Friday, 29 October 2010

Beyond the Lens - Shooting Fireworks

Written by Tamara Kwan of TammyLynn Photography

The annual Ebley Fireworks display was this past Monday. I organized a group of about 20 Stroud Camera Club members to meet up and shoot the fireworks. This was an exercise on night time photography and sharing knowledge on the best way to capture fireworks. The previous week we had another practical evening where we all had a go at capturing moving light displays, this was an extension on that.

The best way I’ve found to capture firework displays is to plan ahead and arrive early. Definitely use a tripod or similar support. Long exposures are a must to capture the trails of light. You don’t need a high ISO as you might think you’d need shooting at night and F-stops aren’t all that important when shooting long distances on long exposures. Also with really long exposures you don’t need to worry with mirror lock ups as the tiny vibration the mirror might cause won’t be noticeable with long exposures. A cable release is handy but not necessary.

The shot above was shot with a Canon 5D II, 24-70 2.8 L lens on a tripod with these settings: ISO 100; f/10; for 8 seconds at focal length of 57mm. I left white balance on its auto setting and shot in raw format. Only a few tweaks in photoshop required. It was originally shot in landscape format, I cropped the sides away getting rid of the dark edges and making the fireworks the centre of attention. 

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