Turning fireworks into abstract wallpapers

‌‌I was about to give up. We had been walking for an hour in the rain trying to find a spot to watch the fireworks. The crowd was unlike anything I've seen in Tokyo.

We finally found a good spot, five minutes after the fireworks had started. Unfortunately, it turned out to be quite underwhelming. I did not want all this walk in the rain to go to waste so I pulled out my camera.

Embracing uncertainty

The usual way of photographing fireworks is to use a tripod to make long exposures, which photographers around us thoughtfully brought with them.

To compensate for the lack of stabilisation, I initially tried shooting with a very high shutter speed, freezing the moment. The results were quite bland — just pictures of fireworks.

I thought to myself, what if I embraced this limitation? Instead of keeping the camera stable on a tripod, I can try moving the camera around and see the kind of results I get.

And it was fun! I am glad I did not go home.


The wrist tilt

The method I used here is focusing on the edge of the fireworks and quickly panning away from it. In order to get a straight line, I tilted my wrist rather than my entire arm.

The brush strokes

Not sure how I got those, but they might be my favorites.

The curvy tilt

After trying to get straight lines, I wondered what would curving the trajectory during the tilt look like. I ended up with things that looks like wheat crops or confetti ribbons.

These experiments ended up saving the evening for me. It was a good reminder to get out there.

I particulary love the glow between the fireworks. This results in an organic feel that would be hard to get on a computer. Despite being visually simple, there is an organic depth that adds just the right amount of complexity to balance the picture.


Get the high-resolution wallpapers

If you are a newsletter subscriber you can download these high-resolution photos to use them as wallpapers. Have fun!

Take care!

Grégoire