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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Tue 29-Jun-10 02:47 PM
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"Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"


Havelock, US
          

It's that time of the year when many of our members are going to tackle their local fireworks displays, and the Nikonians community has been sharing advice from day one.

This year, we're going to make it a bit easier, by providing you with a few pointers to some of the more popular discussion threads and links we've been sharing all along.

Please feel free to follow the links, and do us a favor in the case of links leading to discussion threads. Those threads may have been archived, and instead of commenting or sharing your own advice once you are reading the thread, come back here in this Café discussion, and let's keep it all in one spot for this fireworks season.

First and foremost, we must refer you to the original tutorial many of us have used as a starting point. It's the Fireworks article provided by Lyle Stavast.

Then, let's lead you to Albert J. Valentino's Shooting Fireworks Blog.

Our D300 users had some great advice being shared in this thread.

And the D50 users had a lively discussion here.

Along the way—a few of us recognized that a fireworks shot with brilliant colors up in the sky shows very little scale and familiarity. Your shot in New Zealand of a fireworks burst could easily have been my shot in North Carolina, or Jacques' spot in Paris. Foreground is a key factor and this discussion regarding black carding will take you to the next level.

If you have additional advice, some example images, and warnings--- let's see it in this thread. Share the goods folks!


---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."


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DigitalDarrell Team Member
30th Jun 2010
1
Reply message Hong Kong Fireworks at Victoria Harbour, X'mas 2009
4karats
01st Jul 2010
4
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flashdeadline Administrator
01st Jul 2010
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4karats
01st Jul 2010
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gkaiseril Gold Member
01st Jul 2010
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4karats
01st Jul 2010
18
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voyageurfred Silver Member
01st Jul 2010
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flashdeadline Administrator
01st Jul 2010
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flashdeadline Administrator
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Chayelle
01st Jul 2010
11
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voyageurfred Silver Member
14th Jul 2010
39
Reply message A unique firework place that creates special photo chal...
newbird Silver Member
01st Jul 2010
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voyageurfred Silver Member
02nd Jul 2010
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02nd Jul 2010
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14th Jul 2010
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12th Jul 2010
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Reply message New York Independance Day fireworks
voyageurfred Silver Member
16th Jul 2010
40
Reply message Fireworks image processing - my techniques
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16th Jul 2010
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DigitalDarrell Team Member Founding Member of the Nikonians writer Guild. Author of most of the NikoniansPress books. Charter MemberWed 30-Jun-10 01:28 PM
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#1. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0


Knoxville, US
          

It occurs to me that many of us now have D-Movie modes on our Nikon cameras. Users of the D3S, D300S, D90, and D5000 could take some videos—along with still images.

The key to getting good video with a Nikon DSLR is to use Aperture Priority (A) mode and preset a particular aperture BEFORE you start the video. The camera will not vary the aperture during the video. That way, you have control of exposure and depth-of-field.

Many do not realize it, but you cannot change the aperture DURING a video. You can crank the dials, and the camera's readouts will show changes taking place, but the aperture is not really changing. The camera adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor to make exposure changes.

The best thing to do, is to shoot several still images, thereby figuring out which aperture works best for the scene. Then, lock in that aperture before starting the video. The camera will use your selected aperture during the video, and the sensor will vary sensitivity to control the exposure.

You have other ways to control exposure during a video, such as changing the exposure compensation, or holding down the AE-L/AF-L button to lock the exposure at a certain level. You might want to experiment in advance to become familiar with the process. Otherwise, just lock in your aperture choice and let the camera deal with exposure values.

Why not add the extra dimension of moving pictures now that our cameras can make them?




Digital Darrell

  

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4karats Registered since 09th Jun 2008Thu 01-Jul-10 06:31 AM
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#4. "Hong Kong Fireworks at Victoria Harbour, X'mas 2009"
In response to Reply # 1
Fri 02-Jul-10 10:41 PM by flashdeadline

CA
          





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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Thu 01-Jul-10 07:33 AM
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#5. "RE: Hong Kong Fireworks at Victoria Harbour, X'mas 2009"
In response to Reply # 4


Havelock, US
          

Hi Gerald,

Shooting on a watery scene-- that sure looks tough and you got some good work out of it. Congratulations. Can you do us a favor and edit your entry by reducing the number of images (choose your favorite three)

We try to keep the number of images per post at three (sometimes stretched to four) to make it easier for our members. It avoids them getting carpel tunnel of the scrolling hand.

Also-- while you are at it-- share your "how I did it" stuff.
---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."

  

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4karats Registered since 09th Jun 2008Thu 01-Jul-10 09:46 PM
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#17. "RE: Hong Kong Fireworks at Victoria Harbour, X'mas 2009"
In response to Reply # 5


CA
          

Hi Tom,

I deleted all but the last two fireworks photos for July 1 (today), the Canada day. Sorry for uploading too many photos last night.

You are correct: shooting on a watery scene on a boat in the middle of the harbour was tough. Tripods and monopods were no good; the boat moved from side to side, dipped up and down. All shots were taken by hand holding the camera. Can't use flash light, otherwise the water viewed at night would become brighter than natural. Love that lens: Canon 85mm f1.2 mounted on a Canon 5D Mark II. ISO automatic. No post digital changes made.

4karats

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Thu 01-Jul-10 03:26 PM
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#8. "RE: Hong Kong Fireworks at Victoria Harbour, X'mas 2009"
In response to Reply # 4


Chicago, US
          

Very nice, I especially like the illuminated sails of the junks. Since you have been asked to limit the number of image in the post, I would suggest that you place the images removed from the post into your members gallery.

Again a very good job and thanks for sharing.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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4karats Registered since 09th Jun 2008Thu 01-Jul-10 09:53 PM
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#18. "RE: Hong Kong Fireworks at Victoria Harbour, X'mas 2009"
In response to Reply # 8


CA
          

I have removed all but two last fireworks photos for the Canada day (today) July 1. Glad you like them. Let me know if you'd like me to remove all of them. Thanks.

4karats

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Thu 01-Jul-10 05:09 AM
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#2. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0
Thu 01-Jul-10 05:13 PM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

I shoot fireworks around the world from Australia to France to Montreal, and this coming weekend... New York City!

