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12-26-2006, 05:49 PM   #1
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Fire works

New Years eve is just around the corner.

I have been invited to attend the night on board a boat on Sydney Harbour.

I have the following equipment, and was wondering what you might take, knowing that you do not want to carry to much gear on the night.
DS, ex 24-70 f2.8, ex 10-20 f4 5.6, ex 50-500 f5.6 6.3

How would you set up the camera.
AV or TV or P
ISO 800 or 1600
Spot or Centre Metering

Thank you in advance and I look forward to the responses.

12-26-2006, 06:14 PM   #2
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I'd go with the 24-70 for the aperture, Tv, center metering, and ISO 800. Also, remeber to set the camera to MF/infinity. You should have no problems with lighting since fireworks are quite bright

I'd use a fast shutter speed to "freeze" the fireworks, but a slow one would work nicely too, producing a soft effect.

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12-26-2006, 06:45 PM   #3
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Lens: depends how close to the fireworks you are going to be, but I believe 24-70 would do the job, 10-20 may help if you are very close or if you want to include wider area.

Mode: M mode, no metering is possible for fireworks. Start with 1/10s and f/5.6.

Aperture: If fireworks does not look bright and colorful open aperture. I don't think you will need faster than f/5.6 though. Once happy leave that aperture for the rest of the show, but check results from time to time (every 10 shots or so).

Shutter speed: Faster shutter speed will freeze fireworks, slower will produce long colorful lines. Both effects are wonderful, so vary shutter speed during the show to catch some of both. Vary speeds between 1s (or longer) and 1/30s.

Focus: manual, set to infinity. If you leave AF on you will get a big mess!!!

ISO is not critical, set ISO 400 and don't worry about it.


Arrive early (30 minutes) to pick your spot and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Try to frame in advance, see how various focal lengths work and be prepared to quickly zoom in/out if show changes.

Also, make sure you are not under any trees or power lines -- they may show on the final result. If you have flash you can use it to lit the crowd near you, while long exposure catches fireworks in the background.

Practice first: try this with cars on the road in the distance (100m/300ft away). Car headlights are of comparable brightness to fireworks, so you will get a very good idea how various Tv/Av/ISO combinations affect picture. But be ready to quickly adjust aperture if necessary once real show starts.

Hope this helps.
Happy shooting and post some results next year! :-)
12-26-2006, 07:17 PM   #4
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I used the kit lens on my DL to take this shot - Bulb mode (1.4sec, f/8, ISO400, 31mm). This was the first day I'd taken my DL (my first dSLR) out. I was happy with the result, but it's nothing special compared to other fireworks shots I've seen. I agree that you should vary the shutter speeds and apertures for different effects.

12-27-2006, 01:27 AM   #5
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Tripod may not help much on a boat!

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