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Thread: pls provide some tips on fireworks shooting

  1. #1
    Senior Member erictan8888's Avatar
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    Default pls provide some tips on fireworks shooting

    hi,

    planning to head down to shoot the fireworks tomorrow night....

    read up on the article on clubsnap and a few other websites on taking fireworks photography....

    just like to ask:

    1. for taking fireworks, set to manual mode....
    but what abour the focus area? set to dynamic, single focus area, or closest area ?
    or manual, set to f16 to f22 then can liao ??
    pardon my ignorance..... manual focusing got such a thing as single, dynamic or cloesest focus one or not ?

    2. dun quite understand the bulb mode.... i am using D70... read the manual liao and it says that using the remote ML-L3, press one time on the remote to open the shutter and press another time to take picture....

    let's say i want exposure of 2 sec or 1 sec, how do i know when to press the remote again? do i have to measure the time and press myself? apologise if this question seem stupid... cause really not sure....

    3. what exactly does the bulb mode mean? mean i can decide the timing for shutter to remain open and set the f stop to my liking ? does it mean that, for instance, if i set the shutter to 1 sec and f16, and when i press the remote control, camera will open shutter for 1 sec and use f16 to take pics? if so, why camera manual say press remote another time to take picture???? i thought the 1 sec is counted by camera and not user ?? blur liao...

    4. keep reading about the black card thing.....
    still dun quite understand..... is it i open the shutter and then if i set the camera to 3 sec, then fireworks shoot and i find that cannot manage to take picture and cover lens with black card or what? sorry... i also dun know what i am talking about.... pls explain...
    how does the black card prevent the lens from firing a shot? i thought if exposure set at 2 sec mean the camera will take the shot when the 2 sec is up ?

    5. a lot of people talk about the benjamin shears bridge to take pics....
    how to access the place? thing of wanting the shenton way buildings as a backdrop rather than just fireworks on a dark sky.... shears bridge there can capture such a backdrop?

    sorry for lame questions.... dun want to mess up when go to shoot fireworks tomorrow....
    in singapore, dun get to see fireworks everyday....
    and so feel that need to do homework before going to shoot.....

    pls advise............. thanks
    Hope to learn from everyone here....

  2. #2
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    Well my best advise:
    Fire works photography has always been a hit and miss situation. Since going Digital, more misses than hits. The D70's NR will take about 30 secs by then you would have missed most of the shots.

    So do your best by using a very stable tripod and i do mean stable.

    Set cam to fully manual mode including focusing. Set lens to infinity and on wide angle (you won't want to miss anything), aperture to f16 or 22, shittle speed to bulb.

    Using remote release or on camera button, press and hold the shuttle open once the fire works hits the sky then release when that sequence is over. Then you wait for the NR to complete, repeat the sequence.

    Note that the whole display is only 10 minutes long at the grand finale.

    Good luck.

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    CS Main site has a article base, and inside that article base, Jed has an article on shooting fireworks. Go read.

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    Hi Eric,
    Sorry if I am not the right person to answer your queries, as I do not own a D70 nor do I profess to be a fireworks expert. The only thing I can do is share with you what I have done to get some good shots in the past.
    I am not sure what you are saying about all the focus are thing, but what I did was use a relatively wide lens and a very small aperture and manually focused to infinity.
    As for the bulb mode, it is to allow you to set the shutter speed to your own setting. most SLR have a slow shutter setting of only up to 30secs, so if you need a longer shutter speed, the only way is to select bulb.
    Like I said, I do not own a DSLR, but I should think it is the same as an SLR with electronic shutter. In general, for manual shutters, you use a shutter release cable which locks when your depress the button. This acts to hold the shutter in the open postion until you release the lock. I guess for the D70, it should be press once to open shutter, and again to close it.
    AS for composition, I have found it almost impossible to compose a picture with all your desired elements ie. background, actual fireworks position, the desired colour and bloom of the fireworks etc. all at the same time. Well for me at least. Anyway, what I would do with film was to find a position that gives me an unobstructed view of the fireworks and to compose it with the desired focal range and position and snap as much of the display as I possibly can while masking the other parts of the scene with a black card. After that, I rewind the film and do a double exposure of my desired backdrop (shenton way in your case).
    Hope this helps. and good luck!

  5. #5
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erictan8888
    1. for taking fireworks, set to manual mode....
    but what abour the focus area? set to dynamic, single focus area, or closest area ?
    or manual, set to f16 to f22 then can liao ??
    pardon my ignorance..... manual focusing got such a thing as single, dynamic or cloesest focus one or not ?
    As mentioned above, set aperture to f16 or f22 and manual focus at infinity


    Quote Originally Posted by erictan8888
    2. dun quite understand the bulb mode.... i am using D70... read the manual liao and it says that using the remote ML-L3, press one time on the remote to open the shutter and press another time to take picture....

    let's say i want exposure of 2 sec or 1 sec, how do i know when to press the remote again? do i have to measure the time and press myself? apologise if this question seem stupid... cause really not sure....

    3. what exactly does the bulb mode mean? mean i can decide the timing for shutter to remain open and set the f stop to my liking ? does it mean that, for instance, if i set the shutter to 1 sec and f16, and when i press the remote control, camera will open shutter for 1 sec and use f16 to take pics? if so, why camera manual say press remote another time to take picture???? i thought the 1 sec is counted by camera and not user ?? blur liao...

