Fireworks inconsistent shots


TPF Noob!
Oct 2, 2007
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I had some good shots, and poor shots, with the NYE fireworks, I should be able to post some up soon. Some of my shots, had a massive amount of noise in the shots, some had a little, and probably 5-10 of 150 shots were good. A lot of the real noisy shots, are trash bin material. I was shooting with about half a second exposure, It was done through trial and error, as was my first fireworks shoot. I think I had auto ISO on, and I reckon I should have had it set on 100 or so. My aperture was between 8 and 11.

My question is when I have alittle bit of noise, is a simple blur the answer, I have yet to see good results with noise reduction filters. I find that when I do portraiture with women, if its a bit noisy, a blur goes very well. But is this the best solution, Its not as if we are looking for sharpness in the shots. I'm still yet to take a night shot whithout flaws, and I'm in the belief, that its not possible without editing. I had a city exposure of 30s and I still had black spots in city signs.
If anything I'd use a surface blur. Straight out blur is definitely not the answer, and may look fine for some portraits, but would just look blurry in a night photograph. How bad is the noise? Are you zoomed at 100% or actually looking at the photo on your screen?

The reason for the noise is Auto ISO and not shooting fully manual. To get consistent photos with fireworks you need to have your camera fully set to manual. Otherwise the light from the fireworks have their way with your lightmeter, and since the light is constantly changing, the exposure is constantly changing.
When I took these and these the other day, I had my camera set to either f18 or f22, with exposures of between 1.3 and 10 seconds, depending on how "long" I wanted the lines to be, ISO 100 (well, on the second day at least, you can read up on all my mistakes in the threads, particularly those of Day 1, which was Dec. 28) ... and I find that for firework photos you cannot let the camera decide. It will decide on which aperture, which ISO and which shutter speed to choose fairly much at random, since the light situation is so different at all times.

So in order to get consistent firework photos, you must take up full control of the process and manually set the camera to everything you want it to do for you, including focussing! If I had so much as TRIED to go on auto-focus, I am sure I'd have failed miserably. With the small aperture, though, I had "help" in so far that I did not have to be so extremely exact... and I got the nice star effects out of the little "fire dots".
Thanks for the advice. Ive learnt something new today. I was just doing a quick look at the DNG files from an image editor, thats why they looked ordinary. When I Converted the DNG files, to Tiff, I had more control over the settings, the exposure, contrast etc. After I set them up the photos come out great, I was happy with them for a first time.

For the shots, I set up using trial and error, I really should have gotten some advice before I went out and took the shots. I set up on f11, and exposure of about half a second. I had full control over it except the iso, but they seemed to turn out good anyway. my photos are in the general gallery if you would like to have a look

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