Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tips for Photographing Fireworks

This is a nice article, written by Trey Ratcliff

Taking photographs of fireworks is great fun -- and very challenging. Veteran photographers know these tricks, and I wanted to share some with you.

Now, you can take photos as well as the stereotypical creepy-uncle-photographer.

1) Get your camera on a stable surface.

2) Turn off your flash.

3) Get something else in the photo besides the exploding firework to give perspective and set the scene.

4) Set your focus once on a distant light, then switch to manual focus for the rest of the fireworks show.

More advanced tricks, for people with fancier cameras:

5) Do you have auto-bracketing? Set it up so that your exposures are 1, 2, and 4 seconds apart. That would be -1, 0, and +1 with the anchor at 2 seconds. Since you never know how many fireworks will explode at once, this adds a random timing element to combat the random timing of the burst pattern.

6) (intermediate tip) Set yourself up in Aperture priority and set the aperture to as low a number as possible. If you don't feel comfy enough in Manual, then Aperture priority mode will figure out your Shutter speed.

7) Turn off auto NR (Noise-Reduction). If it is on, the computer in your camera will take an extra long time to get rid of the noise after each shot… and you'll miss valuable bursts!

8) Keep your finger on the power-off button! If you are in the middle of a long exposure, and you have just seen a pleasing pattern of fireworks with your human eyes, TURN OFF the camera. This will close the shutter and complete the photo, saving you from possibly covering up the nice firework with a new burst.

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