Zooming is one of many cool effects that can be achieved using longer exposures. This particular photo was taken by zooming out during a nine second exposure of a Christmas tree:
You can do this both ways—zooming in or zooming out. Just wait for the tree to be properly exposed, then zoom in to create the streaks of light from the Christmas tree lights or zoom out to create the streaks.
The technique can be utilized with flash, as well. You can set longer exposures and the flash to second curtain, then use the lens mechanics to create light effects for your portraits. You can zoom in and out, twist, turn, move and so on, and when the flash fires at the closing of the shutter, it will freeze your portrait, keeping your subject sharp.
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