Fireworks on CNY eve Part 2


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Red Dawn

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Jan 17, 2002
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Hi

alas, it should have been obvious - fireworks fire in a near vertical fashion (at least, in safe Singapore, that should have been a given). When the first burst shot up in the air, nearly all the photographers there were rudely awakened - we have been framing the wrong area. Fireworks appear to our left, and there was no nice backdrop from where i was standing (and i suspect, for most pple). It was already too crowded along the bridge, with pple everywhere, and certainly not practical to change positions. Plus, there's a few hundred metres of the Sheares Bridge to cover for the best angle, and i'm not sure if i am up for that kind of jog, with all that equipment!

Anyway, here are some of the better fireworks shots - not the best examples certainly, but a marginal personal improvement over my performance at last year's NDP fireworks display :) This year's display lasted way over 10 minutes, and is one of the most extravagant displays i've seen, surpassing even the one on NDP last year, in my opinion. Someone obviously overworked the national budget ;P

Enjoy!

All shots: EOS D30 with Sigma 20mm f1.8 in manual mode f8, bulb timed exposure







 

Red Dawn

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Hi

The smiley face fireworks again made an appearance this year, and again, i didn't really manage to catch the face :|









 

Wai

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errr...how long is bulb timed exposure??

sigh...i missed the firework today...sleep until 11.45pm just now!!

is it possible to avoid or remove the smoke using PS??

anyone taken firework with Slide film before?? will u able to see the "3d effect" that slide gives?
 

Red Dawn

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Originally posted by kamwai
errr...how long is bulb timed exposure??

sigh...i missed the firework today...sleep until 11.45pm just now!!

is it possible to avoid or remove the smoke using PS??

anyone taken firework with Slide film before?? will u able to see the "3d effect" that slide gives?
the smoke in the pictures seem to be "moving" - the wind was pretty strong and some of my shots seem to be suffering from some motion blur of the fireworks in mid air - u can clearly see the trace of movement for those exposures more than 1 sec.

Anyway, taking fireworks with slide film is pretty much the same for digital. i'm no expert in evaluating slides but ckiang's slides from last yr's NDP fireworks looked pretty good - on par with anything shot on slide film. (i believe he used velvia the other time...not too sure)

i used an aperture of f8 and ISO 100 so as to give a longish exposure but yet an exposure that is enough to capture the foreground interest (in this case, it's the background of the skyline). F16 would have been a bit too much as it would require a longer exposure to bring out the background, and too long exposure will burn out the fireworks display.

how long are my bulb exposures? Depends. Looking through my pics, the longest i've held on is 5 secs. Some 1 sec exposures are totally burnt out; while some 3 secs one are well exposed. it depends on the level of activity in the sky - i've found that at the peak of the fireworks display, when the sky is FULL of sparks, the pics tend to overexpose even with 1 sec exposure. The best way to capture them is to open up the shutter when those sparks start ascending into the night sky, then close the shutter the min the "flower" of the fireworks open up. This should give nice trails going up exploding into a flowery display (for lack of a better term to describe)

Anyway, there's no guarantee so just shoot as many frames as possible and hope for some usable ones :)
 

Jed

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I like the first one on this page the best!
 

Tweek

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Yes I too find the first shot really nice! Pardon this silly question, but what is the idea behind using bulb mode for fireworks? Will it be difficult to control the exposure?

And yar, where are the entrances to sheares bridge?? I only know one behind suntec, but that leads to the other side of sheares bridge, can't get a good view of the city skyline.

ckiang and simon, waiting to see ur fireworks shots too!
 

afiend

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Ver nice pictures... I like the colours. :)

Could you explain briefly what is timed bulb mode and how did u execute the shot?
 

sbs99

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U all were very close to the fireworks set off point? I noted u used a 20mm....tat close ah. Hehehe
The noise must had been a rude shock in the beginning. LoL

Nice shots by the way. Wanted to go down...but became very lazy bout 8plus..probably the dinner. LoL
:D
 

quackaroo

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Bulb Mode: Total control of how long you want the exposure to last with a press of the button. The longer you hold, the longer the shutter will open.

