2nd August 2004, 09:42 AM
Yesterday I went down to Esplanade to capture the firework display and most of my photo shots are within 1 sec shutter speed.. Is this the normal/best shutter speed setting for taking firework?
2nd August 2004, 10:04 AM
No, usually you will need around 6-10 secs depending on the background's exposure, your aperture you wanna take, you lens's sweet spot, ISO settings etc..... But generally you will need at least 4s.
Originally Posted by Eyesthruthelens
For eg, my ultra wide angle lens sweet spot is f16...that is pretty dark. So i'd use 10-12s at least.
Your cam is a p&s or dSLR? If it's a p&s cam with no Bulb mode, it's different. Lets keep it simple and use the lowest ISO (50, 64 or 100), f5.6, 8 seconds. Try to trigger it when it's after a round of bursts, you should be able to include the flashes of the shells from the going up and then explode.
Good luck. Anyway, personally i don't find the SFF fireworks great. (esp if you have seen Esplande's opening or other countries' NY day fireworks).
2nd August 2004, 10:16 AM
with 10-12 seconds, your light trails will be super long and you dont have control over the composition. the next set of fireworks would likely have fired and your shot be messed up...
2nd August 2004, 10:24 AM
Yeah.. yesterday when the xposure is more than 1 sec, I can see that the firework became very messy.. for 12 sec exposure... do you have any shots to share?
2nd August 2004, 10:35 AM
Excuse me ah..hehe, for a P&S camera, without aperture and shutter speed settings. Is there anywhere I can take a good fireworks?
Last night, I uses 1.3s shutter speed. The pictures are over-exposed. I end up using normal mode, which are better than those 1.3s's pictures.
Seen a lot of topic on using shutter speed to take fireworks, seems like it doesnt work fine on me. Is there another way I can counter this problem? Tks alot.
2nd August 2004, 10:57 AM
Initially I used aperture control, setting to f8 but later just use auto mode. It happened so fast and really don't have time to try out the best setting.. in order not to waste the opportunity, I just switched to Auto..
Originally Posted by skyline_impreza
2nd August 2004, 02:43 PM
i would use iso 200, 4-6 seconds, F11-16
2nd August 2004, 03:02 PM
Actually, to clarify and to be more precise, i use a black card to control so-called "composition" all the while, it is more precise/controllable and you can react faster. You will never be able to control with 4-5 seconds, tried that so many times. 10s or more is good if you intend to take in both the low-level burst followed by the high-level burst...there is the height and layer feel to it. For eg last nite SFF USA, you could get a very good effect with the cauliflower + golden shower type of fireworks combined.....that is way more than 10s in fact.
Originally Posted by showtime
I find myself having more hits than misses than the usual quoted 4-5 second which is pretty plain with just a set or 2 patterns of cauliflowers. Of course, watch the exposure, avoid streaks burn-out. (controlled with aperture). You will need to develop a feel for it though and react accordingly, like obviously this > 10s rule cannot be followed for the initial or finale part which is usually quite "hiong", i usually go for the mid-part which has more quality ones and slower going which means i have time to react. Else it will become a mere documentation of fireworks and there is no feel.
Of course, that is my settings, you may like the conventional way.
Last edited by 2100; 2nd August 2004 at 03:09 PM.
2nd August 2004, 03:59 PM
You can take a look at photo gallery - Ready, lights, action. Saw rcnw's ones are 8+ seconds. They are not messy and there is 1 pic which is actually complete and many preferred that shot. Seriously, it really depends on your timing and the type of fireworks fired. The high level shells already need ard 3 seconds to travel all the way up, unless you do not want to take the ground muzzle fire + trail up.
Originally Posted by Eyesthruthelens
2nd August 2004, 07:22 PM
2nd August 2004, 07:34 PM
hmm how to judge when to shoot? hearing the sound, see the trail go up etc. I am very new to photography and even so for fireworks photograhy. My 1st take is at national day preview. 2nd one is the SFF US team.
Once the event start I was too anxious and begins anyhow shotting cos I cant judge the height of fireworks lolz.. so how do u anticipate it? Most of my shot is either too early or too late. Btw I using only a P&S cos' I new to photography. get a lower end one to learn 1st
Last edited by starry; 2nd August 2004 at 07:38 PM.
2nd August 2004, 08:52 PM
Hear sound already too late liao lor. Sound travels at 340.29 m/s at sea level, fyi.
Originally Posted by starry
It's pretty difficult for a p&s esp if one is not so experienced. You probably would not have bulb mode, but fear not as you can use this method (i have bulb mode but i tend to use this as it automatically closes the shutter, sometimes i forget the timing). Set it to the long shutter method (> 10 s) and you use a black card to block. This way you can even eliminate the shake if you touch the shutter release on the body (coz you don't have cable release, maybe you would have IR remote but that costs $$ so probably not.....i have been on this route before... ). Trigger the shutter open once you "feel" that a pattern has gone past and you wait for the ground to fire again, take away very fast once you see the "muzzle" fire (you should still be able to capture some of the muzzle fire). Once the shells have exploded, wait for the sparkle to die down, often that gives you the nice wispy effect at the end of the trails. If the exposure time is too short, the bloom will look stunted. Block the lens with the card (without touching it of coz) and wait for the shutter to close. You can take away the card again if you want another round of exposure within the same frame. Set the shutter speed accordingly as in longer if you want to have multiple exposures. You should be able to get pretty good shots since you have more control.
