Author Topic: Fireworks  (Read 798 times)

sue.pepin

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Fireworks
« on: December 22, 2010, 03:31:10 PM »
Keith, I would like to try and take pictures of the fireworks on Pikes Peak New Year's Eve.  Can you suggest some tips and settings?  I've never had good luck.  One setting would be a high ISO I imagine.

Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

keithsnell

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Re: Fireworks
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 08:48:37 PM »
Keith, I would like to try and take pictures of the fireworks on Pikes Peak New Year's Eve.  Can you suggest some tips and settings?  I've never had good luck.  One setting would be a high ISO I imagine.

Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Hi Sue,

I think you will get better results with a lower ISO and a longer shutter speed (on a tripod of course).  The longer shutter speed gives the fireworks a chance to spread out, and might possibly allow you to capture more explosions in one exposure.  In one of the Kodak guides, they recommend a "starting point" of f5.6 and a shutter speed of 3-4 seconds at ISO 100 for recording "bursts" of fireworks.  You can try these settings, and experiment from there.  Personally, I've found that I often need to stop down one aperture setting from the Kodak recommendation.  (In other words, use f8 instead of f5.6.  Maybe fireworks are brighter these days...)  

If the base ISO on your camera is 200, then don't forget to adjust your aperture to f8 to compensate for the higher sensitivity of the sensor.  You should try to anticipate the explosion and time your shutter release for the instant just before the explosion.  If you wait until the boom to press the shutter, you will miss much of the action.  If the fireworks are too bright, then adjust your aperture to a smaller opening.  This will reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor at any instant in time, but the longer shutter speed will still allow plenty of time to capture more fireworks in the "burst."

Obviously you will need a tripod, and a cable release will help keep the camera steady when you trip the shutter.

Now that I've given all these recommendations, I realized that the fireworks on Pikes Peak might be quite far away from where you are photographing, and therefore dimmer.  In that case, open up your aperture  :) (f4 would probably be OK with something like your 70-200) and once you've opened up your aperture then start bumping up your ISO as needed.  One way to "narrow in" on an appropriate ISO setting would be to manually set your shutter speed and aperture, then take a quick series of exposures while progressively raising the ISO.  That should help you narrow in on an appropriate ISO for fireworks at that distance.

Let me know how this works out for you.

Keith
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 09:10:31 PM by keithsnell »

sue.pepin

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Re: Fireworks
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2010, 09:24:21 AM »
Thank you Keith for the instructions.  I'm going to print them out and put them in my camera bag .... along with your other notes!  I wish I was as close as your old house, but I bet we are 15 miles from there at least.  Keep your fingers crossed I get a couple of good ones.