I started photographing them 20 years ago, first on Provia100F slide film, and since 2007, now on digital. You can see a short Flash show here : http://www.remarkable-images.com/Fireworks/index.php

The digital sensor is much more luminous than emulsion film, so blowing out the highlight is easier. Contrary to other posts, I check my Histogram, but I also use the "Highlights" setting which will indicate anything in the scene that is overly bright. For Nikon D200, D300 and D700 cameras, make sure you see the RGB indicator when you're reviewing images, it blinks to tell you you're in highlights mode.

Here's some info I give to participants who attend my photo workshops in Montreal on how to shoot fireworks (a word doc you can download is below):


The Montreal region is graced with many fireworks festivals and shows throughout the year, form the International Fireworks competition at La Ronde, to municipal displays celebrating assorted holidays. Then there are the famous New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Sydney Australia, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Carnival Pyro-tecnics over the Baie des Anges during the Nice Carnival (France) and of course the Independence Day celebrations on the 4th of July in most major cities in the United Sates.

Fireworks are BRIGHT, almost as bright as a noon-time sun, so shoot as if you were photographing during the day. The exception will be what you do with your shutter speed. Here are some basic settings:

Auto focus – OFF! Focus your lens at infinity and leave it there... its one less variable to think about! Besides, firework displays are usually (I hope!) more than 100 feet away from you, so even with a telephoto lens, focus is not an issue.

ISO 100/200 – Depending upon your camera model, set it to the lowest ISO setting. This is the optimum setting for most digital sensors for best quality. This will also lessen the chance of overexposure. Increasing the ISO will raise the sensitivity of the sensor thereby hitting it with more light, and progressively, will introduce more image noise too.

Aperture - On average start with f/11. If the light looks weak and faint, OPEN the aperture to f/8. If it's bright and lots of fireworks are exploding, close down to f/16 or f/22.

Shutter speed – set your camera to MANUAL MODE, then set your shutter speed to BULB for manual shutter control; next plug in a manual remote control in the 15pin socket. When the fireworks start, trip the shutter and count out loud - "one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three" and so on... s-l-o-w-l-y, so that you achieve 2 seconds exposures for a full burst, or from 4 to 6 seconds if you are shooting with a wide angle lens and wish to fill the frame, or to capture more background details.

Watch the show and practice this technique so you get the rhythm right. Avoid using your camera’s fixed shutter speeds. If you do, you will be trying to manually change your shutter speed on the fly... in the dark... with all the explosions going off! You will find this method to be very time consuming... and frustrating!

White Balance – set to Daylight/Sunny mode or 5400 degrees Kelvin (the Sun icon on your LCD display). If you want a sky that is more blue (to correct for light pollution), with city lights a more realistic colour, select the “Incandescent” mode. I have found, however, that the sunny setting is the best for rich and consistent colours. If you use Auto White, the colour rendition may change from shot to shot, without any consistency. Sunny is the way to go. Did I say SUNNY enough times?

Turn on the HIGHLIGHTS setting in your camera. In Nikon cameras, this is achieved by going to the Playback menu (arrow at top), then selecting "Display mode." Click on "highlight," then go to the top to “done” with the cursor, and press “enter” or OK. Other cameras may have a similar setting. Check you manual or camera menu for more details.

Next, upon reviewing your images, you want to scroll through the data screens on the your monitor until a little symbol flashes indicating it will show bright spots as flashing light. This will tell you if you have overexposed an image. On some Nikon cameras, this is indicated by a small flashing indicator marked “RGB.”

OK, now all you need to do is zoom in and compose your image. Of course during a 30 minute show, you will see small bursts and big ones, so your composition may need to be adjusted from shot to shot. From where you are positioned, when the show starts, set your zoom at one setting, take a few shots, then review your images quickly.

1. First check - are there any highlights flashing?

NO... then your shot is OK. Expect some flashing at the nucleus or center of the burst - this is normal as it’s the brightest point in an explosion.

YES - you are overexposing and will have to close your aperture (to f/11, f/16, f/22 or points in between). You may also have to shorten your shutter speed too. It is a combination of both. The aperture controls the amount of light, the shutter – the duration of the exposure.

2. If you photographed a burst and it was mainly red, or blue or green etc - are you seeing this correctly on the replay of your cams’s LCD monitor?

If YES - your exposure is correct!

If NO - and you are seeing mostly white, the colours are overlapping, though you may not have blown out the highlights. You will have to close down the aperture again to f/11, f/16 etc, or reduce your shutter speed.

3. The explosions are happening fast and furious, and all you are seeing are images that are white! white! white!

Question : What colour do you get when you combine red, blue and green? You get - white!

The only way to capture these colours, especially as the climax or finale of the show reaches a crescendo, is to set your aperture at f/22 and shoot for 1 second or LESS. The fireworks at this point are overlapping and your very sensitive sensor, is recording this by combining all the colours to give you... white!

Finally, achieving good photos takes practice and patience. Don't go to a show with the intent of taking 200 photos, because you will end up with probably one lucky shot, and 199 poor or average shots. Less is more!

Watch the show, and pay attention to how bright the light is. This is crucial! If the explosions are bright, close down... if weak... open up. One hand on the camera controlling your aperture, the other hand on your remote control, opening and closing your shutter.

From experience, most of my successful images were taken between f/11 and f/22 for an average of 1 to 4 seconds each. During the show’s climax when perhaps hundreds of rockets are filling the sky, much shorter exposure times will be required, as short as 1/4 second!

Don't forget to periodically review your images with the histogram to see how you’re doing.

If your camera has an RGB setting, display all three color channels to make sure you are not clipping any of the channels, especially the RED channel which usually clips first (by climbing “the wall” on the right side of the display).

Perhaps you will end up photographing only 60 or 70 images (an average of 2 or 3 per minute in a 30 minute show), however your chances of achieving say 10 or more really good images, or “keepers”... will be much better than if you had shot "hundreds."

Happy Shooting!

