Fireworks display tomorrow night - HELP

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kundalini, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think I was in a thread that heading a different direction. Time is closing in and I could really use some advice. Heres' a partial paste from the other thread.

    Tomorrow night there will be a 2nd annual downtown celebration in Raleigh for reopening the street in front of the capitol. It will end in fireworks. This will be my first "project". Any suggestions on how I should approach this strategically?

    Along with the D80 I have a 18-55 kit lens and a f/4-5.6 55-200 VR, ML-L3 remote, 2x freshly charged batteries, 2x 2gig mem cards and tripod (of course). I have Image Quality set at RAW & JPEG Fine. (haven't decided on the software yet, so I save the RAW files over to the side for later).

    Cheers.....
     
  2. Tolyk

    Tolyk TPF Noob!

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    I've done a couple fireworks shots now. It all depends on how bright the location you're shooting at is, but the standard is similiar to shooting lightning. ISO 200, shutter speed set to bulb, AV adjusted for correct exposure (probably around 11 or 14).

    Then you hold your shutter open for as long as you want, be it for multiple shots or for a single one (I prefer the single one myself)

    I'd probably use the 18 mm, but again that depends on your location. My last shoot I was pretty close to the display, and was using a 28mm, and it wasn't quite wide-angle enough.

    http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h30/tolyk/fireworks/IMG_1077.jpg
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks Tol. When you state AV (11 or 14), is that aperture value?

    How about about this. If I can find out where the launch site is and then get far enough away from the city lights (1/4 to 1/2 mile), would the same hold true?

    Also, last night I tried to take some shots of the moon in preperation of the fireworks. Set the mode dial to Manual, long exposure ON and shutter speed to bulb. The remote wouldn't fire. Later on back inside and a few shots of Especial (fundada en 1795) later with aperture priority, under low incandescent lighting, the Control Panel showed (--) instead of bulb, the remote fired every shot??????

    I'm just confused.

    Cheers.....
     
  4. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    I can't help you out with the specific functions on your camera because I shoot Canon but heres what I do for fireworks...

    Last time I shot fireworks I was about a quarter mile from the display and 75 was plenty to get the base from where it was shot to the burst. So I used my 75-300 with an aperture of F/13 and the bulb setting.

    I find that getting closer to the burst produces more interesting results most of the time. I didn't have any buildings or anything interesting to get into the foreground but that would be ideal to give the picture some interest.

    Here is the results of what I did along with the settings I used:http://www.flickr.com/photo_exif.gne?id=730065316&context=set-72157600688220029

    Good luck. Make sure to post your results.

    Edit: Another thing that I do is I use either a black cloth or my hand to cover the lens in between bursts.
     
  5. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    If you're shooting fireworks, shoot Raw. Don't even bother with Jpegs.

    With the raw files you can make them look sooooo much better.
    The last fireworks I shot were launched off small wooden platforms floating in an inlet. I was about 100m away... maybe a bit more.

    The toughest thing I found was focusing the camera before the fireworks go off - which is nigh impossible because it's pitch black. So your first few shots will be blurry as while you try and focus.... for that reason, definately use f/8 or higher. Keep stepping it down until your fireworks are exposed correctly. Keep your shutter on Bulb and just close the shutter when you're happy. That way you can get multiple fireworks in the one shot. Looks good - but if you're not careful you can get blow outs.

    I'm glad I shot raw because the colours can come out a bit bland in firework shots, and sometimes the smoke from earlier ones can cloud your scene. So with raw it was oh so easy to fix up the colours and to get rid of the smoke just by increasing the blacks.

    Oh and zoom out so you don't cut off fireworks out of the frame. You can always crop in later.
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    OK, so here's a question that will help in the post-processing of the fireworks. This site (no arguement) has a linit of 800x600 pix to upload. I have PS Element to work with jpeg and my file size is 3872x2592 pix from the camera. The presets in Elements to crop are 2.5"x2" blah, blah, blah to 8"x10". When I "Save for Web" and set the long side to 800 pix, the short side is 536 pix. Is this normal or else how do I get the 800x600 pix? Do I need to worry about the extra 64 pix on the short side?

    Cheers.....
     
  7. Mr_Bester

    Mr_Bester TPF Noob!

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    That is normal.The only way to get to 600x800 would be to stretch it the extra 64 pixels. Always keep the aspect ratio(like all rules, can be broken).
    Dug
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks Meysha, I forgot to mention that I have my Image Quality set to shoot RAW + JPEG Fine. I haven't decided which software to use for conversion/editing yet, so I put all the NEF file in a folder for later use.
     
  9. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hey Meysha,

    On a totally different note, I just looked at you links. Is that Brisbane, AU (the extra "u" in color was a give away)? I have my visa app in process and moving to Melbourne! Hopefully soon I'll be shooting gum trees, 'roos and the like.

    Cheers.....
     
  10. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Damn U... hehehe

    Yep as in Australia. ummm... if you're in Melbourne you won't be seeing many gum trees or roos... just lots of buildings and cars.

    I just had an american sister of a friend come over here and she was shocked to see that we lived in a big city. She thought it was all bush and "outback". heheheh.... ahhh poor girl. :-(
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    More advice from Brisbane, but this is very based on my personal taste. I can't stand fireworks by themsevles. It's like taking photos of grass or sand to me. Nice but completely lacking composition.

    I personally try to get far away from fireworks as reasonable, then pull out a lens that gets the fireworks nicely framed with something to add some depth to the image. In my last case it was the city across from the Brisbane river: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/229/486068637_ea4fad1f74_b.jpg

    In this case it was as easy as manually focusing to infinity, and selecting a shutter/aperture combination to exposure the city, yet keep the shutter open sufficiently long enough for the fireworks. I think I settled for 1 second in this shot, but went as high as 4s for some others.
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I see what you mean Garbz, it does make an interesting difference.

    As far as the move goes, of course there is probably going to be a lot of cityscapes, but the Dandenongs aren't that far away and the Yarra Valley is beautiful in it's own right (and some fantastic wines). The last visit was in January and the fires did do a number on the area.

    OK, back to the issue. With the remote not firing in Manual mode....any takers on that problem?

    Cheers.....
     

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