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  • Fireworks Photography

    Okay, with the 4th of July coming on fast, I was wondring if anyone has some tips or How-To's to take great firework photographs. Please give me the details, because I am anctious to get out here and shoot. From what I understand you want to have you aperture to a big number, focus at infinity, use bulb for shutter speed, and take the shot as soon as you hear the boom. Is there any truth to this?

    Thanks,
    Joshua

  • #2
    You could start with this article on the Blog. My recommendations are a good, heavy tripod (it's windy where I am, so a heavy tripod that doesn't move is always useful...) and also a remote for your camera. That and a large enough memory card to take lots of shots.

    And yes, I time my shots based on hearing the firework leaving the canon as it were. So when you hear it leave, open the shutter and then you can choose when to close it after you see the burst(s). Here are a few of my shots, the EXIF should be available for all of them as a starting point:


    EXIF



    EXIF



    EXIF
    Last edited by Nicole; 06-30-2009, 11:32 PM. Reason: Fixed links
    Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
    Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
    My Flickr

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    • #3
      I image it can be a lot like shooting lightning. I havent done that since I shot with film SLRs so I am not sure how to explain it in digital terms. What you wrote sounds right. You will probably have to experiment with the exact shot timing.

      I took a couple of firework shots a year or so ago with a point and shoot set on a fireworks setting. Here are those shots with their EXIF.



      Camera: Panasonic DMC-LZ7
      Exposure: 0.25 sec (1/4)
      Aperture: f/3.1
      Focal Length: 9.9 mm
      ISO Speed: 100
      Exposure Bias: 0/100 EV
      Flash: Flash did not fire



      Camera: Panasonic DMC-LZ7
      Exposure: 0.25 sec (1/4)
      Aperture: f/3.4
      Focal Length: 14.5 mm
      ISO Speed: 100
      Exposure Bias: 0/100 EV
      Flash: Flash did not fire

      Hopefully this gives you something to work with.
      Melissa
      My Flickr

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      • #4
        Nicole, Your EXIF wasn't available. Could you post it so us noobs can learn from your shots?
        My Facebook Page

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        • #5
          It's there under "More Properties" on the photo page. But I've linked to the EXIF now.
          Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
          Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
          My Flickr

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nicole View Post
            It's there under "More Properties" on the photo page. But I've linked to the EXIF now.
            When looking at my photo's I know where to find it. When looking at your photo's it's not available.
            My Facebook Page

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            • #7
              I'm honestly not sure why you're not seeing it. My EXIF isn't hidden and I just checked to see if I could find the More Properties link when not signed in and the EXIF is all there when I click "More Properties".
              Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
              Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
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              • #8
                Originally posted by idcrewdawg View Post
                When looking at my photo's I know where to find it. When looking at your photo's it's not available.
                Just right click on the EXIF link and go down to properties, and copy and paste the URL in the website box. Nicole put http:// twice, that is why it is not opening up for you. There, problem solved.

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                • #9
                  Geez I must have been tired last night to not spot that one

                  *goes to edit the links*
                  Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
                  Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
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                  • #10
                    Thanks!! Now looking at the EXIF I have a better guess to how long my shots should be.
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                    • #11
                      Hey Nichole, thanks for the great examples and EXIF info. I was hoping to catch the fireworks for 4th July celebration, but it looks like the desert will be having monsoon Saturday evening. I may have to try my hand at lightening strikes instead.
                      NIKON D90, Nikkor 105mm Macro, Nikkor 18-200mm, Nikkor 50mm f1.8, SB600 Flash

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                      • #12
                        I haven't had a chance to shoot fireworks yet, but hopefully will this year.. I got this from Scott Kelby's book and it's the recipe I've been planning to try (and now will be trying it along with whatever I glean from reading Nicole's suggestions):

                        1) tripod
                        2) cable release to see the rocket's trajectory to know when to push the button (which I don't have and he says makes it more hit or miss when looking through the viewfinder)
                        3) use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) to get in tight and capture just the fireworks (unless you want a wider view, which I think most of us decide in the moment)
                        4) manual mode, shutter speed 4 seconds, and aperture f/11
                        5) If it overexposes in test shot, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, and retest
                        6) bulb mode if you have it and want to use it.. hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade...
                        I believe you have my stapler.

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                        • #13
                          Me & My GF tried to do some firework photos in her backgarden... in practice for a firework competition that is held near us in september

                          unfortunately for her - they where a little too unpredictable, cos we were so close... fortunately for me, i had a fish eye...


                          EXIF is on the file - but i'm in work...
                          so don't have handy access to it...

                          Parry
                          Site : http://www.pazza.biz
                          Camera : Canon 5d Mk ii

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                          • #14
                            Grand Finale

                            Hi:
                            I am new to the forum, so please bear with me :-).
                            I have been shooting fireworks for decades, most recently with a Canon 5D, and most of my results are quite good. I do the usual things that are always recommended (tripod, remote, "B" setting, longish exposure, aperture f/11 to f/22, low ISO etc). The one situation I am still having problems with is the Grand Finale: even when I keep the shutter open for a shorter time, the colors seem to be washed out, and the superimposition of the fireworks makes them lose detail.
                            I should add that in many cases I have no choice but to be "too close", i.e. the setting is such that if I try to move farther away, I end up behind houses or trees. I have had less trouble with the Grand Finale when shooting from across a body of water (lake, river, sea) - see attached images.
                            Any suggestions would be appreciated.
                            Thanks,
                            Roberta

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                            • #15
                              Welcome Roberta (and really nice shots there! I really like the reflections on the water and the city lights).

                              I can sympathise with always being too close to the fireworks because of the landscape of the area. I have the same kind of problems and I usually just wind up tossing the pictures from the grand finale because they so often are overblown. The one thing that I have done is to use a quicker shutter speed and a smaller aperture, but that has the effect of getting rid of any sort of background completely. So then what I have tried is combining multiple shots to create the setting. This would be the beginning of the finale so the fireworks weren't really over the top yet.

                              Fireworks (Composite) (by -Nicole-)

                              Still, more often than not, the finale just winds up with too many lights for me to effectively capture. I think you have the right idea being further away from the fireworks if you want to capture the finale.
                              Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
                              Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
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