© Copyright 2010 Frederic Hore, Media Pro Enterprises

**********************************************************************
Below some digital photos from the last three years:


Independence Day Fireworks taken from the Harvard Street Bridge,
Boston, Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70 f2.8D AFS @ 56mm, ISO 200
Exposure 1.7 sec @ f/22



Boston Harbour #2, Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70 f2.8D AFS @ 70mm, ISO 400
Exposure 2.8 sec @ f/8





Independence Day Fireworks over Washington photographed from
Arlington National Park, Virgina
Nikon D200, Nikkor 80-200 f2.8D AFS @ 130mm, ISO 320
Exposure 2.8 sec @ f/16





Montreal International Fireworks Competition photographed from Old Montreal
by Shed 16. The competition runs for 30 minutes EVERY Saturday evening
promptly at 10pm through June and July. Here are 3 images

Nikon D300, Nikkor 28-70 f2.8D AFS @ 70mm, ISO 400
Exposure 2.8 sec @ f/16



Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D AFS @ 130mm, ISO 400
Exposure 5 sec @ f/22



Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D AFS @ 200mm, ISO 200
Exposure 1 sec @ f/16





Here's a WORD doc you can download of what I wrote above titled:
"Exposure Techniques for Shooting Fireworks"

http://www.nikonians.org/dcfp/user_files/168873.doc


...and make sure your batteries are fully charged, and your FLASH cards empty, formatted and ready to use!


Hope this helps! Have fun!

Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca


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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Thu 01-Jul-10 05:44 AM
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#3. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 2


Havelock, US
          

Thanks Darrell and Frederic!---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."

  

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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Thu 01-Jul-10 09:12 AM
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#6. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 2


Havelock, US
          

Hi Frederic,
Excellent advice--- thanks a lot!
Can you do us a favor and trim down the number of attached images (about 3 or four of your favorites is fine).

---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."

  

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Chayelle Registered since 11th Oct 2006Thu 01-Jul-10 04:49 PM
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#11. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 2
Thu 01-Jul-10 04:51 PM by Chayelle

US
          

Frederic,
those are beautiful fireworks photographs, lovely.
The colors, shapes, and the inclusion of boats, city
lights...very nice.
And thank you for the "how to's". Now to put this to work.

Cheryle

...He Is!

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Wed 14-Jul-10 03:07 AM
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#39. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 11


Montreal, CA
          

Many thanks for your kind comments Cheryle! Did you try shooting some yourself? Care to show a few?

Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

  

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newbird Silver Member Nikonian since 25th Apr 2006Thu 01-Jul-10 08:59 PM
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#16. "A unique firework place that creates special photo challenges"
In response to Reply # 2
Thu 01-Jul-10 09:12 PM by newbird

Neuville, near Quebec City, CA
          

Merci Frederic for this info and congrats for your website on fireworks. You have some great photographs there !

However, you are still missing the fireworks which are said to be amongst the most spectacular ones in the World (according to the specialists from different countries who compete) because of their natural waterfalls environment, and because of their unique combination of water, music and fireworks ... and it is only 250km from Montreal (I'm sure that now you know which ones ... obviously I could not miss teasing a Montrealer and to invite you to see our fireworks )... those are the ones taking place during the internationl firework competition in Quebec City, at Montmorency Falls.

Montmorency Falls are higher than Niagara Falls and the fireworks (twice a week during one month, 30 minutes each time, like in Montreal) take place from the top of the Fall as well as from the middle and the bottom of the Fall, which leaves plenty of space for imagination to create the show. Sometimes, some fireworks are sent downward in the Fall from the top pedestrian bridge, or parallel to the surface of the water from the river ! Very spectacular ! They can also use the simmetry of the cliffs each side of the Falls. This leaves place for very different fireworks amongst the countries who are competing for the first prize.

For those who want to see with their own eyes, please take a look at the short video here : http://www.lesgrandsfeux.com/en/

However, I find that they are very difficult to photograph. Because of the natural setting ( U-shaped cliffs surrounding the Falls), smoke becomes an obstacle for photography after 10 minutes. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure this can offer new opportunities for someone like you Frederic who has much more experience than me with photographing fireworks. Smoke could probably allow one to add new light creatively.

In addition, the high contrast bewteen the fireworks, the Falls and the cliffs make it a true challenge to see the three properly (N.B. I only have a D200 with more limited DR).

On the other hand, it is easy to find a spot (if one arrives early) where we can see reflections of the fireworks and of the Fall on the river (but be aware that we have 5 meters tides here and one must take that into account when finding a secure spot).

It is also possible to have people in the foreground to add depth to the photos.

You can also look at my gallery of Quebec City where I have photographs of this international competition of fireworks as well as photographs of the 400th anniversary of Quebec City (in 2008):

http://photo4fun.zenfolio.com/quebec_city

Regards and thanks for a very useful post,


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Yvan
Quebec Nikonian
http://yvanbedardphotonature.com

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Fri 02-Jul-10 04:26 AM
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#19. "RE: A unique firework place that creates special photo challenges"
In response to Reply # 16


Montreal, CA
          

Bonjour Yvan

Merci pour les compliments et bon mots... many thanks for the compliments and kind thoughts. You have some nice images too

And yes, I have been to les Chuttes Montmorency - I was there in August 2007! I walked across the shallow river to the island in the middle and took photos from there. Excellent location with the music, explosions and light echoing off the walls!

Kayakers and canoeists joined me there to watch the event.

C'est vraiement magnifique! Ou-la-la c'est super!

Voila une photo de ce belle nuit. Here's a photo from that wonderful evening. Maybe I will see you this August?

Montmorency Falls Fireworks Festival, held every August just outside Quebec City
Nikon D200, Nikkor 12-24 F/4 DX-AF zoom @ 24mm, ISO 100
Exposure 7 sec @ f/14




Note: There is a slight softening of the image due to the 150KB upload limit - I had to save the JPEG at a quality
level of 7. The original is much sharper!

Salût,

Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

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newbird Silver Member Nikonian since 25th Apr 2006Fri 02-Jul-10 04:38 PM
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#25. "RE: A unique firework place that creates special photo challenges"
In response to Reply # 19


Neuville, near Quebec City, CA
          

Wow Frederic ! This is a great photograph! I like the symetry of fireworks shapes and colors as well as the use of the different levels!

