Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sky Watch Friday: Fireworks

Since last weekend was the Fourth of July here in the states I thought I would share my attempts at taking fireworks pictures as well as share how I took them.

The first set of photos didn't turn out very well. It may have had something to do with it being a windy day and me standing on a deck with people walking on it. So, rule number one: when taking fireworks pictures don't stand on a moving deck.

Fireworks over Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio). Notice the blur?





The day after the fourth there were some pretty fireworks over the back bay. This time it wasn't windy and I could set up my tripod on solid ground. These came out much better. Notice, no blur?









Now, how did I get these shots?

1. I use a tripod, but you can set your camera on any solid surface that has a good view of the fireworks.

2. Next, set your camera to manual. It sounds scary, but don't worry, it's not too bad.

3. Change your f-stop to around 16 or above to achieve a large depth of field. (On my camera I have to hold down the f-stop button and move the dial to change the f-stop.)

4. If you have a camera remote set your shutter speed to bulb (I just move the dial to the left until it says bulb.)

5. If you don't have a remote then start with your shutter speed really slow and adjust after the first set of fireworks go off. It may take a couple of shots to get it right, but don't worry, you can do it.

6. Focus on the fireworks (or somewhere near then before they go off).

7. If you are on bulb mode: press the button before the firework goes off, or when you see it shoot off from the ground. Then press the button again when the firework is over.

edit 8. (Thank you John for this tip) If your camera has the function mirror lock-up, use it on shutter speed between 1/30 sec. and bulb.
That allows the reflex mirror to be locked in the up position before a shot. This function eliminates the camera vibration caused by mirror slap, helping the photographer produce sharper photos.

I liked to let the camera capture a couple fireworks at once, so the shutter stayed open a long time. Play around with it a bit and you will find that it is really fun and you can get some cool shots.

For more Skywatch photos, or to add your own, head on over to Wigger's World.

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25 comments:

Reader Wil said...

Hi Kim, you are a real professional in photography! Your photos are very good!

Anemone said...

Rally nice shots, and the firework always makes me feel like a child :-)

Nice and sunny weekend to you from Norway.

Dewdrop said...

Kim, these are INCREDIBLE! Thanks for sharing the process too!

Dancin' Fool said...

They are brilliant! I feel inspired to have a go!

Have a great weekend.

Pietro said...

These are splendid and interesting pictures!
Here in the North of Italy we have very fine and rich fireworks at Rapallo, a city on the sea, in Liguria.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Fireworks are had to photograph well, so congratulations!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Well done,
I have no luck with fireworks.. thank you for joining in with Sky Watch again Kim... Enjoy :O)

Julie said...

Fireworks are particularly difficult to catch. I do like your second burst though.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi! Happy belated Fourth of July. These are beautiful.

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

I think they're all great! Fireworks against the black sky - I'm from northeast Ohio!

John said...

Great shots and nice description, Kim!

8. If your camera has the function mirror lock-up, use it on shutter speed between 1/30 sec. and bulb.
That allows the reflex mirror to be locked in the up position before a shot. This function eliminates the camera vibration caused by mirror slap, helping the photographer produce sharper photos.
Have a nice weekend.

Champ Townboy said...

Best fireworks of 2008!!

Beantown Today said...

These are stunning!! Classics, for sure.

babooshka said...

Excellent collection. The light on the water is fanatstic, no glare, nice and shop. A job very well done.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Gosh...these are all so super!! I love how you have done this!
Mountain Retreat Photos

ellen b said...

Those are fabulous Kim! Thanks for the tips, too. Have a great weekend.

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Tash said...

I love the reflection of the already spectacular fireworks. So nicely done!

ArneA said...

Great Graphics
But no computer can make the photo out of nothing and your description of your process is good.
The eye for moments is most important and you catch it

Wilma said...

I don't like fireworks as the bangs frighten me and as I already have "issues" according to mummy, fireworks are never brought home. I do like looking at them however...yours were beautiful, bet they were really loud!
Thanks for visiting my blog, so glad you liked the walk.
xxx

Pretty Life Online said...

Perfect catch for SWF! Mine's up too hope you can drop by... Happy weekend!

The Texican said...

Nice photos and a lesson in firework photography. Who could ask for more?

AnneKa said...

Hallo from North Norway. Last week I saw all Sky Watch Friday photos and they were all great, and I hope to see them all this week too. I love to travel around the world this way.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful sky watch photos and have a great weekend!

Lilli & Nevada said...

Wow these are fantastic,you did good and thanks for sharing the information

Michael said...

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www.myspace.cn/liwenquan66
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