Techniques for Shooting Fireworks


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Jan 29, 2003
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#1
Hi all,

I was shooting the fireworks from the NDP rehearsal last Saturday. I find that the smoke from the fireworks can appear as unsightly grey patches on the black sky.

Can anyone provide tips on shooting fireworks. What is the best F-stop to Shuttle Speed ratio, etc

Thanks :)
 

eikin

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Apr 27, 2004
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#2
Belleforte said:
Hi all,

I was shooting the fireworks from the NDP rehearsal last Saturday. I find that the smoke from the fireworks can appear as unsightly grey patches on the black sky.

Can anyone provide tips on shooting fireworks. What is the best F-stop to Shuttle Speed ratio, etc

Thanks :)
i don't think there's such ratio, but i prefer to expose for the environment most of the time as fireworks are rather meaningless without context

 

#3
Guess would works best if you are using a bulb setting. remote release cable. Set the aperature to at least f/8. when you see the first flare going up, hold the button down and release after you have the desired numbers of fireworks. maybe 2-3. try to shoot wide angled and get the first few fireworks and the last few normally will have the smoke from the first few flying about in the sky.
 

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#6
Eikin is right, including a foreground sure makes the composition a lot more interesting. Will try again on NDP.

I was using 5 sec exposure at f14. The photos turned out ok except that the grey patches on the sky caused by the smoke are pretty annoying. How do you get rid of those? (besides PS) :dunno:
 

shobey

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Apr 3, 2006
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#7
eikin said:
i don't think there's such ratio, but i prefer to expose for the environment most of the time as fireworks are rather meaningless without context

Beautiful shot! I believe that's Yokohama Japan. I will be making a trip over and will pop by Kamakura 10aug for the fireworks fest. Heard from my GF that their fireworks are much longer and interesting. One question. Can i use my D70s to capture them or should I use film cameras? Thank you.

Best,
Sho
:)
 

eikin

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#10
the picture was taken in RAW mode at f8, 15 sec exposure, with foreground processed with +1 exposure in PS. f8 was used to expose for the building at 15 sec.

timing is crucial, fireworks show in Japan have a typical setting. usually a fireworks show comprise of 40 to 50 sets of fireworks (each set sponsored by particular companies) each set of fireworks typically starts with low fireworks and progressively build up to big and high ones. after each set there's a pause of about 5 to 10 secs. this picture is taken at about the ending of a set, just enough to capture the last few high bursts of the set, with the break time for the camera to expose for the environment. but the contrast between the building's lighting and the people in the foreground is too large, so had to compensate in PS for the foreground people.

shobey: that's great, Kamakura's event this year is not very big, 2900 fireworks with biggest at no.10 (diameter thing, not sure how to convert :p ) the biggest in Tokyo are Sumida River (last saturday, 20,000 fireworks with biggest at no.20) and Tokyo Bay (12th August, 12,000 fireworks with biggest at no.15) be sure to be early to grab your place, and watch out for restrictions around the areas, had a bad experience at the Sumida one ;(
 

shobey

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#11
eikin said:
the picture was taken in RAW mode at f8, 15 sec exposure, with foreground processed with +1 exposure in PS. f8 was used to expose for the building at 15 sec.

timing is crucial, fireworks show in Japan have a typical setting. usually a fireworks show comprise of 40 to 50 sets of fireworks (each set sponsored by particular companies) each set of fireworks typically starts with low fireworks and progressively build up to big and high ones. after each set there's a pause of about 5 to 10 secs. this picture is taken at about the ending of a set, just enough to capture the last few high bursts of the set, with the break time for the camera to expose for the environment. but the contrast between the building's lighting and the people in the foreground is too large, so had to compensate in PS for the foreground people.

shobey: that's great, Kamakura's event this year is not very big, 2900 fireworks with biggest at no.10 (diameter thing, not sure how to convert :p ) the biggest in Tokyo are Sumida River (last saturday, 20,000 fireworks with biggest at no.20) and Tokyo Bay (12th August, 12,000 fireworks with biggest at no.15) be sure to be early to grab your place, and watch out for restrictions around the areas, had a bad experience at the Sumida one ;(
Ah Soka! Thank you very much for the valuable info. Guess I will have a trial shoot at Kamakura ( not allowed to skip cos that's her hometown):nono: and prepare for the bigger one at Tokyo Bay.

Btw, what kinda restrictions should I be aware of? Any idea where should I position at the Tokyo Bay venue? Much apprecieted. Thank you.

Sho :thumbsup:
 

eikin

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#12
shobey said:
Ah Soka! Thank you very much for the valuable info. Guess I will have a trial shoot at Kamakura ( not allowed to skip cos that's her hometown):nono: and prepare for the bigger one at Tokyo Bay.

Btw, what kinda restrictions should I be aware of? Any idea where should I position at the Tokyo Bay venue? Much apprecieted. Thank you.

Sho :thumbsup:
there are many places available around Odaiba and Shiodome waterfronts, there are fireworks magazines in Japan, you can browse the maps for the locations ;)
 

sigg

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May 4, 2005
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#15
shobey said:
Can i use my D70s to capture them or should I use film cameras? Thank you.

Best,
Sho
:)
You can use, its the photog that makes/break a pic.
 

esmondng

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#16
unless there's wind to disperse the smoke quickly, otherwise usually only the first few bursts are good. after tat u can pack up and go home le. (unless u PS lah)
 

eikin

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#17
SilentWave said:
It's a beautiful fireworks photo you got there, eikin. Well done.
thanks SilentWave, and best of luck for those shooting SFF this year, be early to get the best spot, if not end up like me last year, 1 blockhead and the whole thing's gone.

here're somemore from japan
Yokohama -> http://eikin.zoto.com/galleries/goinjapan16/1
Sumidagawa -> http://eikin.zoto.com/galleries/goinjapan17/ (bad experience for this one :( the authorities blocked off so many places people are forced into the alleys :thumbsd: )
 

VR2

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#18
shots wif blue skys r superb in yokohama.. :thumbsup:
if only the burst can be bigger..
 

knpan

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#20
oh and asking here, where do u focus onto when shooting the fireworks? setting to wideangle 18mm and focusing almost anywhere(you get it) is all right?
 

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