The snap of a camera’s shutter can capture something faster than the blink of an eye, preserving a tiny moment for all time. But cameras work the other way, too, and can capture the world in a way that we never see. Long exposure photography allows the light to pass into the camera for a longer period of time, creating swirling, glowing effects as though the light is a tangible object in space.
With this technique, planes become threads of light, fireworks take on the appearance of strange flowers, and fireflies leave trails of light into the forest that are just asking to be followed. The collection here shows what happens if we sow down a bit and let the world move around us.
A red headlamp goes for a walk at night
Glowsticks over a waterfall
Sean Lenz and Kristoffer Abildgaard
This was created by attaching lights to the kayak’s oars
A flashlight and a person
Simply by attaching a flashlight to his chest and standing still, this photographer created a scene out of a superhero movie.
Planes taking off
If you have a camera or exposure options on your phone, you can try experimenting with long exposure shots yourself. Simple pictures of passing cars, twinkling fireflies, or the passage of the stars will take on a whole new appearance, and your world might just get a little bit more magical.