You probably found the best spot for these photographs!

Yvan
Quebec Nikonian
http://yvanbedardphotonature.com

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Wed 14-Jul-10 03:04 AM
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#38. "RE: A unique firework place that creates special photo challenges"
In response to Reply # 25
Wed 14-Jul-10 03:09 AM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

Merci Yvan pour ton bon mots.

The water is quite shallow to walk across from the estrade-grandstands (bleachers) to the island in the middle. My suggestion is to bring some rubber booties that kayakers use to walk on the stony river bottom.

Extend one leg of your tripod and use it as a walking stick so you don't fall over! Hopefully the river current will not be too strong.

The alternative is to shoot from the center of the walkway-promenade on the railway bridge. I decided against this option because I knew it would be crowded with people. You would have to get there probably two to three hours before the show to claim a spot.

I may go back this August... I had a lot of fun there two years ago. L'atmosphere est encroyable!

Bonne nuit.

Frederic

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 01-Jul-10 03:08 PM
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#7. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks. Can't wait for the 4th. Should I use an eyepiece cap?

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Thu 01-Jul-10 04:09 PM
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#9. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 7


Havelock, US
          

Hi John,
There are some situations where stray light directed towards an eyepiece can cause a problem in shooting, but rarely in the case of a firworks shoot. You have to remember that your exposure settings have already been decided (by you) and the odds are you will have a lot of darkness at your back as you face the fireworks. The stray light thing comes up a lot when an exposure meter may pick up an intense light source, affecting your meter reading.

Therefore-- no cap needed. I've shot fireworks for more years than I care to admit, with film and digital, and I never had problems from the lack of an eyepiece cap. I have had really bad problems on those few occasions when I forgot to bring a remote cable.

---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 01-Jul-10 05:11 PM
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#12. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 9


New HArtford, US
          

Thank you. I have my tripod and remote ready and waiting.
One more question. I have been reading a few of these links some people focus at infinity while others focus at hyperfocal distance. does it matter if subject is more than a 1000 feet away?

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Thu 01-Jul-10 06:50 PM
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#14. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 12


Havelock, US
          

Hi John,

This is where it gets tricky.

If you are working on a killer foreground object to tie in with the fireworks display much further in the distance your best bet is to use your best or favorite wide angle lens. The wide angle lens (by its nature) defeats a lot of the "depth of field" complications and it also allows you to get the broad sweep area covered by your particular display.

Some advance knowledge would help in this case. If you are familiar with the positioning of the tubes (where they shoot up) and have past memories of how much "sky-space" they filled, you need to concentrate on imagining what vantage point you should be looking for. A good hint in this case is to watch what happens as the skies grow darker. Look to see where an unusual amount of tripods may be setting up.


---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 01-Jul-10 07:02 PM
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#15. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 14


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks. If I include some foreground I suppose hyperfocal length focusing would be appropriate.

JohnE Nikon
https://plus.google.com/photos/104310967428146619677/albums?hl=en

https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Thu 01-Jul-10 04:38 PM
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#10. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 7
Thu 01-Jul-10 04:41 PM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

"Should I use an eyepiece cap?"

Like Tom, I rarely use one, unless a street lamp is in close proximity behind me, which was the case when shooting from the Harbour Street Bridge in Boston.

The D700 has a little lever that will close off light from passing through and bouncing around inside the prism. Other cams like the D300 and D200 are supplied with a little plastic cover which slides in front of the eyepiece. (I lost both in the dark some time ago! Paint them red so you can find them!!!)

If you're worried about it, just place your hand close to the eyepiece to cover it without touching the cam, or use a piece of black cardboard and this will work fine.

As a matter of interest, with some Nikon models, you can now use the "live View" to compose your shot.

You can also set-up the LCD display for an instant review of each shot as they are taken to verify how good your exposure is.

In the D300, you will find it under C4 Monitor Off Delay - set it to 10 seconds. On the D700, also under C4 Monitor Off Delay, select Image Review, then set it to 10 sec or even as fast as 4 sec. Both my cams are set to 10 sec

The displayed image will of course go off the minute you press the remote control to snap your next image.

Watchout for flashing highlights as I explained earlier. Expect the nucleus to flash, but not the rest to get good exposure latitude and colour. Raise your ISO sensitivity a bit if you want to get the background city lights as I did in the Washington shot above.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 01-Jul-10 05:33 PM
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#13. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 10


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks. You have great shots and I will take your advise. I like the idea of painting cap red I already almost lost it. I have a D5000 and will experiment with live view.

JohnE Nikon
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https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Fri 02-Jul-10 05:22 AM
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#20. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 13
Fri 02-Jul-10 05:27 AM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

Thank you for your gracious compliments John.

TIP: If you run into a situation where your images are still getting blown out, even with your aperture closed down to f/22 and your ISO set to 100 or 200, screw on a polarizer which will cut the light down by 2 stops, or use a 2 stop Neutral density filter.

It was Canada Day today (our Independence Day from Britain, which occurred in 1867, more than 100 years after the United States big day) with a nice little fireworks show in Dorval where I live, a suburb of Montreal. I had a problem where I was close enough to the fireworks, and my lens zoomed in that the images were, how would I say this... a little toasty!

I still managed to get a few keepers though. I played with the ISO tonight to get more of the crowd that attended. I think the result is pretty good. What do you think?

Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8D AF-S @ 45mm, ISO 800
Exposure: 8 sec @ f/22




Don't forget photos of children playing with light sticks.
You have a tripod... try this effect!
Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8D AF-S @ 31mm, ISO 1600
Exposure: 1/2 sec @ f/8




That's all for me! Tomorrow I'm on the road towards NY.
Will upload some pics when I get back in town.

Have fun!


Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 02-Jul-10 02:30 PM
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#21. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 20


New HArtford, US
          

Wow!
2 more things to add to my gotta try list.