Timed Bulb Mode: erm dont think there's such a thing? that way its the camera's own shutter speed settings.

hmmm ive tried taking fireworks before from a super long distance. i think the bulb mode just give the advantage to the camera man to start when he thinks its right and to end when he thinks its right?

i mean it would be quite difficult to estimate and set on the camera the exposure time when you dont really know how long that sequence of fireworks you wan to capture will end.

so the simple solution will be to hit the bulb mode. that way you have total control

am i answering the question?

(correct me if im using the wrong terminology :)
 

zhapchit

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the pics were loading very slowly :(
is it the server or is it the cable connection? :rolleyes:
 

Red Dawn

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Originally posted by sbs99
U all were very close to the fireworks set off point? I noted u used a 20mm....tat close ah. Hehehe
The noise must had been a rude shock in the beginning. LoL

Nice shots by the way. Wanted to go down...but became very lazy bout 8plus..probably the dinner. LoL
:D
actually, 20mm on a D30 is not nearly wide enough......so i confined myself to shooting the lower fireworks that were set off - some of them really arced very high into the night sky!

you should have gone down - very nice display and atmosphere. I regretted not taking

1) the crowds and their reaction on seeing the fireworks
2) the many cars that stopped and the drivers who pulled over for the fireworks display, causing a small jam on the ECP!

next time, after satisfying myself with the fireworks shots, i should really turn around and shoot the pple......
 

Red Dawn

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Originally posted by quackaroo

Timed Bulb Mode: erm dont think there's such a thing? that way its the camera's own shutter speed settings.

(correct me if im using the wrong terminology :)
oops...actually i shouldn't have used the term "timed bulb mode". i originally meant shutter speed timed using bulb mode ;p
 

Red Dawn

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To afiend and tweek (and whoever interested)

bulb mode is the mode whereby at the press of the shutter release, the camera's reflex mirror moves up and exposes the film / CCD for as long as you hold down the shutter release. Most of the modern remote release cables have a lock for the button, whereby you just lock the shutter button and don't have to keep holding onto the shutter release.

Bulb mode is preferred because it's very easy to burn out fireworks due to the strong intensity of the display. What you want is to capture the fireworks only when it's in full bloom, and to avoid exposing longer than necessary because you WILL get overexposed fireworks. i open only when the trails start ascending into the night sky, and close as soon as blooming occurs. Some of my shots are overexposed cos there's simply too many simultaneous bursts in the sky, and even with a short 1 sec exposure, overexposure still occurs. So it's very much a timing thing - and bulb mode gives you the flexibility to decide on the timing of exposure. If one has a black card, it will even be better for capturing multiple bursts in the sky - simply cover the lens with the black card after every burst instead of ending the exposure - you prevent burning of the foreground cos of the black card, and only expose the lens again on the next burst.

It is possible to shoot fireworks handheld at high ISO and with extremely short shutter speeds to capture the bursts though, with human subjects lit by second curtain sync flash in the foreground (just look at some past Straits Times NDP photos) so bulb mode is definitely not the only way to shoot fireworks.

In addition, Jed has an old article here that is a pretty handy guide on how to shoot fireworks.
 

ckiang

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I used Provia 100F, my current favorite slide film for this and for my NDP shots. Now, because of the holidays, I won't be able to send them in for processing and scanning, earliest I can post is probably next Monday. :( More advantages of doing digital....

If anyone's interested, my NDP 2001 shots on Provia 100F is
here.

NDP 2001 Preview Fireworks shots here.

Actual day shots : Nikon F100, Nikkor AF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5D
Preview shots : Nikon FE, Tamron 35-70mm f3.5

Regards
CK
 

ziploc

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Originally posted by Red Dawn


Nice shots Red Dawn! And thanks for sharing the techniques for taking them. I think the above shot has a very artistic look. I think it will be the best shot with a tighter crop on at the bottom/left. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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