Christmas time, capturing fireworks.
Its that time of year, Christmas and new years means there will be a lot of fireworks displays around the place. here are some handy tips for getting good results.
1. TRIPOD/SHUTTER REMOTE. this is a must. Having a good sturdy tripod will allow you to shoot your long exposures. A shutter remote isn't essential, but if you have one, use it! If you don't have a remote, you can set your camera to timer. This will allow you to press the shutter and have enough time for the camera to become still and take the photo.
2.MANUAL MODE & APERTURE - Set your camera to manual. From here you can have total control over how your images will turn out. Set your Aperture to between f8 - f11 for a starting base. once you start shooting and reviewing your shots, you can make extra adjustments if needed. Turn OFF Long Exposure Noise Reduction (if your camera has this feature). This feature does a good job, but you will regret using it because it takes up a lot of time processing and saving your images between shots. You will want to be trying to get as many shots off as you can, so review your first few images in till you have the right exposure, then keep getting those shots.
3. ISO - set your ISO to a low setting. between 100-200 ISO. I use Neutral for the picture style (for canon cameras). This allows you a good base for post processing.
4. RAW - Shoot in RAW. Shooting in RAW allows for best post processing.
5. SHUTTER SPEED & FOCUS - You will want to set your shutter speed for around a few second too 10 seconds. This also depends on the type of fireworks you photographing. If the fireworks are being set off all from the one location, you wont want an exposure over 10 seconds. You risk have the fireworks all blend into one big light ball. But if there say New Years fireworks, which are usually set off around the city, a longer exposure will be good to capture all the different fireworks from different location in the one image.
Make sure to focus Before you start taking you shots. I tend to use live view to do this because its hard to see through the viewfinder to focus at night time.
6.LOCATION & FRAMING - When finding were you are going to set up, remember to keep in mind your composition and framing. You don't want to be too close to the fireworks as your camera will be pointing directly up in the air. Its better to a few hundred meters away to allow for the height and bursts of the fireworks. And remember to try and get the fireworks at the start of the show. Towards the end of the show you will notice there will be a lot of smoke in the sky, and it does ruin the image sometimes.
7. Ready to start capturing the fireworks. You May need to do some post processing to get the best final results.
Here are some examples I have taken: