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Thread: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

  1. #1

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    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Recently almost in front of my apartment a fireworks contest was held. All rockets were fired from a number of barges some 300 meters offshore. In some 2,5 hours an incredible amount of rockets were fired on the rhythm of accompanying music.

    From my balcony I made numerous pictures with my Nikon D90 – lens AF-S Nikkor 18 – 105 mm 1:3,5 – 5,6 G ED). I found out that it was not easy to get a good result as on the forehand you did not know what was coming, where the effects could be seen (at which height and with which spread) and also the optimum moment of the ‘explosion’. Also focusing was sometimes difficult.

    Can anyone give me some hints and tips ?

    After all it seems I did not do too bad as a great lot of my pictures were published in a local e-newspaper.

    Grateful hearing from you.

  2. #2
    epmi314's Avatar
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    re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Henk,

    Can you post a few of the pictures with settings? They can't be too bad if you got published!... Local e-paper or not.
    Last edited by epmi314; 13th January 2012 at 05:45 PM.

  3. #3
    Photon Hacker's Avatar
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    re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Have you already tried your favorite search engine?. There is quite a lot of information. This has been asked and answered several times .

  4. #4
    epmi314's Avatar
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    re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Photon Hacker View Post
    Have you already tried your favorite search engine?. There is quite a lot of information. This has been asked and answered several times .
    Mario,

    Perhaps you could help Henk out by posting a few of the several links that have addressed this question on CiC.

  5. #5

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    re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    If you search around previous posts here , Henk, you will find quite a bit of information, put fireworks into the search space at the top toolbar. For instance Fireworks photography - help need please

    Are you hand held or tripod?

    If hand holding, you have to ignore all the normal advice about very slow shutter speeds and set the slowest that you can hold without shake. And if you use a non stabilised lens that might be as high as 1/40 or even 1/60 which is really a little bit on the fast side.

    So under those conditions, I would use the shutter priority mode and a suitable ISO which could be as much as ISO 800 although I would prefer 400.

    At least with hand holding you can follow the action upwards and click at the correct moment.

    A tripod does make things easier, although it can introduce other problems when very close to the launch site and with variable display heights.

    The traditional approach is to set up a firm tripod set at the correct height with a low ISO around 100 or 200 and a very long exposure, and using a cable shutter release. Possibly 0.5 sec or longer. Different people have different preferences.

    However, under conditions like you mentioned, I adopt another approach. A tripod where the attachment plate isn't firmly locked at one position but enables you to quickly 'pan' with the action. I prefer a quick release ball head attachment plate so I can grip the handle and quickly position onto the 'starburst'.

    I have reversed the handle position on my ball head so I can easily control the position with my left hand while my right index finger is always on the shutter button. Something I originally did for quick wildlife shots.

    This means a slightly faster shutter speed than is normally recommended, but slower than hand held shots. I find somewhere around 1/20 or 1/30 should be sufficiently steady; and this enables an ISO of 200 to 400, subject to lens. Once again, a stabilised lens really does help.

    So using shutter priority (Tv) it is a fairly simple task to adapt to firework bursts at variable heights.

    One other thing to remember is that you can do a bit of crafty editing to improve your results. Because you are using a relatively fast shutter speed you won't get those very long feathery star trails but you should still get sufficient quality, although there will be a number of rejects.

    The trick is to combine a number of shots (use copy and paste) and to choose a layer blend mode which won't cause sharp edges to show, due to variation in the density of 'black' with different shots.

    And another thing I do is to take a few 'base' shots often with the camera turned through 90 degrees so that I get some 'bases' onto which I can copy several individual shots.

    ps. I just went to my P base site to find some examples and realised that I haven't included any fireworks from my local 2011 regatta on that site. However, here is an example from 2010, although I have produced some better results in 2011.

    This is a composition of a base shot and 4 pasted shots using the faster shutter speed method with a tripod.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 13th January 2012 at 07:33 PM. Reason: link added

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    My favorite fireworks images will include some recognizable subject such as a building or a statue somewhat lit by the fireworks. People are chancy because they will often move during the long exposure required by fireworks...

  7. #7
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    That's a pretty cool image Geoff.

  8. #8
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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Henk, I just saw this and may be a bit late but I will throw in my two pents. Being I just did a bunch myself. This is what I did.....manual, iso 100 @ F11. My exposure time went from 2-10 seconds as I pressed the shutter when the works went off and when the bloom I wanted was visible I released the shutter. This seemed to work quite well. If I wanted a bit of movement I left it open a little longer. You can see a couple shots in the thread posted below. If you would like to see more.....visit the link in my signature, there are 12 images from that night. Hope this is helpful


    New Years at the Needle.

  9. #9
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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Nice tips from Paul for those long firework trails. If you don't have a cable release (or like me you forgot it) then it works to just set the camera to a long shutter speed and use your hand in front of the lens. The ambient is so low that a quick show and hide of the lens with a black glove is possible. Just don't knock the camera when waving your hand around in front of the lens. With this set up I could use the 2 seconds shutter delay to avoid tripod shake and set my exposure to 10 seconds. Then vary the exposure from 1 to 10 seconds using my 'hand shutter'.

    Alex

  10. #10

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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    What a wonderful forum is this! I was more than pleasantly surprised, not only by the number of answers but also by the quality of the answers to my first question on this forum.

    Of course I should have thought of doing a google search, but it just did not come up to my mind.

    When going to all the answers I think that I got what I would like to know, but it will take some experimenting before I will get my final result in the way I like it.

    What I did so far was switching the setting on my camera to ‘A’ (automatic), taking pictures which resulted in either a hit or a miss. Good luck for me was that it was an almost endless series of rockets being fired so I was able to get some basic hands-on experience.

    On the next occasion I will try to include all your good advices when taking my shots.

    A big thank you to all the contributors for all the very useful answers.

  11. #11

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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Well Scott, as per your request I wanted to post some pictures. Unfortunately, so far this went wrong. May have something to do with the connections here (South East Asia).

    I will try again later.

    Sorry….

  12. #12

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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Next try ....

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

  13. #13
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Pictures of fireworks - hints and tips.

    Henk, I think you did quite well and I like that you included the barges and water. Have fun experimenting!

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