Fireworks and long exposures - what white ballance?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by msf, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Normally I leave the camera on auto white balance, and then play with custom white balance in raw. I was processing my fireworks pictures, and it occured to me I dont know what to set it to, other than what looks good to me. Is there a certain color temperature you use for fireworks?

    Also, I did a 3 minute and 4 mintue exposure of the valley the fireworks were being held before the fireworks were going off, and im not sure what white ballance to use for that either. I just played with it to get something interesting to me, but perhaps theres a white balance that is normal for this sort of thing.
     
  2. captainkimo

    captainkimo TPF Noob!

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    To have good firework shots, refer to the tips below:

    > Low expoosure
    > Low sensitivity. Make sure that the ISO is on it's lowest setting
    > Use manual focus and set it to infinity
    > Use a tripod
    > Use a wide setting and aim in the right general direction, so you are likely to get the whole of most fireworks inside your field of view
    > Try using 'daylight' setting for your white balance
    > Proper Timing
    > Check your work. After a couple of shots, see how they come out so you can refine the technique throughout the show
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a no-brainer. If you don't know SHOOT RAW! That is the end of the story. The camera will get horridly confused with all the colours, and if you shoot against a city background you will notice your city colours vary greatly and two actually different fireworks look very similar.

    Further more different cameras even from the same manufacturer and same series run different white balance algorithms. Screwing with my colours is not something I would leave to chance when the fix is essentially right there in your hand.

    For the record I mostly shoot daylight but I do shoot RAW so I can adjust in post. Daylight against a city backdrop gives a very orange cast to the entire scene which I really like in all city photography:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Seems the answer is daylight, thanks. :)

    I disagree with manual focus to infinity, I dont know about all lenses, but mine seem to focus past infinity. I tried that when I was taking pictures of stars *pretty far away* and twisting the focus ring all the way made them blurry. I had to turn it slightly the other way to get them in focus.

    With fireworks, I use auto focus on the first firework, then switch the lens to manual, take 20 pictures or so, then refocus, and repeat. this way if any of hte focusing is messed up, only 20 shots are wasted. :)

    Hmm, how is that a no brainer? Even if you shoot in raw, you gotta know what white balance to set it to later. :) BTW, I did shoot in raw. :D In general Auto works great for me, but if its something important, I do go into custom white balance and tweek the image, and most of the time, its not to far off from auto. :D

    And the important question, how do you make money off of fireworks pictures? In general people dont seem interested in prints of fireworks for decoration in their house. I tried selling some years gone by at craft shows, everyone loved them, but no one bought.

    I meant to contact the local newspapers a week before the 4th with last years pictures, but totally forgot about that until the night of the 4th. Gotta mark the calendar for next year! :)
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well the point was if you don't know what to set the white balance to, or can't adjust it with a grey card or auto is getting it wrong, then shooting RAW is the no brainer because it allows you to alter the white balance after to find the visually appealing setting without any loss of quality. And that's the only real point here. White balance is 100% user adjustable after the fact with no loss of quality. So when in doubt, simply edit to what looks good.

    Making money? I can't imagine how myself. I have seen thousands of generic firework shots, so yours would need some unique twist to bring it above the rest. This is one reason why I prefer to shoot from far away and catch some actual background in the image, but I don't know if this would help selling them, I've never tried.
     
  6. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Ditto on the money issue. The market is just saturated with fireworks images. Millions of them. One might get paid by a corporation, say, to take a picture of their pretty building with fireworks in front of it (perhaps Disney does this; I honestly don't know).
     
  7. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Well I put fireworks up on istock like 5 years ago from my point and shoot camera, with a noise problem. Between 5 images of just fireworks, no scenery, Ive made over $200 on them. :) but istock has a few more pictures now, and what use to be largest is like medium on there now. I believe I tried adding a couple more fireworks a couple of years ago but they got turned down due to noise, from a Canon xt iso 100 and a few second exposure. : ) guess I need to get one of the newest cameras before they will be satisfied with noise. :)
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    On the focus to infinity thing...

    Focusing to infinity IS the right way to go, you just need to make sure it's really where it is marked. SOME lenses aren't properly marked. You need to understand where infinity REALLY is on your lens, and mark it. Then use that going forward. Only one of my lenses is off, but the one that is off is off noticably.

    On the making money thing... fireworks pictures are not only common, they are common to the point of being pedestrian. I mean, every year we all post our fireworks pictures here, but RAAAAAAAAAARELY do any of us see any that are even close to interesting. The ones that usually are are those like Garbz, where there is something more to the shot than the purdy sparkly lights making 'splosions. :lol:

    I have a few fireworks shots up on iStock myself... I've made about $100-150 on them over 6 years or so... but ONLY because I posted the three that I have up there VERY early on in iStock's existence. Good luck getting them up there now. Way too common.
     
  9. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Dude...how is it that iStock's terms don't scare you? (The legalease sounds like they're yoinking all of your rights to the photo, even if you don't become "exclusive".)
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Are you asking me?

    It absolutely does yoink your rights, and that's exactly why I have THREE total images up there. I did it as a curiosity/experiment. I wasn't about to give iStock total rights to my images on anything I really cared about or in any volume... for the whopping $.20 you get per download or whatever it is. :lol:
     

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