JohnE Nikon
https://plus.google.com/photos/104310967428146619677/albums?hl=en

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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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flashdeadline Administrator Expert professional photojournalist Awarded for his multiple contributions to the eZine, Newsletters and more Nikonian since 07th Apr 2002Fri 02-Jul-10 02:42 PM
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#22. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 21


Havelock, US
          

I second the WOW on those last two images--- just last week my grandchildren came to visit and their Mom had some sparklers-- I said let's go outside and I'll show you a neat photo of you guys playing with sparklers. Grabbed the camera, set for rear curtain sync -- talk kids through pre-arranged motions-- go to shoot-- DEAD $%^%$% battery! -- what a dumb fireworks shooter I turned out to be. -- and even if I did get it-- it would not have been as good as the one just posted. WOW
---Tom

"Shoot everything f/16 at a 100 and let the lab boys worry about it."

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera."

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Fri 02-Jul-10 03:10 PM
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#23. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 22


Montreal, CA
          

Thanks gents for the enthusiastic compliments!

The image presented of the children above was the best of five I took last night. I purposely set the cam to tungsten mode to get a better rendition in the night sky, and from the colour temperature of the chemical mix in the plastic light sticks.

The greenish cast in their faces comes from a combination of the light from the sticks, and some high power LED lights from the stage lights the band was using. I had them face the stage for better facial illumination, the sky behind them is west, where the sun had set some 45 minutes earlier.

I should mention all my night photos are a taken in RAW format for maximum flexibility in post Processing (CS3 for all the images displayed on this page), and shot in Manual mode for best exposure control

Photography is light... and learning how to use it effectively!

...and now to finish my packing. My girlfriend will shoot me if I don't get off this computer!!!!

I'm comin Jo... I'm comin! (How many times have you told your better half that )

Cheers and thanks,

Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca


OK - I couldn't resist... here's one last "parting shot" from our Canada Day celebrations on July 1st photographed last night.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8D AFS @ 48mm ISO 400
Exposure 5 sec @ f/22. WB Incandescent (something different!)





Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 02-Jul-10 03:18 PM
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#24. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 23


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks for taking the time to share your secrets and photos. I'm having a slow day at work and hence my frequent posts. Don't get in trouble by replying enjoy your trip.

Cheers

JohnE Nikon
https://plus.google.com/photos/104310967428146619677/albums?hl=en

https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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rickpaul Basic MemberMon 05-Jul-10 06:47 AM
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#26. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 24


Tucson, US
          

Here's my attempt from tonight. 4 seconds, f/11:




--------------------------
Rick Paul
The Photo Professors

Saguaro Shadows Photography
Tucson, Arizona

My Nikonians Gallery

My Nikonians Blog

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ljk73 Registered since 09th Apr 2009Wed 14-Jul-10 02:35 AM
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#36. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 23


US
          

Frederic,

You are awesome! Not only for your photos, but also and especially for sharing your knowledge. Your photos are amazing, and through your very helpful tips I attempted to shoot fireworks for the first time this year.

It was a frustrating experience but also an excellent learning opportunity. I ended up with a few decent shots.

Merci beaucoup!


http://www.ljk-images.com/Nature/New-River-Gorge-WV/DSC1402/928295685_9KNVV-L.jpg

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Visit my Photo Galleries at http://www.ljk-images.com or my blog at http://ljkimages.wordpress.com. Feel free to leave comments.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Wed 14-Jul-10 02:47 AM
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#37. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 36
Wed 14-Jul-10 03:22 AM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

Hi Lynne,

Many thanks for your kudos... you came away with a really nice, well exposed image!

I visited your blog and read about your experience trying to shoot this difficult subject in West Virginia. You're right that you miss part of the show trying to get "technical" to achieve the right exposure. I sometimes pause between shots to just relax and appreciate the display... though not for too long!

I just returned home today from my 10 day trip through New England. I'll post my images from the New York Independence Day Fireworks soon.

Take care... and thanks again for the compliments.

Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Wed 07-Jul-10 02:10 AM
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#34. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 20


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks for all the help. I came away with many nice shots this July 4th. I did not have a great forground but fireworks came out decent. I noticed your fireworks are much sharper. I was nearly a mile away and shot with a 200mm zoom. Could this be the reason or do you think it is related to DX format camera?

Please see my gallery below.
my fireworks.



Thanks for the help.
PS could not get my kids to cooperate long enough at proper light for the 1/2 sec shots with spinning bright light. I'll try again.

JohnE Nikon
https://plus.google.com/photos/104310967428146619677/albums?hl=en

https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Wed 21-Jul-10 01:15 AM
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#42. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 34
Wed 21-Jul-10 01:44 AM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

Hi John,

Just checked your gallery of fireworks images, and I like this one the best. I posted some comments on your gallery on how you can make this image even better... I hope it helps.






"I noticed your fireworks are much sharper. I was nearly a mile away and shot with a 200mm zoom. Could this be the reason or do you think it is related to DX format camera?"


As to sharpness, one thing I have noticed is that many people, including participants in my photo workshops here in Montreal, do not sharpen their images enough.

The background lights (pinpoints of light) were round as opposed to oblong, so your tripod was nice and stable, with no camera movement detected so you should be able to sharpen them up better. The only other elements that might reduce sharpness would be haze and smoke in the atmosphere between you and the fireworks or if your optics are just a tad soft, though most lenses these days are very good. I noticed from the EXIF data you were at f/18 so you certainly had the depth of field.

If I may make another suggestion, keep your images sizes to 800 pixels or less on the long side for images you post to the gallery so you can get good sharpness before saving them as a JPEG file.



Hope you don't mind, I thought I would take a crack at seeing if I could get better sharpness from your image, (I frequently do this for my students) which as it turns out, works quite well.

There are artifacts in the image, as I purposely increased the shadow-highlight feature I mentioned in my gallery comment, to see if we could get more background data, which as you can see, is indeed there. I don't have the benefit of working on the original file, so I'm sure you could get much better result without the artifacts.

To make your photo stand out I added a 2 pixel border in Canvas Size as described below, and using the Type tool, added your copyright. The type style is Mistral, also found in CS3

So there you go... if you work on your original, I think you could have a real gem of a photo.

Hope this helps.

Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

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vchelf Silver Member Nikonian since 14th Sep 2009Mon 05-Jul-10 01:46 PM
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#27. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0


Houston, US
          

Thanks to all for the terrific advice on shooting fireworks. In the past, I never got satisfactory results. The pointers were a terrific roadmap. These were taken last night in Cypress TX (suburb of Houston) in a new community called Towne Lake.