    4. keep reading about the black card thing.....
    still dun quite understand..... is it i open the shutter and then if i set the camera to 3 sec, then fireworks shoot and i find that cannot manage to take picture and cover lens with black card or what? sorry... i also dun know what i am talking about.... pls explain...
    how does the black card prevent the lens from firing a shot? i thought if exposure set at 2 sec mean the camera will take the shot when the 2 sec is up ?
    The black is used to "close" the shutter in between fireworks burst, for example once the 1st burst is up - open shutter, then place the black card in front of the lens to "close" the shutter, when the 2nd burst is up - take away the black card. this was used during the film days to catch more than one burst.

    If you shoot digital and use Photoshop then do not need to use bulb, the reason for using bulb is to keep the shutter open, this is so that you can catch more than one burst of fireworks. You can do this in Photoshop without doing the black card thing, and since the shutter is reduced there is no need for noise reduction and thus faster response from your camera. Just shoot individual bursts and PS them together. Just remember that the smoke from the fireworks just kills the image.

    Quote Originally Posted by erictan8888
    5. a lot of people talk about the benjamin shears bridge to take pics....
    how to access the place? thing of wanting the shenton way buildings as a backdrop rather than just fireworks on a dark sky.... shears bridge there can capture such a backdrop?

    sorry for lame questions.... dun want to mess up when go to shoot fireworks tomorrow....
    in singapore, dun get to see fireworks everyday....
    and so feel that need to do homework before going to shoot.....

    pls advise............. thanks
    doing homework is good, there is no need to be sorry and there are no lame questions.
    to get a background with some detail (eg. buildings) is nicer than a black sky.

    to get there you need to walk.
    happy shooting

  6. #6

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    My tips are simple. Use the following recommended items:
    • your camera (DSLR or film)
    • media or film
    • fresh camera batteries
    • a stable tripod
    • release shutter cable
    • black card (any black color cardboard size)
    Setup Procedure:
    1. Mount your camera to the tripod
    2. Recommend to use a wide angle so that you can compose the complete scenery e.g. CBD buildings and the fireworks area
    3. Use AF to focus lock the scenery and then switch to MF.
    4. Ensure the composition is level to the horizon ( can use spirit level to assist you ).
    5. Set camera to correct WB if you are using DSLR.
    6. Perform some exposure test with f11 and f16 (in aperture priority mode) and lowest ISO ( to capture best quality ) to capture the scenery with blue sky without fireworks.
    7. Once ready, set your camera to aperture from f11 to f16 , Blub mode.
    8. My recommendation method:
      for short firework burst e.g. 2 to 4 sec,
      - use f11
      - count "one thousand" .. "four thousand" and close shutter
      for longer firework burst e.g. 5 to 10 sec,
      - use f16
      - count "one thousand" ... "five / ten thousand" (after the firework disappear) and close shutter
    9. Use black card to block any overlapping fireworks.
    10. You should see some of shots have dark background. Use the step 6 exposure shots to superimpose with the firework shots. You should able to get some good exposure fireworks shots after processed.
    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

  7. #7

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    There's a wealth of information on the internet

    http://calphoto.com/firework.htm

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQueri...q-locale=en_US

    http://www.nyip.com/tips/current/digfirewks.php

    http://www.garryblack.com/fireworks.htm

    http://www.fireworks.co.uk/abt/photography.html

    In order to reach Benjamin's Shear's bridge, you have to look for a stairway somewhere along the road going towards ECP. A shortcut is to cut through the construction area behind Carrefour, walk through the grass patch and you will see the staircase. It's quite easy to find...
    Pictures always should have a special story behind it or a special meaning to the photographer.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman
    There's a wealth of information on the internet

    http://calphoto.com/firework.htm

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQueri...q-locale=en_US

    http://www.nyip.com/tips/current/digfirewks.php

    http://www.garryblack.com/fireworks.htm

    http://www.fireworks.co.uk/abt/photography.html

    In order to reach Benjamin's Shear's bridge, you have to look for a stairway somewhere along the road going towards ECP. A shortcut is to cut through the construction area behind Carrefour, walk through the grass patch and you will see the staircase. It's quite easy to find...
    Or you can start from burger king in Millenia Walk and walk straight towards the bridge, cross the traffic light and you should be able to see signs that leads you to the bridge, which you'll have to go through a walkway running through a construction site.

  9. #9
    Senior Member erictan8888's Avatar
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    just like to check: when would be the best time to close the shutter for a fireworks pic?

    do i close the shutter when
    1. the fireworks is brightest or
    2. when the brightness has all died down or
    3. when i finish counting the seconds eg when time is 3 sec if i want a 3 sec exposure?


    does it matter if i close the shutter when the fireworks is at the brightest or when it is not the brightest?
    i mean when i close the shutter, does it capture the last bright scene on the sky or does it accumulate all the lights that has entered the camera?
    for instance, would it make a difference if the shutter close when fireworks is brightest compared to when fireworks is not the brightest ? assume that aperture size and shutter speed the same.

    pls advise.... thanks
    Hope to learn from everyone here....

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