Photo101Rehab hosts Available Light: Zoom on Light Effects

Last month, I introduced you to some basics of available light photography and invited you to play with your camera settings. This month, I’ll want to go a bit more experimental. Come to the dark side where you can play with colorful light effects.

Nikon D7000,F/32, 4sec, ISO100
Nikon D7000,F/32, 4sec, ISO100

Usually, when taking pictures with a tripod or holding our breath to enable a hand-held picture in the dark, we try to avoid any kind of camera shake. In this post, I’ll show you some pictures, where I used movement on purpose to create some funny light effects.

How was it done? Fairly simple, I put my camera on a tripod, set the exposure time to 4 seconds, released the shutter, counted 1-2, quickly turned the zoom ring and waited for the remaining seconds to pass. That’s the result:

Nikon D7000, F/32, 4 sec, ISO 100
Nikon D7000, F/32, 4 sec, ISO 100

I zoomed on the famous Viennese Giant Wheel in the Prater amusement park. Amusement parks or locations with plenty of colorful lights are ideal places to play around with these kind of effects.

Nikon D7000, F/25, 6sec, ISO 100
Nikon D7000, F/25, 6sec, ISO 100

A few steps further, I took pictures of the carousel. Here, I split my 6 seconds exposure time into 3 2-seconds parts and zoomed three times. When you try it out the first time, give yourself some pictures time for practising. You need to get a feeling for how much to zoom. Additionally, the shorter the total exposure time is, the faster you need to act.

Another easy way of adding light effects, is taking pictures of streets by night. The cars passing by make everything for you. Setting up the tripod or putting the camera on some street barrier or railing close to traffic lights even makes the timing as simple as possible. Whenever the traffic lights turn green, it’s your turn to release the shutter.

Nikon D7000, F/16, 2.5sec, ISO 100
Nikon D7000, F/16, 2.5sec, ISO 100

Light effects can easily add some spice to your pictures – you only need to use them. It’s like cooking, add some flavor to your pics and try out new combinations. Zoom, spin or turn your camera or phone as creative as you like.

Nikon D7000, F/25, 10sec, ISO 100
Nikon D7000, F/25, 10sec, ISO 100

Photography literally means “painting with light” – thus, use your “light-pencil” for drawing on your pictures.The good thing about experimental and artistic photography is that you can always tell that it was done on purpose!

Nikon D7000, F/9, 30sec, ISO 100
Nikon D7000, F/9, 30sec, ISO 100

If you like to join, link your post at Photo101Rehab or create a pingback and tag it with #availablelightrehab. I will add a wrap up with your entries at the end of the following topic. Next month, I’ll focus on “Cities by night”.

Here is the link to last month’s post: Available light – start playing. In this first post, I summarized some basics and invited you all to start playing with challenging light conditions.



Lucile initiated the Photo101Rehab after the Photo101 Course in December 2014 for all photo enthusiasts to stay connected and to learn from each other. Meanwhile, it became a constant feature that continuously grows: Perelincolors is presenting Tech of the Month, Desleyjane from Musings of a frequent flying scientist is featuring the monthly Image Reboot. It’s a great pleasure for me (angleandviews) to join them in featuring this monthly series about Available Light. Each month, I will focus on one application or method of available light photography in detail. In all pictures, you will find the chosen camera settings in the caption.

29 thoughts on “Photo101Rehab hosts Available Light: Zoom on Light Effects

  1. These are amazing, I am actually taking a photographer course right now focusing on motion and depth of field. these are so so very cool. I will try this one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These photos are amazing and you proved that photography is like painting with light. But…just like in life, not everyone is a painter. You are.
    I am enjoying this series so much, as I am learning a lot.
    How did you make the last two photos? The last one is an impressive photo.
    I hadn’t yet attempted to experiment with it, but yesterday I went out for my first trial. Super funny to bring a tripod inside a boat around the canals in Amsterdam. I was panning myself….
    Anyways, I made loads of photos to experiment and will continue making more, not from a moving boat, and in due course I will share them with you.
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much! the last one was done with 5x zooming an waiting for 2-3 seconds at every zooming step. the other one, is zooming once, here the moving cars made the rest 🙂
      A tripod on a boat sounds like fun 🙂 the moving boat makes it tricky, but this could have some cool effects when the water is reflecting the lights as well.
      I will be in Las Vegas in a few weeks. There, I will have lots of blinking lights to play around again.


      1. Wow it sounds very elaborate process and one that only you could do! Chapeau!
        The tripod on the boat was a silly idea, of course, because Durk never stopped to move along the canals!!
        It felt like painting with light, just as you said! If they are good photos, that’s doubtful.
        I’m so looking forward to seeing your photos in Las Vegas! You’ll have a lot to shoot!
        Thanks for replying and the explanation.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post!! I do not think I’ve ever tried zooming in the dark like this. Now, it’s on my list of things to do! Thanks again for sharing…I love the first three the most!!

    Liked by 1 person

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