Other tips : If your pic has background/foreground objects (most probably buildings), take a few test shots first. For eg, it's around 4s f8 ISO 200 for the singapore skyline from sheares bridge, if you want to take longer it will be 16s f16 ISO 200. This is slightly underexposed as it's better than overexposure, you can PS it later. Your p&s settings will be slightly different as you will use the lowest ISO (maybe 64, 100) and bigger apertures but the concept is still the same.
Careful of firework streaks burn-out due to too big an aperture. Fireworks is metered via ISO and aperture, not shutter speed. Coz fireworks move across the frame (unlike static objects like buildings). You probably will stick to base ISO as that has the lowest noise, so you need to dial in a smaller aperture if you find that it is too bright on the LCD screen. Adjust the shutter speed accordingly if you have buildings in the frame but not too much. There is no recommended settings as the brightness of fireworks also plays a huge part. But basically, a good setting to start with is f16 for ISO 200, f8 for ISO 50. f10 for ISO 100 maybe?
For advanced exposure balancing during long exposures (eg 30s), you need to use the black card method. Fix the aperture, ISO, shutter speed. Get a good exposure of the foreground/background objects eg 15s. In between shots, cover the lens with black card. You need to time it approximately on the actual exposure (time in which the card has moved out of the way). Of coz luck plays a part here too. But i think this is not so relevant for SFF since the firing ground is just concentrated at one spot. During the Esplanade opening, it was WIDE and layered (pyro both on the bridge + seperate firing sites)......you could cramp in a few sets and get an extremely grand picture. Have you seen firework pics of the sydney bridge or at HK? Both wide and layered too. Anyway, not easy to shoot too.
If your p&s has manual focus, use it. Set it to 1 or 2 notches below infinity. Practise during daytime to see what setting is sharp. Set manual WB too, try not to leave it in auto (you can use the test shots)
Having a wide angle adaptor increases your chance too. In 35mm terms, 24mm is about the bare minimum.....unless you are really far away, which is impossible in Singapore because it is so cramped here. 18mm is good. Unless you are going close up on the shots....but usually people's preferences is more on wide. It is ok to take a few shots at 50mm or so, but not too much. It's pretty difficult to setup to zoom on tripod, you don't know where exactly the blooms will appear right?
A good fireworks photog check his site first. A really stupid way to take pictures is being downwind. Not much is mentioned about this, but this is a technique by itself. Then you kick yourself for spending 3 hours chopping place and all your pics sucks. Check the weather service too, www.nea.gov.sg, under weather link. Plan it before confirming wind direction at the actual location. Do your homework first.
2nd August 2004, 09:14 PM
Thanks for the advice. I think shooting fireworks are not easy. Timing is everything. although we want to stay open for 6-10 seconds, a sudden big burst of lights will wipe out the exposure.
3rd August 2004, 01:02 AM
Well, you are shooting like 3 frames every minute. For a short 8 minute show, you have at least 24 frames. You won't have so many misses one lar.
Originally Posted by ltma
3rd August 2004, 03:32 AM
Originally Posted by starry
(1) Use a tripod. You can do a Yahoo search on "how to take pictures of fireworks" and this would be the number one tip.
(2) IMO, most people will focus on capturing the big and beautiful ones. Before you start, you should have your camera angled in such a way that they will be within your viewfinder. For starters, set the view to the widest.You can always make adjustments during the show (You don't have to capture all of them, it's okay to miss a few) or PS them later. You can pretty much anticipate the bigger and higher bursts by looking at the trails (provided the background is dark) and then opening your shutter. Setting your exposure time to 5-15 secs is fine if you use the black card trick (30 secs might be too long for a 5 mins show). Just block the lens whenever you feel it is too bright or too cluttered. If you are serious about this fireworks photography thingy, then you should really get a cable release.
(3) Experience helps. Not many people can get good photos on their first try. The point is to know your camera well.
(4) Luck plays an important part too. You can have the best equipment but if you are at the downside of the wind, you will be capturing nothing but smoke after the first few shots.
(5) Last, but not least, enjoy the show. Nothing beats a performance when you watch it live and up close, with the whoos and ahhs.
Hope that helps
3rd August 2004, 08:05 PM
3rd August 2004, 09:35 PM
Now we know the basics, the best thing is to go out there and shoot. The more we shoot, the more we learn. Experiment and see what will happen. Fire works is normally < 15 minutes. The more we think during the shoot, the more adjustments we want to make, and more chances will be missed!
I made a mistake by switching my noise reduction function on while shooting raw last week. As a result, I had to wait a long time for the processing and download to the CF. With limited buffer on D100, I missed good shooting opportunities. I should have shoot in JPEG mode instead!
Those who are shooting digital, are you shooting JPEG or raw??
3rd August 2004, 10:13 PM
I shoot JPG all time. First try shooting fireworks at padang. I find it too much smoke as the fireworks frequency/tempo is too high.
I'm not experience at fireworks at all, but manage to get some shoots. You can get some reference from my photos for those using 10D/300D.
4th August 2004, 05:05 PM
5th August 2004, 10:04 AM
anyone wld kindly advise what are e best settings to set on a digicam (Manual Mode) to snap fireworks? thanks.
btw what does a P&S camera stands for?