Original picture : https://www.instagram.com/p/BN2WgMujfIT/

Those flashy lines are what I'm talking about and the contrast of the whole picture in general, can I do this with a smartphone (with some equipment(suggest any if possible)) or is a DSLR necessary?

enter image description here

  • That image is at least two photos. (Note that you can see a person's legs in the archway, but the rest of their body is obscured by a picture of Westminster Abbey that's been pasted over the top.) – Nathaniel Dec 11 '16 at 6:36
  • @user87552 Please see this link regarding "How do I take this kind of photo type questions: meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/3881/… – Michael C Dec 11 '16 at 12:23
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    @Olivier well there's also the fact that there aren't any little archways like that on the opposite riverbank where the inner picture was taken. And also that some of the original background is visible outside the circle. And you can see the join. It's really obvious and not particularly well done. – Nathaniel Dec 11 '16 at 13:11
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    @Nathaniel : you are wrong concerning the archways. Look at Google maps, you will find one on the East side of the Westminster Bridge, close to the St Thomas Hospital Gardens (51.5002929,-0.1194363). I still think it is a single exposure. If you have proof it is not, please post it as an answer. – Olivier Dec 11 '16 at 13:40
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    @Olivier The person slinging the burning steel wool on the end of a wire would necessarily need to be visible in the center of the circle. Since no such person is visible it's patently obvious at the very least it is at least tow exposures combined. – Michael C Dec 11 '16 at 18:09

The example appears to be a composite image of two images of the Palace of Westminster from the walkway under Westminster Bridge. Both from the same location probably from a tripod and only one including the "firework effect" which is commonly achieved by setting steel wool alight at the end of a rope or line that a subject whirls around during a long exposure.

We can see a few pieces of information in the image which back this up...

  • There's no shadow from the figure obscuring Elizabeth Tower (formerly but incorrectly known as St. Stephen's Tower or Big Ben which is actually the Largest Bell inside.) Given the small radius of the spark trails, the subject could not have moved enough to avoid darkening the tower or the clock face.
  • The subject wielding the apparatus appears to lack a torso yet their feet clearly remained quite still as they're relatively clear.
  • The edit is relatively obvious and has only had a basic feathered blend applied in a circle. This is also visible in sparks which should be bouncing off the roof into the central circle and are instead cut off quite abruptly (and you can seen them all falling across the path of the circular trail.) Had the image been one exposure the houses of parliament would be obscured in a curtain of sparks.
  • The image has 2 points of focus as it is sharp in the brickwork, loses sharpness somewhat along the bridge and regains it at the building opposite.

In terms of what you need to create a similar shot, you need a camera which can be attached to a tripod, allow manual control of exposure and allow a multi-second exposure (around 10-15 seconds and above.) Typically that would require a DSLR or EVIL (mirrorless) camera rather than a phone or point & shoot camera. If you search on the terms steel wool long exposure you'll come across a number of tutorials like this one.

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    I deleted my answer, yours is better :) Good catch on the 2 focus points. – Olivier Dec 11 '16 at 15:01
  • Thanks mate ...i finally took a similar picture of my own :) – user87552 Dec 14 '16 at 2:05

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