Thursday, July 04, 2013

Photographing Fireworks

As a photographer, I think about photographing fireworks each year.  In going back through slides that we took 30-40 years ago I found fireworks photos.

The first year I took digital firework shots, I researched on the internet and got some ideas. The nice thing about digital is that you can shoot a test shot early in the evening to make sure you aren't over exposing.  You can make adjustments that will last until the time for the Grand Finale.  

From 2004, here are some of my firework images along with their settings.

2 sec, f/16, ISO 100, Canon 10D

2 sec, f/16, ISO 100, Canon 10D

In 2010, we were in Breckenridge and I tried to get shots that showed the fireworks over the sweet town.  

3.2 sec f/13, ISO 400, Canon 5D

I had tried the same thing back in 2005 when I was visiting Debra in Malibu, California.  The fireworks were launched from barges in the ocean.  This one captures the ocean, beach and an observer.

From professional Kathy Adams Clark's blog is another new way to photograph fireworks.  Since I happen to love motion blurs, I am going to try this tonight.  Have the focus sharp at the beginning of the burst and then change the focus during the exposure.  Click here to see some examples.  The article with more information is at, Make Unique Fireworks Photos Using Focus Blur.  

When the end is near, that great crescendo of fireworks is a challenge. It is very important to reduce your exposure significantly when it starts.  In the excitement of the moment, I've never gotten it quite right. The finale happens so quickly so you don't have much time to make adjustments as you shoot.

Don't forget to enjoy the fireworks themselves.  Step away from the camera every now and then to appreciate the beautiful show.

I'm finishing this blog with photos from other years and other cameras.  

I wish for you a Happy Fourth of July!  

1 sec, f/13, ISO 400, Canon 5D

4 sec, f/16, ISO 100, Canon 5D

2 sec, f/13ISO 200 Canon 5D MKII

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