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Photographic Special Effects with Christmas Lights

This video shows you how to take psychedelic abstract long exposure photographs of Christmas lights. You'll want to set your camera's shutter speed to to BULB mode and use your camera's pop-up flash (or external flash), then spin yourself around in front of your Christmas tree. It helps if all the lights are turned off in the room except for the Christmas tree lights.

Here are the six different tricks. There will be an image on top, and an description underneath each image.

long exposure spinning in a chair next to christmas tree lights

Spin either in a chair or while standing up. Try not to move your arm, hand, or head while doing this, because it will cause unwanted camera-shake. You can experiment moving your arm up and down or something if you want to, it just will give you a different effect.

psychedelic alien long exposure slow flash sync

Hold your camera by the lens out in front of your with your right hand, twist just like you did in the first trick, only this time take your left hand and move your camera so it zooms in and rotates at the same time. If you do this several times, you should eventually get a result where the lines will twirl around you, like you are in some type of TRON video game or something. And hey, Photoshopping your face using the Liquify tool to make you look like an alien never hurts.

Christmas Tree Lights with 6X Cross Filter

Use a star filter screwed on the front of your camera lens. This will slice and the light into thin lines. This looks cool when you twirl the filter around your lens as well because the stars will appear to be "twinkling".

Abstract Golden Long Exposure of Christmas Lights

Use manual focus, still in bulb mode, and simply move your camera around your Christmas tree while the exposure is taking place. You will end up with really techy-yet-beautiful abstract photographs that you can use in backgrounds for Photoshop projects or the like.

Zoom long exposure abstract
Put your camera on a tripod and zoom in while the exposure is taking place.
Multiple Exposure of Abstract Christmas Tree Lights long exposure

If you have a higher end DSLR (I'm using a Nikon D300s) there may be a Multiple Exposure function somewhere in the camera's menu. I like to set it to ten and then take several exposures, each shot at a different focal length.

Comments (17) Trackbacks (17)
  1. Hey, Evan! I have some interesting shots to show you… but I don’t really have my own website to upload them to… how can I get them to you for comment?

  2. Evan thankyou for those ideas there is some good one there that i will use Thanks again Merry Christmas

  3. I took this shot of my Mother’s tree that sits on a rotating base.

  4. only saw you twice love the way you think. Im sure you have other videos would love to see them

  5. Hello Evans, the stuff you showed in d video is too cool… Will try them myself but i don’t have a DSLR, have a Nikon P80 point n shoot camera which does not have a bulb mode. The longest shutter speed is 8 secs. Will it work if I try it with a 2 sec shutter speed? Well… let me try. Have to decorate d Christmas tree first 🙂

  6. Hey Hubert, yup, that will work fine! Anywhere between 1/2 second to 5 seconds should be plenty, even if you don’t have a bulb mode 🙂

  7. Thanks Evan! Wonderful!

  8. You have a great effect! Thanks for sharing it. Very nice outcome.

  9. fantastico

  10. Hello Evans, the stuff you showed in d video is too cool…

  11. Get your hot and sweet christmas love messages and wishes on our website

  12. Wow this post really helpful, Thanks

  13. This post really helped me out

  14. Photographic lights are a great idea. After all, children love everything so bright. And the addition of these effects will only add to their interest in what is happening.

  15. This is a stunning photoshop. If this is what you have done absolutely only by your own efforts, then you definitely need to apply for the appropriate position. Such talent should not disappear.

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