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06-15-2021, 07:35 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Fireworks: Breaking the rules.

If you live in the U.S. or other areas with a number of fireworks shows coming up, here's an idea for a couple of un-traditional techniques to capture them. Normally, everyone says to set up on a good sturdy tripod, set your focal length, exposure settings, and then fire with a remote shutter release, or something similar. Well I like to do things out of the ordinary. For these shots, I ignored all the advice and rules of thumb.

For the first one I did use a tripod, but I did a zoom pull during the exposure. As a result, it looks like a fireworks shot was overlaid on another exposure of a group of guys watching a sparkling fountain. This was shot with a single exposure, doing the pull quickly at the start of the exposure during the main explosions, then leaving it an extended time to expose longer at the wider angle to get the group standing about. Total exposure was 2.5 seconds, starting at the long end of my 18-135mm WR lens and ending the exposure at 18mm.

The other photos were shot at various focal lengths and exposures, but the difference here is they were all shot free handed. Yes, I free handed fireworks! In these, I would purposely pan the camera in various directions to cause the fireworks to streak across the frame. Sometimes I would pan up and down, sometimes arcing the camera, sometimes a sweeping pan, etc. As you can see, you can get some interesting shapes as a result. Some are just abstract, but often times they look like something you'd see in the ocean or comets like you see here. In the past, I had one that looked almost like a tulip, complete with the stem!

This is a fun technique in that it doesn't take a lot of skill, but it does require some luck. These are a small number of photos from a large batch that was mostly unusable. The quality of the display, wind, viewing location, your motions, timing of the exposure, and the specific firework(s) in the frame all have to line up to get a really noteworthy shot.

06-15-2021, 07:46 PM - 1 Like   #2
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It is always interesting to see what happens when you experiment; I have taken photos of fireworks with more mundane techniques, thanks for sharing your experiments.
06-15-2021, 08:06 PM - 1 Like   #3
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What fun! I am going to have to remember those tricks.

06-15-2021, 10:12 PM - 1 Like   #4
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You have done a fascinating thing here. I love most of the shots. The first technique is pretty impressive, Iím familiar with it, not for fireworks but a bunch of other stuff. What I really like is the second & third handheld shots. Amazing abstract photography.
Well played , out of the box. Thatís a creativity booster. Thanks for sharing.

06-15-2021, 10:13 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Looks like tons of fun! I actually feel like getting fireworks shots.
06-16-2021, 04:39 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Well taken, like the idea of this and will try it out when I get a chance. Random movements added to the other variables make for a jamboree bag of photography fun.
06-16-2021, 05:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michail_P Quote
What I really like is the second & third handheld shots.
Those would be my two picks of the handheld bunch as well. I would uploaded some of my better ones from past displays, but that was before I joined the Pentax family.

06-16-2021, 05:42 AM   #8
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Very interesting ideas and great results. It will be great to have Independence Day fireworks return this summer.
06-16-2021, 08:47 AM - 1 Like   #9
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These are superb. I'm going to try it!
06-16-2021, 09:35 AM - 1 Like   #10
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May have to try out some of your tricks. Thanks.
06-16-2021, 10:22 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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Those are very interesting. Experimenting is lots of fun and can def lead to new avenues.
06-26-2021, 05:46 AM   #12
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I really like the creative way of your fireworks photography. I've tried shooting fireworks only once many years ago, and I think I just placed the camera on some railing, tucking the neck strap under the lens to point it upwards as much as possible. Then I just set the lens opening around f/5.6, ISO around 400 and selected a very slow shutter speed, several seconds. At the end the results I achieved were not stellar by any means, but I still got one or two fairly decent shots.

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