Best regards,

Victor Chelf
Houston, TX

Visit my Nikonians gallery.








Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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Ferguson Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004Mon 05-Jul-10 06:10 PM
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#28. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 27
Mon 05-Jul-10 06:12 PM by Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
          

I generally watch the fireworks from a boat, which limits my options to short exposure. I find it interesting still, if more challanging. Here are a few, with the other boats in the foreground.







Most were around 1/90th and 800 ISO, some as high as 3200 ISO, f2.8 with a 70-200 from about a mile away on a rocking boat, handheld, with a D300.

What makes these different is that the streaks are all from glowing trails, not from time lapse. It gives a more natural (if less dramatic) look.


Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

  

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rooban Registered since 19th Feb 2010Mon 05-Jul-10 06:19 PM
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#29. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0


CA
          

thanks for the awesome tips. I followed them all during my first attempt at fireworks shots. I was in Bulb Mode (Manual mode, mostly shot around f/10 range) I left the aperture open for around 10 seconds a lot of the times but I noticed when I closed the shutter the only firecrackers that were recorded on the image were the ones that happened last (or the last couple at most) during that 8-10 seconds long exposure - not all the ones (lets say 5 major ones in some cases) that happened in that time frame.
I was ISO 100, on d700, with 24-70 lens in Manual focus (focused at infinity).
Is there something i missed ? (I will post my shots soon.. but I am a bit confused with my results.. )

Does this experience sound a bit familiar..to anyone here ?

-Rooban

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rooban Registered since 19th Feb 2010Tue 06-Jul-10 01:42 PM
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#31. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 29


CA
          

I figured out what I was doing wrong - I was using the Bulb mode first time and misunderstood its usage.

Here's the correct sequence (that I figured now) of pressing the shutter button when using Bulb mode,

use-case-1)
Press Shutter button (keep pressed) ...... waiting x seconds(to record the image)..... Release shutter button.


What I mistakenly did was..

use-case-2)
press and release (right away) the shutter button... waiting x seconds..... then press & release the shutter button.

No wonder in my case the only fireworks that got recorded were only the ones that happened during my last click (which stayed open for last a fraction of the second)..

Damn ... i screwed up on such an amazing chance to record the fireworks shots.. anyway.. lesson learnt..!

Actually the reason I did what I did was in my mind I confused the Bulb mode with Mup (mirror-up) release mode.

I am wondering actually whether the Mup (mirror-up) release mode could be used with Bulb mode. Will the use-case-2) be applicable in that case ? Anyone ? thanks in advance,
-Rooban

Visit my Portfolio.

  

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Ferguson Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004Tue 06-Jul-10 01:46 PM
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#32. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 31


Cape Coral, US
          


>I am wondering actually whether the Mup (mirror-up) release
>mode could be used with Bulb mode. Will the use-case-2) be
>applicable in that case ? Anyone ? thanks in advance,
>-Rooban

Not really. Your best bet for bulk mode is some form of wireless or wired release, since holding your finger on the shutter release will cause shake (unless you are unusually steady-handed). These also work well with mirror up mode. You can also set pretty long exposures - 30 seconds if I recall -- which will let you press once and it will expose that long. For fireworks on a tripod that is probably the simplest.


Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

  

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vchelf Silver Member Nikonian since 14th Sep 2009Tue 06-Jul-10 02:15 PM
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#33. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 31


Houston, US
          

It would saeem that you could use MUP with BULB . It should be easy enough to give it a try.

Best regards,

Victor Chelf
Houston, TX

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DGSCHULTZ Gold Member Awarded for sharing his excellent work and continued contribution to the forums, most notably at the Aviation forum. Nikonian since 05th Jun 2008Tue 06-Jul-10 05:36 AM
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#30. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0


La Conner, US
          

Where I live I can get very close to the launch site for our fireworks. D300, 16-85VR, tripod, all manual, 8sec, f10, 16 to 22mm. It looks to me like I should have used f16.
Cheers,
David
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microman Silver Member Charter MemberMon 12-Jul-10 08:02 PM
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#35. "RE: Shooting fireworks and looking for advice?"
In response to Reply # 0


Richwood, US
          

There wasn't an interesting foreground for the July 4th show in Lake Jackson, Texas. So, I decided to make a composite (in Photoshop) of 5 separate exposures, plus an earlier shot of a U.S. flag for the background. The layer with the flag was scaled up to fill most of the image.

(D300, Nikkor 18-200mm VR, f16 for the fireworks)

Gene
-Nikonian from Texas
My Website ~ My Nikonians Gallery

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Fri 16-Jul-10 02:11 PM
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#40. "New York Independance Day fireworks"
In response to Reply # 0


Montreal, CA
          

So I'm back from a nice 10 day, 1,481 mile (2385km) jaunt through New England with my girlfriend. Of course New York and the Independence Day fireworks was the main objective, however there were all kinds of stops and photographic opportunities along the route, some of which will get posted to my Facebook page and eventually my website.

I narrowed down the shooting location by doing a search right here on Nikonians! Fellow Nikonian Albert J. Valentino mentioned he was near the Chart House Restaurant in Weehawken, NJ (directly across from mid-town Manhattan) when he took his stunning images a couple of years ago, so that is where I headed too. Parking in the area was a steep $20 for the day when I arrived on site about 2pm.

However I discovered if I had a meal at the Chart House that cost a minimum of $40, parking was free, and as a bonus, I gained access to their private, unobstructed view of the New York skyline and the Hudson River. Well, at only 20 buckeroos above the cost to park elsewhere... how could I refuse! After all, a photographer needs fuel, and a gin tonic or two to while away the hours to the big countdown!

Here's a link to where I was:

http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Chart+House,+Weehawken,+NJ,+United+States&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=51.162685,91.933594&ie=UTF8&hq=Chart+House,&hnear=Weehawken,+New+Jersey,+United+States&ll=40.75766,-74.013133&spn=0.029159,0.044889&z=15

I had two cams with me, a Nikon D700 and as a backup, a D300. Three Nikkor lenses were used, a 20-35 f/2.8D AF zoom, a 28-70 f2.8D AF-S zoom, and an 80-200 f2.8D AF-S.

