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  • MyBabyBay

    • Recently I put up a post on Bon Odori Festival Fireworks and someone asked me how to take fireworks shot. It was taken by my hubby as photography is his side passion. My hubby left a detailed comment in the post and I thought I will create it as a post to share information. For those photography “kaki”, here is some information on taking fireworks shot, complimentary from my beloved hubby.

      Photography is all about painting with light. For shooting fireworks, the surrounding area is usually very dark and the fireworks can be too bright if you stand too close. So, find a place where you can frame a picture not only the fireworks but objects surrounding it(ie. buildings, people, cars…etc..) to show how big the firework is.

      To shoot the fireworks, I used Manual mode, switch the shutter speed to BULB and aperture to f11. Actually there is no exact formula for this setup. Most of the time just trial-and-error only. I setup my camera on a sturdy tripod and control the shutter release with a remote wire release. The idea is to avoid camera shake as much as I can. Imagine you are painting on a canvas, and you try to draw a straight line on the canvas. If there is an earthquake and the canvas start shaking and vibrating, you will never able to draw a straight line. Therefore, the camera(the canvas) must be as stable as possible to allow light “painting” on the camera sensor. So, hand holding the camera while shooting fireworks is definitely a no-no. You will get a blur picture because of long exposure.

      Next, I prefocus on a spot where I think is close to where the fireworks will be at. This will make sure that I have a properly focused firework. Also I set my Aperture to as small as possible, for this case f11. Smaller aperture produces longer DOF(Depth of Field). However, the drawback is that you will have less light(resulting in dark picture) getting into the sensor if you use smaller aperture.

      Anyway, to cut the story short(I’m already cutting the story really really short here 😀 ). Place your camera on a tripod or somewhere that is stable(the back of your husband is not a stable platform, he is made of 70% liquid) and fire away. If you are using a dSLR camera, you have better control of the picture you want to produce by using Manual mode. If you are using a digicam, maybe you can just set to Shutter Priority(Tv) mode and set the shutter speed to 4 sec to 8 sec. Actually, it depends on how fast the fireworks explode(I believe windspeed has some effect on this too) and how long the trail of light you would like to produce. Like I’ve said, there is no one formula for this setup. You will need to experiment by judging how long you want to expose the camera sensor for a period of time(ie. 2 sec, 4 sec, 8 sec…..etc..)

      Well, here is a SHORT answer to your question. Hope I managed to give you the answer you are looking for. 😆