Fireworks, Settings, Infinity Focus, Etc

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by RamblinR, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    I will be shooting fireworks on the weekend and just want to a check a few things with those that have done so successfully with the OMD EM5.

    I was thinking I would set the camera to LIVE VIEW BLUB and that way can turn off and on when they appear perfect.

    Camera settings will be ISO200 and say f8.

    Problem I am having is focus. I could just hit focus on the first pop of fireworks and then set the camera to MF to keep that seeing. Or I understand you can set the camera in MF turn it off and then back on and it will be set at Infinity Focus by doing this (provided I have that set in Menu A).

    Has anyone done this successfully? Is the focus correct?

    Let me know how successful your fireworks shots have been and how you did it.

    Thanks everyone.
  2. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    There's obviously not many firework shooters here :eek:

    I've generally been unlucky with fireworks. I've read several online tutorials which have suggested apertures around f8 to f16, pre focus on something that is at the same focal plane, use bulb mode shutter release, yet all my shots came out bad.

    Last week I took some shots at a Disneyland firework display. I've checked the exif data and the settings really surprised me. F/4.5 (I thought I had set it to f/11), 1/20 to 1/320 second exposures, 800 iso (I tend to leave it at 800 unless I have a specific reason to change it), autofocus (using my DSLR though!) and auto exposure. I had to dial in -1.7 ev of exposure comp, but burst mode was a lot easier than trying to use bulb mode. These 'accidental' settings have given me my best firework shots to date

    I think the important thing is that if you have some time to experiment with settings, do so, because each shoot could vary.

  3. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Bulb mode has worked best for me. Aperture isn't so important, as long as it's moderate and not too wide or so narrow that it doesn't expose brightly enough.

    Low ISO is better. Experiment until you know how long you need to leave the shutter open, but really, you can do a lot with highlights later on. I'd adjust aperture wider rather than ISO up if you need the adjustment. Focus and turn your AF off.
  4. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    in my experience i set to raw so i can adjust WB, manual focus, set ISO 200, F8 and do for 2-4 sec shot, on a tripod with a remote. also check that your camera is not set to 'reset' lens on power on/off. because if you leave reset on and the camera goes into energy save you lose manual focus sometimes if it does a power off. if you can use a flash light to help light up the area where the fireworks will be, then you can focus in the area. i did that with EP3 and OMD and got some good results.

    hints from olympus
    Brilliant Fireworks Photos: E-System

    you also can use firework mode, it does work in a pinch.

    these are some of what i have shot with m4/3
    fireworks January 2013 - dogpoundphoto
    fireworks january 2012 - dogpoundphoto
  5. psycho-squirrel

    psycho-squirrel Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 17, 2012
    Vancouver Canada
    Here's a set of mine, shot using my G5 and a 45-175mm panasonic lens (it was far away). Most were 2-3 seconds shot in manual M mode so I coul adjust f stop and exposure as needed. Use a good tripod too! Have fun with it.

    Fireworks 2013 - a set on Flickr
  6. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    phsycho-squirrel - amazing photos. You would have been very pleased with them I'm sure.

    Well, I shot mine on Saturday. And was absolutely disgusted with myself. Was setting up ready to shoot and what did I leave at home .... the plate for the tripod. Are you kidding me!!!!

    So ended up shooting them hand held which turned out OK considering - 1.3sec f5.6 iso 200 - Gotta love IBIS. A little bit longer would have been better (more 2-3 seconds)

    Looking forward to my next lot of fireworks and I'll definitely remember the tripod plate.
  7. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    I've only done it once but had good luck. 45mm, f/11, ISO 200, 3-5 second exposures, two-second delay timer and a tripod to minimize shake. I manual focused using the magnify assist on the first couple shots, then didn't touch the focus again.

    It's impossible to anticipate when to start a three second exposure off a two second delay, so I'd just hit the shutter every 10 seconds or so through the show.

    The real challenge is composition. The shots of fireworks over a city or bridge, etc. are way better than anything I got shooting from a parking lot over some trees. Next year I'll try to have something something else interesting in the frame.

    <a href="" title="Fireworks! by liacatherine, on Flickr"> 9216988262_8ec665146d_c.jpg "688" height="800" alt="Fireworks!"></a>
  8. RajC

    RajC Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    I totally agree. I used similar settings, but would release the shutter once I saw the firework enter the part of the sky that I had framed.

    My photos came out great, technically. Everyone was a keeper- clear, good colors. But there was no context except for a streetlight that was off to the side (which I cropped out).

    Definitely look for some type of interesting object for context. I think next year I might set my tripod nearer to ground level to get silhouettes of people in the foreground.

    I did the rack focus thing (where you focus or defocus during the exposure). It didn't seem to be much of a challenge or yield results that were that interesting.
  9. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Forgive me posting some Nikon D40 images, but...

    You can go with lots of context
    Or no context at all (that was fun. My lens was much too long for this set, so I got abstract).