The show ran 25 minutes, starting at 9:25pm, finishing at 9:50pm. Five barges were pushed into place by tugs stretching probably a half mile along the Hudson River. Not being perfectly centered to the five barges, I opted to point my cam either upriver (North) from my position, directly across the river, or downriver (South) to capture the last two barges.

Besides having excellent food (my French girlfriend who loves to cook said it was superb too), the location on their outdoor terrace has a great view of the Empire State Building - not a perfectly clear view as it was partially obscured by another building in front, but good enough to see and identify the building.

Some 180 images were taken during the 25 minute show, including lens changes and a couple of pauses in between, to really appreciate what was unfolding in front of me. I'm still editing the images... here are three I've selected from the group. I'll add another post below on how I like to process these type of images in CS3.

All the images were photographed in RAW format, in the Adobe RGB colour space with the camera set to Manual mode. The White Balance was set to Sunny or Daylight mode as mentioned in previous posts above to maintain consistency in all the exposures, and for best colour reproduction of the fireworks. This daylight setting comes from years of shooting fireworks with daylight film like Fuji Provia 100F and Velvia 50.

I used a remote shutter release cable plugged into the 15 pin connector to trip and hold open the shutter for each exposure.


Looking upriver at bursts from four of the five barges
(Note: Softness due to file saved at JPEG quality level 4 due to 150kb upload limit... grrrr)
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D AF @ 20mm with skylight filter
Exposure: 3 sec @ f/11, ISO 200, 9:25pm 24 sec






Facing the Empire State building
Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D AF-S @ 48mm with skylight filter
Exposure: 3 sec @ f/22, ISO 400, 9:34pm






A tighter shot of the action with crazy explosions going everywhere!
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D AF-S @ 105mm with skylight filter
Exposure: 5 sec @ f/22, ISO 400, 9:43pm





Anyone who was there knows it was hot that night, and the show was even hotter... one of the best co-ordinated and sychronized I have ever seen! Only the New Years's Eve show in Sydney Australia tops this one.

Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Fri 16-Jul-10 04:07 PM
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#41. "Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 40
Fri 16-Jul-10 04:55 PM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

For your interest, here are my tips and techniques for processing fireworks images.

I've been using Photoshop for about 8 years now, starting with version 5.0 LE, and currently use Version 10 - CS3. I have the CS4 update, which will get loaded soon.

After shooting digital for nearly four years, and after much experimentation, I have found - at least for myself, the following steps produce the best results, especially if the images are a bit "hot" or overexposed.

If you have images that are great compositions but look washed out or a little blown out, perhaps try these steps... you might be surprised at what you will recover!

OK, the first thing I do is select the image of interest. Let's use that green one with all those crazy explosions going off! I opened the NEF RAW file directly in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), and this is what it looked like (Note: The images below are all screen shots from my MacPro):


Image 1 - Import image to ACR



If you have used ACR, then you know that those bright red areas in the image above are indicating its clipping or overexposed. Its also indicated in the histogram in the top right where it's "climbing the wall" on the right side. So first thing to do is correct for the too hot image.


Image 2 - AFTER RAW adjustments in ACR



Step 1 - Once you see images like the first one above, and after considerable practice, the first thing I will do is bring the Exposure down, by moving the slider to the left, just enough to make it less bright to my eye, though not too dark that I loose the detail in the buildings.

Step 2 - Next I used the Recovery slider and moved it about half way. Anymore then that and it starts to alter the histogram too much for my liking, and the latter part of the slider has almost no effect

Step 3 - The image is still to bright for my taste, so I moved the Brightness slider from the default setting of +50 to 0

Step 4 - I moved the Fill light to the right to bring light back to the shadow areas, especially the buildings - just enough to make out the building outlines, not too much that you start to see the yellow haze from the street lights, or even worse... background noise! (Note: with a D700 and this exposure at ISO 400 - its not a problem)


Image 3 - RAW Panel adjustment changes closeup




Here is a closeup of the RAW panel with the changes I made. Note the Histogram is looking better too. However there are still spots that are clipping, with loss of detail, as indicated by the red triangle, and if you look at the Empire State tower and the building to its left, by the red splotches indicating there are still hot areas.

On to my final adjustment. For this I click on the Tone icon


Image 4 - Tone adjustment changes closeup




(A note to Photoshop Elements 7 and 8 users - this feature is NOT available to you)

I haven't seen the Tone tool discussed much in the various books I have purchased to date (this includes Scott Kelby's superb "Adobe Photoshop CS3 book for Digital Photographers" - I actually found this by just playing with it one day, to discover its attributes.

What you do is click on the Point folder, next LEFT click and HOLD your mouse over the top of the diagonal line in the top right corner, then drag down the top of the curve on the far right, (which is your white level) and watch what happens to your Histogram in the top right. (Where the two red circles are)

As you move your mouse down, you are reducing the bright areas and pulling back the histogram. Do this until the red triangle disappears (it will go to black). You may have to move the next point (black square) to the left to achieve a nice "S" curve so that the image does not look too wonky.

After this, I might go back to the main panel (click on the Iris) and I may tweak the brightness a bit, though I didn't have to do so in this image.

After that, I formally opened the image in Photoshop by clicking OPEN at the bottom.

In PS, I went to Image-> Adjustments->Colour Balance, clicked on "Midtones" and moved the last slider "Yellow-Blue" towards the blue side to lessen the yellow haze in the buildings. I repeated this step by clicking on the "Shadows" button, and moved the Yellow-Blue slider once again to the right.

I did one more touch up, using the Shadow-Highlights (under Image Adjustments) and brought up this one more time about 14 percent.

And to give it a bit more punch, I boosted the Saturation by 10%.

After that I saved the file as a Tiff master. From there I resized it to the 800 pixel width, used Filter->Sharpen->Unsharp Mask with settings of Amount at 150%, Raduis at 0.3 pixels to minimize halo artifacts, and Threshold set to 0 for maximum detail and crispness.

