Fireworks

Discussion in 'Photo Assignments & Technical Challenges' started by Kavanaugh29, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Kavanaugh29

    Kavanaugh29 TPF Noob!

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    i have to shoot fireworks for the first time on saturday. i have a nikon D80, what settings should i use?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Fireworks can be hit and miss. It really depends on a lot of things...like the amount of ambient light and the effect that you want to create.

    For starters, it will probably be dark, so you will need a tripod. From there, you might need to experiment. A longer shutter speed will give you more opportunity to capture many fireworks and it will also give you more light trails. This can be a nice effect but it can also make the shot look messy if there are too many things going off in one area. A faster shutter speed will give you less light trail. The aperture probably won't matter much, because you will mostly likely be shooting them from far off and the DOF won't be an issue.
    You can set the shutter and aperture together to control how much ambient light you get. Less exposure will can give you darker skies and foreground (if you included it) but sometimes more exposure can look good...sometimes not, that's why you need to experiment.

    Lastly, sometimes you need to guess when they will go off and trigger the camera first. It takes practice.
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Here's how I do it (which might not be the best way, but I think it is, lol).


    1. Camera on tripod
    2. Go to manual mode - aperture somewhere around f/8, shutter speed on Bulb (ISO @ 100)
    3. Switch the lens to manual focus, focus to infinity. Aim it where you think they'll be going off (check the LCD to make sure you're getting the whole thing in the frame).
    4. When you see one go up hit the shutter button (using a remote) just before it explodes, when it finishes push it again to close the shutter.
    That's pretty much it. Try to get an interesting background, but that's not always possible...
     
  4. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    As the man said: ISO 100, focus infinity, F8 and suggest you try shutter opening times of 1.5 to 2 seconds.
     
  5. Patm1313

    Patm1313 TPF Noob!

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    If you're not into light trails, then take shots (using a tripod, of course) right after the shells explode. Keep doing this for each shell, and then you can Photoshop them together.
     
  6. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Might be a little problem with that technique because you're going to have to be very quick on the trigger and probably have to use much faster than F8.
     
  7. Patm1313

    Patm1313 TPF Noob!

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    Not really, a firework will normally stay in the sky for a few seconds, so even if you are a bit late you can still get a decent shot.
     
  8. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Please pardon my bluntness but have you ever tried the technique you suggest?
    If you have, please let us know what ISO and F# you used and post a sample if possible.
    My experience is that you'll miss every shot you try, it really happens that quick.
    This one was taken at a hot-air balloon show a couple of weeks back, only thing done to it was reduced in size.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I know you weren't asking me, but this was taken using the method I described above:
    [​IMG]

    f/9, 8 sec, ISO 100
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2008
  10. wchua24

    wchua24 TPF Noob!

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    nice shooting there.
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    Well since we are sharing. I got this on my first and (so far) only attempt at shooting fireworks.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Oh sure Mike!!
    You could at least share your settings (great shot BTW)
     

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