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06-28-2008, 12:44 PM   #1
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Fireworks with K100D

With The Fourth of July being celebrated in the U.S. and Guy Fawkes Day coming in a few months in England there will be some Fireworks photo opportunities.

My hometown had their fireworks show last night. My wife and I used:

K100Ds, tripods, kit lens set at 18mm, cable release, bulb mode.

I was set to ASA 800, a mistake since she did better with AUTO. I forgot how bright the fireworks would be even at 1/4 mile distance. Both of us started with the aperture wide open. After many over exposed images I switched to f 9.5. Soon she asked, "How do I change f-stop when I can't see the LCD display in the dark?" She knew what she needed but not that the display in the viewfinder is illuminated.

After 15 years of photographing fireworks we had our best year yet! Both of us took over 100 frames of 1-4 seconds timed by our thumbs on the buttons.

Below are some of my photos.

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06-28-2008, 01:41 PM   #2
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thanks for this post, I will be doing this next week! You will save me some time
and effort to get good results.
06-28-2008, 04:49 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by timbo13 Quote
thanks for this post, I will be doing this next week! You will save me some time
and effort to get good results.
me too! as soon as I can get a remote for my k10d!
06-28-2008, 05:31 PM   #4
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I've done quite a fair amount of fireworks shots with my DL, K100D, and K20D, and it sounds like you're got the basics down - for ISO, I'd definitely go with ISO 200, though. That will also help prevent the overexposure. ISO 200 and F8-11 (depending on taste and brightness of bursts) are the way to go, IMHO.

Make sure the long exposure noise reduction is off (frustratingly, not an option with the K20D, at least not yet).

The only other thing I'd suggest is maybe play with the white balance a little. Setting it to tungsten, or shooting raw and adjusting in post-production, you can get rid of the brown skies and give a more natural-colored sky.

06-28-2008, 07:02 PM   #5
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Great shots. I'm about to order my tripod and remote here very shortly.
06-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #6
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Nice shots!
Here are some of mine from Mazey day eve in penzance, cornwall, england.

All these shots were taken on a 18-55 lens the the cam set to full auto (because I had no idea what to set it too)...
not that sharp and bit blurred... these are some of the better shots...
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06-29-2008, 04:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPZ Quote
Nice shots!
Here are some of mine from Mazey day eve in penzance, cornwall, england.

All these shots were taken on a 18-55 lens the the cam set to full auto (because I had no idea what to set it too)...
not that sharp and bit blurred... these are some of the better shots...
Hello pentaxPZ,

Mazey Day?

Though I use full auto often, and it often works OK, fireworks are a bit tricky. As you noticed focus is a problem, the camera can't figure out what to focus on when shooting toward the sky. You should at least turn off autofocus and set it a little short of infinity. I focused before dark on the location where the morters were set up, the glowing spot at the bottom of the images.
----------------

Hi Groucho,

You are right, my ASA 800 was a mistake. My wife had better luck with ASA on Auto. I just checked one of her photos and PhotoME says it was 200.

Fifteen of her photos can be found on our cat Henri's web site:

Volunteer Fire Department's 2008 Fireworks Over Hamden!
06-30-2008, 04:27 AM   #8
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Yes Mazey day..... The Official Golowan Festival 2008 Website

the cam was full auto but manual focus as it would not focus at all...
I was holding the cam in a fresh wind so that is probably most of the blurr...

You must come here for the mazey weekend...
I will stick some pictures in a new thread soon for you all to see!

06-30-2008, 09:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPZ Quote
... You must come here for the mazey weekend...
I will stick some pictures in a new thread soon for you all to see!
The Mazey Festival looks delightful. I see it coincides with Midsummer, a bigger holiday in Western Europe than here in the U.S.

I've been to Great Britain four times for holidays of 2-3 weeks. I don't think my wife and I will be doing more long distance traveling. Alas, I did not get down to Cornwall. I'm looking forward to some more of your photos.

You mentioned the camera was handheld on a windy evening. Looking at the exposure times the third photo was the fastest at 1/20th second and indeed it is the sharpest. Thus, I think you are correct as to why the other photos (1/4 and 1/2 second) are blurred. I was too hasty to say focus.
07-01-2008, 11:35 AM   #10
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Nice!!! I will try tonight for Canada day
07-02-2008, 09:08 AM   #11
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Thanks for the tips. I may give it a try this weekend as we have lots of fireworks here in Philly.
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