Next came the type tool to add my copyright (which was copied and pasted from a Word file - I have to set up an "Action" one day to do this faster...!), flattened the image (Layer->Flatten Image) and then went to the next step, of adding a border around the image.


Image 5 - Adding a border in Canvas Size




If you are posting images to websites that have a black or coloured background (or "skin" as they say here) using a white or black border really sets off your image and gives it a professional look.

Its really easy to do... just select Image->Canvas Size and a new widow will appear like the one above. From the drop down menu, select "pixels" and choose the width you want, in this case I used 4 pixels. Sometimes if I want a finer line I will make it 2 or even 1 pixel, especially if its a small 250 pixel wide thumbnail.

If you are making say an 8 x 12 inch print and want a half inch border, select "inches" and type in .50 (the decimal equivalent for a half inch)

Click OK and the border is added.

Then I convert my image to an srgb file for web colour (you know how to do that right?) by going to Edit->Convert to Profile and select SRGB from the drop down menu. Click OK.

Last step is the Save As to JPEG, and in the case above, I think the quality setting was 7 which gave me a file of around 200 KB.



Image 6 - The final result with tag and border





And that's it! Here's the finished image as above.
Not a Top 10 WOW! photo in my books, but not too shabby either - certainly suitable for framing on a wall.

Hope this helps. Feel free to post your comments or questions.
Many people have helped me out on this forum... its my turn to "pay it forward!"

Cheers,
Frederic in Montreal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Wed 21-Jul-10 05:37 PM
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#43. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 41


New HArtford, US
          

Frederic,
Thanks for sharing pics and post processing techniques. My fireworks shots this year were much improved thanks to this forum and the advice from many of you. I wanted to share a few fun pictures I took on a recent camping trip where I experimented with your technique for spinning glow sticks and sparklers. I still plan on playing with technique but I thought camp fire light added an interesting effect. The kids got a kick out of running behind the camera to check on their latest masterpiece. Thanks.








JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Tue 24-Aug-10 01:50 AM
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#44. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 43


Montreal, CA
          

Hi John,

Just returned to this post after being away... your second photo with the young boy with the sparkler is a real charmer.

Should you try this again, perhaps have the children against a dark background without the fire in the frame as it draws attention away from the young lad, but still facing it for frontal illumination.

Ask them to stand very still just moving their arms with the sparklers only... and watch the magic that appears!

Have fun!

Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Tue 24-Aug-10 02:17 AM
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#45. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 44


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks for the advice. I was also thinking of a rear shutter flash at the end of a long exposure and see how that stops people motion. I would dial down flash exposure. It may mess up my white balance. I'll experiment some time.
You have been an inspiration. Thank you.

JohnE Nikon
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https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Tue 24-Aug-10 04:34 AM
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#46. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 45
Tue 24-Aug-10 01:48 PM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

"I would dial down flash exposure. It may mess up my white balance. I'll experiment some time."


Using a bit of flash as fill light is a great idea. And yes, you would have to dial it down a bit, to perhaps -1.7 to -2.0 stops so it will just provide a little pop without being too strong. But if you are doing a slow exposure, you have one more setting to make.

If you are using a D200, D300 or D700 (and I believe this works with the D80 and D90) when you push in the flash icon (lightning bolt), turn one of the command dials to change the flash firing to "REAR" sync mode. If you do not have Rear, then use SLOW sync.

What this will do is cause the flash to fire after the exposure, and in the case of REAR, just as the shutter is about to close, which will freeze the subject in the event they are moving.

In the example below, I had the lovely lit up fairy swing here dress back and forth. I asked the friendly gal to keep her face forward towards me. The flash fired just before the shutter closed making her face pin sharp, though her hands and dress have a nice blur as they were moving. I set the white balance to Incandescent to achieve the correct colour for the background lighting. This made the daylight balanced colour of the flash appear blue, which I found added to the overall tone very nicely.

In PS-CS3, I used the lasso tool circling her face, then colour corrected it a bit to lessen the blue cast. It took five photos to get this image just right. My camera was mounted on a tripod.


"You have been an inspiration."

Thank you for the compliments. Glad to be of help. Many others have inspired me in my own career.

Montreal's Winter Festival En Lumiere
Nikon D300, Nikkor 12-24 f/4 DX @ 14mm, ISO 800
Exposure: 1/4 sec @ f/8, WB Incandescent, Manual mode
SB800 flash with wide diffuser, Exp comp -1.7
©2009 Frederic Hore





Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RemarkableImages.ca


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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Tue 24-Aug-10 12:16 PM
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#47. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 46
Tue 24-Aug-10 12:18 PM by JohnE Nikon

New HArtford, US
          

Frederic,
Your attention to detail paid off in this exposure. Bravo!!

In my post I meant rear sync when I mentioned rear shutter. This is included as an option on my D5000.

I haven't reached the level of color correcting just part of an image. At this time I have Lightroom 3 and just started experimenting with dodging and burning and the gradient filter option. I have experimented with the free shareware GIMP and an older version of Photoshop, neither of which let me use my RAW data. As I learn I'm sure my post processing skills will improve along with my pictures. Thanks again.

JohnE Nikon
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https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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voyageurfred Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2007Tue 24-Aug-10 02:05 PM
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#48. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 47
Tue 24-Aug-10 02:12 PM by voyageurfred

Montreal, CA
          

"At this time I have Lightroom 3 and just started experimenting with dodging and burning and the gradient filter option."


Hi John,
I mentioned in Post 41 about Scott Kelby's excellent books for Photoshop. Also available is Lightroom 3, co-authored with other luminaries from Kelby Media titled "Lightroom 3 book for Digital Photographers" which I highly recommend.

Amazon.com has it available for $31.49 as seen here:

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Lightroom-Digital-Photographers-Voices/dp/0321700910/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282658275&sr=1-1

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Frederic

Nothing ventured... nothing gained!
http://www.RmarkableImages.ca

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Tue 24-Aug-10 05:34 PM
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#49. "RE: Fireworks image processing - my techniques"
In response to Reply # 48


New HArtford, US
          

Frederic,
Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

JohnE Nikon
https://plus.google.com/photos/104310967428146619677/albums?hl=en

https://picasaweb.google.com/104310967428146619677


"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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