Any general tips on fireworks?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by libeco, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    New years eve will bring loads of fireworks (I heard on the radio €70 million will be spent on legal fireworks for that one night here in Holland) and I want to take some pictures.

    Are there any general tips on photographing fireworks? I've been searching around and already figured out a tripod just has to be used.

    But I wonder if it's better to shoot RAW or jpeg? I want to be able to do some post processing (don't really like that word since I'm only a beginner) but the amount of time it takes the RAW file to be written to memory card is much higher than JPEG, so is it worth it?

    And what about focus, is it better to change during shots, or is it better to just focus once and fire away and see what the results are later?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's usually best to shoot in RAW. Hopefully your camera won't bog down too much...you shouldn't have to keep shooting continuously.

    Some cameras have built-in noise reduction for longer exposures...which would be good for fireworks...but that does take time...so if you have that, turn it off, if you can. With some cameras, you can't turn it off.

    Yes, a tripod is a very, very good idea.

    As for focus...the fireworks will probably be up in the sky...which should be at infinity focus for your camera...so focus once and leave it there.

    Usually a longer shutter speed is good for fireworks...because then you gen see all the trails and such. You can even record more than one burst. But you don't want to overexpose the bright parts too much...so you may have to experiment a bit.
     
  3. John_05

    John_05 TPF Noob!

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    70 MILLION in fireworks??? :shock:

    i need to go to Holland! there will be a fireworks show where i live too, but the cost will be nowhere near 70,000,000 (unless its in pesos :lol: ).

    good luck shooting them. like Big Mike suggested, its best to shoot in RAW. until recently, i only shot jpeg and never bothered with RAW. i took a few shots without noticing my camera got set to RAW a couple weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. no matter what i did with the jpegs of the same shots, they just didnt look as good as the RAW files when i was done.

    good luck shooting! even if the shots dont come out like you plan, im sure youll have a blast. :mrgreen:

    yes, the pun was intentional.
     
  4. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Yes, some people like to just shoot their money into the sky, well, I'd like to capture that moment because instead of buying fireworks, I spent my money on a camera and all the things that come with it... :lol:

    Thanks for the tips, the problem is there's not too much time for experimenting since most fireworks will be shot during 23.00 and 01.00 while the next opportunity for fireworks will probably be one year later...
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've shot fireworks once...with decent results.

    Put the camera on the tripod, use a remote release or the self timer. Set it to manual mode...set the shutter speed to something around 2 - 10 seconds. Set the aperture to F8. See what that does....if it's too long, then shorten the shutter speed. If it's too bright...then close down the aperture.

    You can even get many, many bursts on one exposure...just put the shutter on bulb (open indefinitely) then but a black object over the lens. Uncover the lens when the bust happens...the cover it up again...repeat. This may not work as well with digital, as it did with film though....but maybe.

    Here is the best shot from my only attempt...
    [​IMG]
     
  6. doenoe

    doenoe TPF Noob!

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    hey there. Just an insane amount of money that will be shot into the air eh.
    Anyways. When i shoot fireworks, i set the camera on the bulb function and use a remote. With that you can make the exposures as long as you want. And you really dont want to keep the shutter open for too long, because when you do that the picture will have lots of different fireworks in 1 picture and it can get way to busy. So if you got a remote, use it :)
    EDIT: here you can find some examples: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57395
     
  7. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    I don't have a remote, so I'll use the self timer (another downside of my camera is that it resets the self timer, every time a picture is taken I have to go to menu to activate self timer again). Great pictures you guys took!
     
  8. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  9. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    Tripod. Mirror lockup. Bulb. F8. Infinity focus. Black card. When the display is in full swing, point the camera at an area where the fireworks are detonating (A slightly wide angle will allow for a margin of error). As the firework climbs into the sky (you should be able to see it as it arcs upwards) Open shutter with black card in front of lens. remove card. Firework goes "Boom ! ! " Or "Whoosh" whatever.. Replace card and repeat for the next firework. After two or three fireworks( or five or thirty) (You decide) close shutter and wind on to next exposure.. Repeat above.... when fireworks finish close shutter ... go home..... enjoy pics.... If you don't have "B" or "BULB" setting then make the exposure as long as Pos "T" or "TIME" if you have it... and hope to get a few bursts in the frame...
     
  10. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Just saw some people were already shooting some fireworks into the sky so took two quick shots, this was the first one which I took without a tripod just leaning on an opened window at the attic.

    [​IMG]

    Although it's just a quick image are there any comments in regards to the image? 13 sec and F11 is what I used, I didn't bother changing the aperture, just quickly turned the wheel to get a longer exposure...
     
  11. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I took several (well: many - and as many bloopers, mind you) photos during our yesterday's big firework display here in my very village (with thousands of people coming and all the streets clogged with people and their cars! Groan!) with the camera on the tripod, aperture preset to f 8.0 (advice from this very TPF, thanks :D), and the exposure set to 2 seconds. Worked all right.

    Took photos of the display on 29th from out of our upstairs landing window handheld, even some of those came out ...

    Wanna see? (some do count as "shakers", but I still like them):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yes, had my camera been on a tripod, I could have chosen longer exposures and would have got out more, but for my only snapping away on that day (I specifically went out there on the following day, i.e. yesterday) I still like them in a way.
     
  12. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Some of the shaky ones also give very nice effects, nice pictures!

    I just hope there will be no rain, if there's none I can either put my tripod in the backyard (although the wind is hard and it's just a cheap tripod) or in front of a big window at the attic (opened window, but I'll have to hold it at an angle or tie it up somehow, but that I'll see tonight...

    Wish me luck! :D
     

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