera to Manual mode
- Set your focus by zooming in all the way, then lock the focus (using either back button focus or focus using Auto-focus and then switch it off to Manual focus)
- Zoom out so you can see the whole image as you want it framed
- Then start your exposure and zoom your lens out while the shutter is opened (you may need to practice a few times to make it go smoothly)
- Experiment with different zooming speeds and timing, as example: if you exposure is 5 seconds do one with 3-4 seconds at the beginning, then zoom at the end; then do another when you zoom immediately and do most of the exposure at the end
- Exposure must be 2 seconds or longer to make this work, otherwise it becomes really tricky to zoom
- If it is too bright to get a 2 second exposure, make sure your ISO is as low as your camera goes and your aperture is set to your smallest setting (f/22 or f/32). If it is still too bright you may need to use a Neutral density filter to cut down the amount of light coming through the lens
Here are a few examples done using this technique.
I encourage you to experiment and play around with technique and other similar variations. Share your images in the comments below and if you have other tips please tell us!