Friday, July 18, 2014

Questions about fireworks

The family getting ready for fireworks
    Every year I go watch the fireworks with my friends and since I can't help my self my camera and equipment comes along too.  My friends tend to ask me a lot of questions about taking photos of fireworks. One of them is also into photography and brings her camera with us.  I don't know how her camera works so I give the best advice I can based on what she understands and has explained about her camera.  I thought in this post that I would address her most common questions.
All the boats on lake Cascade
One of the most important things is to bring a tripod.  This is the best way to stabilize your camera and keep from blurring the image.  Another important thing is a shutter release, so you don't have to touch the camera.
What it looks like when you miss
The next thing to think about is your location.  Its best to get to the area the fireworks are or where you want to be before its dark.  Its not always easy to know where the fireworks will be in the sky but try to make a good guess because you'll want to attempt to focus the camera before its dark.  If you know your lens really well, the focus can be done during the fireworks.  Just be ready for some unfocused photos till you get the hang of the process.

Now for the more technical stuff.  Starting with the F-stop, the smaller the number the more light allowed through the lens.  Then you need to worry about the shutter speed.  To have a chance to capture the light of the fireworks you need a long shutter speed.  With shutter speed I start around 2'3", and 4 on the F-stop and make sure I look at the image before adjusting from that point.
There are some fun ways to change the normal firework photo.  I like to turn the camera around and photograph the crowd.  Another fun thing is on a long exposure start on one spot then rotate the camera a small amount.
Moving the camera
Let me know your fun tricks for firework photographs.