First experience with shooting fireworks...

posted on 11th of march, 2011

I always dremt to take photograpy of a firework. And finally I managed to do this. Unfortunately, fireworks are very short events and it is not possible to change spot adjusting for the best view. One does not know EXACTLY where it will happen. Noway to set composition before it starts...

For my first firework session on March 6th 2011 (it was dedicated to the beginning of orthodoxal Lent) I choosen the spot at the Red Square in Moscow with Saint Basil's Cathedral that served as an excellent foreground.

My idea was to use exposure time which would be long enough to catch essential part of firework splashes. I wanted to catch not a short moment but development of splashes.

Here are settings: (1) tripod, (2) ISO100 (to supress noise), (3) t=2sec, (4) f/7.1. I had to choose the last parameter (f/7.1) checking histogram. Now I think, that pairs (t=4 sec - f/11), (t=8 sec - f/15) or even (t=16sec - f/22) were worth to try, as well. But I prefered to get 'lot of something' rather than a 'little bit of everything'. So, I left experiments with aperture/exposure for next time limiting myself by experiments with focal length (18mm - 55mm).

Anyway, two images have been just approved on DT and here they are:

Comments (24)

Posted by Igordabari on February 24, 2013
Thanks. Honestly, I did not take any measures to hide smoke. The most probablky, there was no smoke there...
Posted by Dolechen on February 24, 2013
Really beautiful firework pictures!! May I know how to shoot fireworks without smoke? Because in my experience, there is always black smoke surrounding the fireworks,which really ruins the pretty image.
Posted by Cafebeanzphoto on April 05, 2011
WOW, Great capture !!!!!
Posted by Saje on April 04, 2011
Great shots! One method I've had success with also is to use the bulb setting and hold a black card in front of the lens. Just before the firework bursts, remove the card for a couple of seconds and then cover the lens again. You can get multiple firework bursts on one frame without all the smoke clouds you sometimes get with long shutter speeds. Wish I had a foreground site as awesome as Saint Basil's!
Posted by Teguhonly on March 16, 2011
wonderful, perfect shot!
Posted by Franfoto on March 16, 2011
Very nice spots. Special the combination of the church towers and the firework. Congratulations.
Posted by Scottysally2 on March 13, 2011
These are beautiful shots. :)
Posted by Joe1971 on March 12, 2011
It is very beautiful!!!
Posted by Igordabari on March 12, 2011
to Martinedegraaf: Yes, Martin. I know this trick. Thanks. But if one has not LiveView option on ones camera (like me) it becomes a mess to get precise focus manualy. Then, there is another trick. You should set automateed focus and then direct camera on some object which is at the same distance as firework is expected. Aperture should be completely open. Then you slightly push button making camera to adjust focus. And as soon as camera finds focus, you should change for manual focus. After this you close aperture as much as possible (to keep histogram to be correct) and after this you should not touch anything except for remote control.

By this way you use authomatic focus only once for all the session (given that you are not going to change focal distance).
Posted by Igordabari on March 12, 2011
to Joezachs: aperture will depends on lot of factors. I guess, the main one is distance between your camera and firework. The principal thing which I learned from my first session is that exposure time should be of seconds scale (1-10).
Posted by Igordabari on March 12, 2011
Thank you, colleagues! I inspired by you to take more firework shots. The next one is expected in Moscow on May 9th on the Victory Day. Definitely, I will try.
Posted by lzf on March 12, 2011
nice pics .
Posted by Thanatonautii on March 12, 2011
Wonderful photos ! They look like they are from a fairytale :)
Posted by Martinedegraaf on March 12, 2011
Nice shots Igor! The combination looks magical!
One more useful setting (especially when there is no fixed foreground in the image) is to switch to manual focus, focus once and leave it there. Takes away a lot of frustration when the camera is still trying to focus while the fireworks already are dying away ;)
Posted by Gmargittai on March 12, 2011
Beautiful images, I will try again on 4'th of July...
Posted by FabioConcetta on March 12, 2011
Very very very nice, congratulations :)
Posted by Joezachs on March 11, 2011
Your final results are really beautiful.
And thanks for that information on (t=4 sec - f/11), (t=8 sec - f/15)(t=16sec - f/22) That is a good guideline.
Posted by Shootalot on March 11, 2011
These are beautiful! Fireworks are not easy to shoot and these photos are nicely exposed.
Posted by Cmarshall717 on March 11, 2011
Amazing! Beautiful color and composition. Great job!
Posted by Wildmac on March 11, 2011
Great images! :)
Posted by Halilin on March 11, 2011
cong:) the red is beautiful...
Posted by Egomezta on March 11, 2011
Your images are great... Thanks for sharing your experience.
Posted by Homydesign on March 11, 2011
Great work!
Posted by BCritchley on March 11, 2011
Great results and very well done :-)

Comments (24)

This article has been read 1554 times. 8 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Igor Sokalski.

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I started to take photo seriously in 2009 shooting sky objects (which my PF started with). Then I extended my interest to other subjects. I would be grateful to those buyers who let me know how and where my images are used. It can be done by commenting the image that has been bought. Thank you!

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