Mary Campbell

Joined January 2008

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Shooting Fireworks Tips..

Shooting Fireworks Tips:

If you want to capture fireworks that do not look like a white blur then a few tips might help:

For DSLR cameras:
1. Most important thing to remember is your Tripod. Even a cheep one is better than nothing. If you’re still worried about camera shake use the camera’s timer. However I believe, a bit of shake sometimes is a good thing if you want to paint with light. So do what works for you as an artist.
2. Use your manual settings to set up the camera.
3. Set your ISO speed to 50 or 100 you do not want excessive noise in the picture
4. Best to set the F stop to F/8 or F/11 (the higher the f-stop the darker the sky)
5. You want a long exposure time to capture most of the action going off. To do that set your shutter speed to anywhere between (1-30 seconds). 1" to 30" on your shutter speed controller. I use between 1" and 4" seconds. The longer the exposure, the more fireworks you’ll capture in the same frame
6. Make sure you turn your flash off if built in you do not want to use the flash for the fireworks unless you’re trying to put people in the forefront too.
7. Set the focus to infinity (which will capture all the action)
8. You don’t need a fast lens so your normal lenses will do (wide angle or telephoto depending on how far away you are).
9. Bring a extra flashlight to help adjust your settings in the dark, and it helps with setting up the tripod and such.
10. Bring lots of memory cards. You’ll want to take lots of pictures
11. Do make sure your battery is well charged, you don’t want to hike out, and wait only to find you have a dead battery (LOL!).

For Point and Shoot cameras:
1. A tripod is still necessary (but the cheap $20.00 will work if you don’t have one consider it).
2. If your camera has a fireworks setting use it. It will set the camera for the settings below.
3. If not you can try to set it manually:
4. Use a low ISO speed: Set the camera to its lowest ISO setting to minimize digital noise.
5. Set the focus to infinity: Turn off automatic focus and set the camera’s focus to infinity so that it doesn’t search helplessly for a subject in the dark.
If you do not have a manual focus control, you can set the camera’s landscape mode, which also sets the focus to infinity or some cameras now have a fireworks setting so check your manual (but check to see if the auto settings do it by upping the ISO speed because that can create digital noise so you may want to set it up manually if you can); the low light will encourage the camera to shoot at a slow shutter speed and capture the light trails.
6. Set the aperture: Dial in an f/stop somewhere between f/8 and f/11. That will help prevent overexposing the scene and avoid light “blooms” coming from the explosions in the sky.
7. Slow down the shutter: Pick a value between 1 second and 16 seconds for your shutter speed.
8. Bring a extra flashlight to help adjust your settings in the dark, and it helps with setting up the tripod and such.
9. Bring lots of memory cards. You’ll want to take lots of picture
10. Do make sure your battery is well charged or bring extra batteries.
11. Point and shoot cameras can take a long time to record the picture to your flash card (be patient between shots and wait until you see the image in the viewer).

If all else fails or your location is not that great, you can always use
Photoshop or Gimp to post process it into something great.

A few suggestions from those who did try last night:
ericb: suggests making a check list and checking everything before you begin.
I suggest: Checking your flashlight battery before you leave too. (opps yep that was me fumbling in the dark last night when my flashlight was dead LOL!).

(Any more suggestions just post them below.)

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(click on the picture to see it in larger view)

Most of all go out and have a great time!

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