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Old Jan 27, 2011, 9:56 AM   #1
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Default Advice on Fire Work photography.

As of now in Dubai we have the DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival) so every night we have fire works for 5 mins. I went yesterday to take some pictures but was not satisfied with the results as most of the pictures were out of focus. I did the following:

1. Had the Camera on the tripod.
2. Used remote control
3. Shot on manual focus keeping the focus ring on Infinate.
4. F11 shutter 4 sec ISO 100

Kindly comment on what went wrong. Why did I not get sharp pictures ?

I would like to try again after getting your comments.

Hussain
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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When I did mine using a 5mp sony my settings were 400 ISO, F2, S 1/30 and 1/60. See Below for results, tho resizing did degrade.
The originals make great wallpaper. A Part of it is experiment with settings, how close you are, etc.
If I were to do it again I would set the f to 5.6 for better depth of field. One thing I do not use a tripod. When I shot these I waited for the very first burst so I knew where it was going to be, then aimed for that area. It takes a few tries. Good luck next time.
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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There were two I thought I imported...
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 1:00 PM   #4
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Did you confirm the focus, looking at the lights in the bottom of the picture? While your settings should have worked well, the pictures are very much out of focus. One thing I can think of offhand is that some lenses made for autofocus cameras will focus 'beyond' infinity, and if you set the lens manually, without checking in the VF, this could have caused the problem.

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Old Jan 27, 2011, 3:16 PM   #5
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G'day Hussain

Brian (above) is pretty close, but I also think that your focus ring was bumped at some stage when you zoomed to alter one of your pictures

When I am doing fireworks, I do the following [the camera is on a tripod & auto-focus disabled, and camera set for "S" operation]
1- look for some bright lights about the same distance as I expect the fireworks to be
2- zoom lens to maximum and focus on those bright lights
3- sticky-tape the focus ring to the lens body so that it can't be 'bumped' out-of-focus
4- zoom back to the wide-end and wait for the action to begin

My exposures are at ISO-200, times from 1sec to 8seconds (depending on how quick the fireworks are bursting),

This week I am based in Canberra, Australia's capital city
On Jan 26th we celebrated "Australia Day" which concluded with a fireworks display
I decided to use the Pentax with its 18-125 lens
For my images the lens was used thru the 18mm to about 70mm range

Here's a sample...




Regards, PHil
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 3:20 PM   #6
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I agree with Brian that you have a focus issue. Since you have the city lights in near the same plane as the fire works you might try focusing on the city lights prior to the fireworks going off.

Your set up and other procedures look good although the first shot looks underexposed so you might experiment with f/8 and see where to go from there. When shooting aerial fireworks aperture controls exposure and shutter speed control the number of bursts captured in a single frame.

A. C.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 2:33 AM   #7
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Yes I think this is the one thing I did not do...... set the focus on some light at about the same distance. I should have done that...... anyway I will take some pictures again since the DSF will last for a month and every day there is fire works for 5 mins...
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Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro
Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Wide angle
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 4:57 AM   #8
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The focus issue has already been picked up and it is correct, if you go to the end of the lens it is past infinity so the best thing is to focus on something else that is a similar distance away. You don't need to worry about getting the perfect distance as generally you will be working at quite wide angles and narrow apertures so the DOF is deep.

The key element is exposure. One thing that is often missed is that the shutter speed is not affecting exposure of the display but rather the amount of trails captured and also can affect the ambient capture. So we are left with ISO and aperture. Your settings of ISO100 and f11 are good. The normal rule is ISO100 and f8 but if they are really bright then stopping down a little more is good. You've got the remote so that's great but I would say move to bulb exposure. This will allow you to control the length of trail depending on what is going on rather than trying to hit it at the right time. In your examples the trails are a little shot. Another thing that is well worth doing is to use something black to cover the lens while the shutter is open so that you can stack multiple trails in the same image, this can make the display look a lot more impressive. You are in the prime position with having a display a day to try these things out. I wouldn't go for more than 2 or 3 stacked trails but have a go. Also play with different lengths of exposure by opening the lens cover for longer and shorter to get a feel for how things change. Just make sure you don't actually touch the camera so there is no wobble.

Looking forward to seeing some more results.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 9:40 AM   #9
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+1 bulb exposure. It lets you time it instead of hoping for the best.
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Old Jan 29, 2011, 6:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
The focus issue has already been picked up and it is correct, if you go to the end of the lens it is past infinity so the best thing is to focus on something else that is a similar distance away. You don't need to worry about getting the perfect distance as generally you will be working at quite wide angles and narrow apertures so the DOF is deep.

The key element is exposure. One thing that is often missed is that the shutter speed is not affecting exposure of the display but rather the amount of trails captured and also can affect the ambient capture. So we are left with ISO and aperture. Your settings of ISO100 and f11 are good. The normal rule is ISO100 and f8 but if they are really bright then stopping down a little more is good. You've got the remote so that's great but I would say move to bulb exposure. This will allow you to control the length of trail depending on what is going on rather than trying to hit it at the right time. In your examples the trails are a little shot. Another thing that is well worth doing is to use something black to cover the lens while the shutter is open so that you can stack multiple trails in the same image, this can make the display look a lot more impressive. You are in the prime position with having a display a day to try these things out. I wouldn't go for more than 2 or 3 stacked trails but have a go. Also play with different lengths of exposure by opening the lens cover for longer and shorter to get a feel for how things change. Just make sure you don't actually touch the camera so there is no wobble.

Looking forward to seeing some more results.
Thanks.... I will take some more trials after focusing it on abuilding and then also try in Bulb mode...Thanks everyone one again..
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Canon Digital EOS 60D D-SLR
Canon Lens 55-250mm
Canon Lens 18-55mm
Canon Lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM IS
Canon Lens EF500mm F4L IS USM
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX Macro
Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Wide angle
Website:www.hussainnalwala-photography.com
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