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Old Jul 2, 2009, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default Photographing Fireworks

In the USA, the 4th of July is celebrated at our Independence Day. Folks all around the country set off fireworks displays.

What advice do you experienced photographers have for us rookies on how to best photograph fireworks in the night skies?
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Old Jul 2, 2009, 12:21 PM   #2
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First,
Use a tripod and remote release
Set ISO to 100
Aperture really won't matter much because of distance, so open it up (i.e. fireworks will be far enough away DOF isn't an issue).
Manually focus the lens at infinity
I prefer a bulb exposure.
If you want multiple bursts in the same photo you can either combine exposures in post or leave the shutter open in bulb but cover the lens between bursts (a hat is a common object.

You'll get better results the darker it is. But in general even whenn dark I don't want more than a 2, maybe 3 second exposure (not counting any time the lens is covered up since light isn't hitting it). Much longer and the sky starts to get grey instead of black. So, watch the launches and time your shutter release accordingly.
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Old Jul 2, 2009, 4:24 PM   #3
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To add to what John has just said if using ISO 100 then you will want to use between f8 and f11 as this is controlling the exposure of the fireworks (shutter opening has nothing to do with the individual trails) so if you are outside of these settings you will be either blown out or too dark.

Apart from that John has covered the important things.

Looking forward to seeing how they come out.
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Old Jul 2, 2009, 5:02 PM   #4
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Here are some more suggestions to consider;

http://digital-photography-school.co...raph-fireworks

Dennis
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Old Jul 2, 2009, 5:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
What advice do you experienced photographers have for us rookies on how to best photograph fireworks in the night skies?
Well, experience is an exaggeration in my case, but it's a polite way of noting that I'm getting old. I do get lots of firework opportunities, however, without even getting out of bed. I think you'll find wide open aperture and a few seconds exposure, on a tripod or solid support, might work quite well.

I've attempted this and been quite pleased with results, several times, from our bedroom window, for reasons explained in these old posts from the following links. We had another gigantic free show only 2 weeks ago, but I found it a bit repetitive this time, I'm afraid.

Note that in the second link the big pictures are 1:1 clips, pixel for pixel, so the little images give a better impression of what I got. Each message says what the exposure was.

See...
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/biweekly-shoot-out/129044-light-motion.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/kodak/125510-fireworks-z712is.html
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Old Jul 2, 2009, 9:28 PM   #6
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I would also recommend looking at the Tips and Tricks forum, and doing a search for fireworks. Quite a lot of info there.

brian
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Old Jul 7, 2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=JohnG;981389]First,
Use a tripod and remote release
Set ISO to 100
Aperture really won't matter much because of distance, so open it up

Aperture does matter as it's the only exposure control but as mentioned by others f/8 - f/11 is correct. Shutter - Bulb with lens covered in between works well for amateur displays but shutter shutter speeds between 2 and 8 sec. work for pro shows depending the rhythm of the show. If the show has a "fast and furious" finale use shutter speeds on the shorter end of the scale or you'll burn out the image from too many bursts.

A. C.
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