Fireworks including tips and hints - Post yours

AussiePhil

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Whilst Olympus promotes live composite as the perfect fireworks shooting mode I personally never seem to end up in spots with interesting foregrounds and i end up shooting generally just the fireworks. For this i fall back on the old film guidelines of F8@ISO 100 and 4 to 8 seconds or more of exposure.

Fireworks can be treated under the same rules as flash lighting.
The aperture sets the exposure for the fireworks
The shutter speed sets the number of explosions or the length of the trails.

Trail length will also be influenced by your aperture as they get dimmer the longer the trail

So F8 - ISO200 - 4 sec becomes a base starting point, your distance from the display, the number of fireworks in the frame, the colouring will all factor into the Aperture setting.

some examples
F8, 3.2sec, ISO400
The increased ISO did result in some blown highlights but i was quite a distance away as well
3190164-P3190164 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Same settings, close to the end of the show, the total number going off illustrate the aperture controlling the exposure.
3190166-P3190166 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Now lets move in closer
F6.3 to balance the ISO64 setting, shutter 3.2 again
Here i'm getting solid bright trails frame the wider aperture
020261-_3179987 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Back to F8 and you can see the difference in the trails, they are thinner
020193-_3170016 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Now we are even closer and square to the display area
F8 is still set but exposure time is out to 6 seconds to get foreground that is lit up by the fireworks
000798-P3187594 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
F8, 6 seconds again
000803-P3187599 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
 

travelbug

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Joined
Oct 20, 2014
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334
Here are some of mine
These were shot with the epm1 and rokinon 12/2 using normal bulb mode. I tend to shoot at f/11 to f/16 for these kinds of shots cause I wanr the dark background and also want to hide the smoke:

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These below were taken with the 12-40pro and em5ii using livecomp at 1secs interval. As one can see both techniques work:

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Phocal

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Jan 3, 2014
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Houston
I won’t see any fireworks this year as I’ll be in Big Bend National Park. But there could be a good thunderstorm on the 4th so hopefully I’ll get to shoot some lightning.
 
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Fireworks taken last night in Butte, MT. Taken using LiveComp and LiveTime.

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ac12

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Apr 24, 2018
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SF Bay Area, California, USA
Too late for tonight, but:

Necessary gear:
  • STURDY tripod.
  • Remote release.
    • I prefer wired over IR. With the IR release on my D70, I had to reach over the camera as the IR receiver was in the FRONT of the camera.
  • When using a long lens, I prefer to use a lens with a tripod collar, to put the center of gravity/balance point of the camera+lens over the tripod.
    • If not the weight of the lens pulling down on the front of the camera makes it front heavy. Some less expensive tripods/heads can't handle too much front heavy loading, and will slip.
  • RED bicycle light, so you and everyone around you, can see where the tripod legs are, in the DARK.
  • RED flashlight, so you can look for stuff without killing your night vision.
Tips:
  • Small aperture reduces the effect of light pollution, and darkens the sky.
  • Turn down the brightness of the rear screen. I find normal brightness WAY TOO BRIGHT at night. It kills my night vision. I have had to tape a piece of paper over the rear screen, so that it won't blast my eyes.
  • Don't try to capture too many shots in one frame, as the image overlaps and you just get a blown out white spot. (been there, done that)
  • KNOW how to setup the gear for long exposure, and practice BEFORE the event.
    • You don't want to be going through the manual in the dark, trying to figure out a problem.
 

AaronE

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May 23, 2013
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487
Location
Idaho
Here is what I got on the 4th. I anticipated that the fireworks would be higher in sky and would be bigger behind the building. I was not far away from the launch site. White balance is tough with this building as it has multiple light types illuminating it. I used Livecomp to capture the image with a Pen-f and Olympus 12-40mm. Really wish exposure compensation worked in Livecomp.
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barry13

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Mar 7, 2014
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I shot in Manual, f/8, ISO 200, 2".
Didn't use a tripod, which explains the moving background.
 

Sammyboy

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Oct 26, 2010
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Steeler Country
.... here's a few hand held using an Olympus M-5 + Olympus 12mm .... ISO 200 ..... f2.2 - f4 ..... 1/3 - 1 second ....

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Joined
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MoCo, MD
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Large number of fireworks on the DC mall, so I couldn't expose 4 seconds or more. All photos at iso 200 and shutter priority between 1 and 3.2 seconds.

Oh and it looks a bit like a cat's head on the top right. :biggrin:
 

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