The prompt for Week 8 of the 52 Photo Challenge is …

Zoom Burst

By changing the focal length during long exposure you can add movement to your frame, producing leading lines within your frame.

The challenges for each week are also divided into one of 4 categories. The category for this week is…


Technical Aptitude is just as important as creative inspiration in photography. This year’s technical category is primarily focused on in camera processes, however, there will be some post processing techniques included.


Zoom Burst Photo Challenges

This week’s zoom burst photo challenge proved to be difficult to wrap my head around. I’ve never performed long exposure shots so I had to do a bit of googling to find an article explaining how to recreate this technique. In a nut shell you need to lower the shutter speed while raising your F-stop number.

Because of the longer exposure time through a slower shutter speed, a tripod is required so the shot isn’t compromised from a shaky hand.

After goofing around in my garage trying to recreate the desired effect, I looked at a few other submissions for this week and decided that an urban area would be the best place to shoot.

Detroit is an awesome place for the zoom burst technique, but I wanted to scope out a place closer to home so I wouldn’t feel pressured when setting up. Downtown Wyandotte was a good compromise as there was enough unique lighting to make the photo interesting with little foot traffic on a Sunday night.

The zoom burst technique was surprisingly simple to emulate with the only stipulation being that it’s better to shoot at night with variable lights instead of during the day time. For these photos my F-stop number was set at 11 with a shutter speed between 2.5-5 seconds. I zoomed in as close as possible to my subject, made sure everything was focused correctly and then zoomed out slowly while the shutter was open.

Photo Shoots With Laz: Zoom Burst Photo Challenge

This is the how the zoom burst photo technique will end up looking like.

A super zoom lens is the best to use for the zoom burst technique, but 18-55mm kit lenses are acceptable replacements. I used my 50-200mm zoom lens, which was as close as I had in my arsenal without having a super zoom lens.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with how the photos turned out, but I want to revisit this prompt in the future with a better area. In hindsight Wyandotte wasn’t the best place to shoot, but hey, you learn through experience!


Zoom Burst Photo Edits

Before and after photos for the zoom burst photo challenge

This is the before and after edits for this week’s zoom burst photo challenge.

For my edits I didn’t do a lot. I increased the whites and highlights a touch while reducing the shadows and blacks. The most significant editing consisted of saturation and color to make the lights feel lively instead of washed out.

It took approximately seven minutes to edit both photos, which either means that I’m getting better at editing or the RAW photos turned out close to how I wanted it to.


Laz’s Question of the Day: Zoom Burst Photo Technique

What did you think of this week’s zoom burst photo prompt? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this week’s prompt, be sure to check out last week’s photo challenge!