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Thread: Firework

  1. #1
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    Default Firework

    Hi,
    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?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eyesthruthelens
    Hi,
    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?
    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.

    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).

  3. #3
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    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...

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    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?

  5. #5

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skyline_impreza
    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.
    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..

  7. #7
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    i would use iso 200, 4-6 seconds, F11-16

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by showtime
    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...
    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.
    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.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eyesthruthelens
    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?
    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.

  10. #10

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    These aren't mine, but just to show you the true beauty of long exposure fireworks. Else the usual stuff you see in galleries they look pretty normal. Oh yea, to make it more interesting, you may wish to frame it together with some in the foreground/background, or some general landscape/buildings/trees shilouette. Even the crowds will work, just use a flash and the foreground will be lit. It will give the pics some meaning instead of mere fireworks documentation.

    But i think for SG type, all the few i have gone to (about 10 of them) look good at 15-20s max. That'd give you 2 or 3 "layers". Maybe here in SG we like it INTENSE.

    http://www.pbase.com/ziggers/fw03


    Look at Noir's, the pics got meaning right? Multiple layers too. http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=86082

  11. #11

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    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.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by starry
    hmm how to judge when to shoot? hearing the sound, see the trail go up etc. 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
    Hear sound already too late liao lor. Sound travels at 340.29 m/s at sea level, fyi.

    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.

  13. #13
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    2100,

    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.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ltma
    2100,

    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.
    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.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry
    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

    (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

  16. #16

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    1stly thanks 2100 and Yildun for your teachings

    To 2100: Ya i check nea for winds but i cant find info on it so i just stand on the bridge loh.. got lots of poor pics.. dare not show ppl here hmm really hor i feel i too anxious liao.. always miss judge.. btw do u think I can get cable release for a80? i wanted to get but forgotten till during the fireworks i saw ppl using... abt black card technic.. also for a80? thot for those SLRs

    To Yildun: I 100% agree on your last pt.. i was too anxious then didnt really get to see the display haha.. i got a feeling of emptiness on my road home leh.. maybe becos i have to see thru viewfinder and not the LCD and end up keep adjusting my cam for big brusts..



  17. #17
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    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??

  18. #18

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    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.
    http://www.pbase.com/wyaw

  19. #19

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    have a look at my gallery i need to learn from my mistakes http://www.walrusblog.com/modules.ph...view_album.php

    some already comments at this topic http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=86394


  20. #20

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    Hi,

    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?

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