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06-24-2010, 06:27 AM   #1
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Photographing fireworks

Does anyone have tips for me on capturing fireworks? It is something I have never photographed before, and now I have a job lined up so I want to make sure that I at least get one good photo.

06-24-2010, 07:06 AM   #2
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I did a number of web searches last year on this. I can't find the links now but here are a few to review:

Photographing Fireworks
NYIP - Photographing Fireworks | Shooting Fireworks with a Digital Camera | NYIP
Photographing Fireworks - Garry Black Photography
Smithsonian Photographers Shoot Fireworks

I had good results last year using my DA 17-70 lens shooting at around f8 to f11. ISO around 200-400 and using shutter speeds around 2-5 seconds. Tripod of course and trial and error until you get what you want. It's best to catch (start the exposure) the firework on the way up and through the burst and as it fades out.

A cable release is a good thing too to have.

Give it a try.

Manual mode, f8, 5.2 seconds, ISO400, 17mm


Manual mode, f8, 4.5 seconds, ISO400, 17mm

Last edited by blackcloudbrew; 06-24-2010 at 07:22 AM.
06-24-2010, 07:08 AM   #3
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there was a thread about a year ago,.

try doing a search as there were a lot of good tips.

Depending on what you want to achieve settings can very significantly.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-photography/80702-please-help-tak...-pictures.html

I also posted the following in the post your photos section



some of the issues involve whether you want only a starburst, or if you want to see the vertical trail of the firework as well as a burst, and whether the burst should be streaks of light or sharper points of light as in my shot.

Also, post processing comes into play here, by adjusting the level considered black, so that you can eliminate the smoke and only highlight the starburst.

Lots to review, then ask away
06-24-2010, 08:07 AM   #4
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I would suggest a tripod and 1-5 second shutter speeds. Am sure you'll get far more detailed advice from others, and I will be as interested in that advice as you.

06-24-2010, 08:31 AM   #5
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Critical - TRIPOD. A nice solid stable one
Very useful - Cable release with an easy method for "locking" the shutter. The official Pentax releases have a "push and slide" mechanism, I have a DIY release that has an actual toggle switch in parallel with the momentary shutter button. I flick the switch to open the shutter, and flick it back to close.

Focus to infinity in advance and put the camera in MF mode.

Buy a K10D since it's the highest resolution Pentax that doesn't have forced auto-DFS. Any newer unit will do forced auto-DFS (it'll take a dark frame exposure equal in time to the main exposure, so if you hold open the shutter for 10s, you'll have to wait 10s before the next shot.)

Use an aperture of around f/8-9 or so, ISO 100.
06-24-2010, 08:36 AM   #6
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I think a tripod is unnecessary unless you are doing a really lonmg exposure.

the starburst I recorded was hand held, tracking the "bomb" upward and triggering the shutter when it burst.

As I said, it all depends on the effect you want.
06-24-2010, 08:47 AM   #7
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Ah, very helpful to see some shots with your settings, blackcloudbrew.

I forgot to say that I'm stuck to using my D FA 100mm lens for this shoot as my DA* 16-50mm is being exchanged atm. Which means that I'll have to choose a hill that is a good distance away to shoot from.

Lowell, I definitely want a vertical trail and streaking burst. Sharper points of light is nice and everything, but it's not what I'm looking for in this situation. Do you have any suggestions, or recommendations?

Anyone have experience with the black paper trick? It sounds really cool...
06-24-2010, 08:50 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
Critical - TRIPOD. A nice solid stable one

Use an aperture of around f/8-9 or so, ISO 100.
Oh yes, by all means... there's no other way I'd do it than with a tripod.

I was thinking f/8 and ISO 100, so I guess I'm on the right track.

06-24-2010, 08:52 AM   #9
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This is strange, I just did 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 second manual exposures with my K7, (V1.0) and DFS did NOT kick in.! WTH?.
Or maybe I need to read the owners manual, how boring,

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 06-24-2010 at 08:58 AM.
06-24-2010, 08:57 AM   #10
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I shot my first fireworks this weekend
used the k20d with the kit lens zoom













I did nothing in PP and I'd like to hear your input on what to do cause I'm a total n00b when it comes to PP.
All of these were shot at ISO 100, f16-f22, 10 - 15 seconds
06-24-2010, 08:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
This is strange, I just did 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 second manual exposures with my K7, (V1.0) and DFS did NOT kick in.! WTH?.
Or maybe I need to read the owners manual, how boring,
interesting... neither did it kick in with my 10 to 15 sec exposures with my k20d (firmware 1.04)
06-24-2010, 09:01 AM   #12
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dankoBanana, those are excellent images.
06-24-2010, 09:04 AM   #13
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Awesome images, dankoBanana! Very nice work...
06-24-2010, 09:06 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
dankoBanana, those are excellent images.
thank you... I wanted to get the reflection from the lake since I thought it would make the pictures look a bit more attractive
I was so excited with the results that the next day I forgot to bring my camera ... felt really stupid when I realized I only had my tripod with me in the car
06-24-2010, 09:32 AM   #15
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There's a pretty good YouTube video on photographing fireworks from AdoramaTV...

Adorama TV from Adorama Learning Center
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