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Happy July 4th!

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Scott Merryfield, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Here are a few shots from the holiday fireworks and local parade. I still am a beginner when it comes to fireworks.
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  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I went to a favorite wetlands observation area, thinking I might have a decent view of the fireworks on the opposite shore. It was a bit too far away though, and the blooms didn't shoot as high as I thought they would, but it answered the question whether there was some secret location I could go to that would give me a view of the fireworks without battling the crowds (yes, but not exactly).

    Give the distance I was shooting exclusively at 200mm and then cropping pretty heavily in post.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ygx/7506347804/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ygx/7506347966/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ygx/7506348522/
     
  3. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Producer
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    Here were some I took during Tybee Islands show.
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    The evening was cool and the location was great.
    Doug
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I like that first shot, Cameron. It looks like a beautiful setting.
    I wish I'd taken my 70-200mm telephoto for the parade. Instead, I used the 24-105mm, and most of my photos ended up in the 70-105mm range. I could have used more reach.
    Doug,
    Very nice. How did you handle exposure? I am still struggling with exposure for fireworks, and really like the results you got.
    I've been using bulb mode, with a low ISO (100-200), and an aperture of f/8 - f/11. I will then hold the shutter open (via cable release) for the duration of the burst.
     
  5. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    Some good shots guys. Here's three from our FW show the mall puts on every year................
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  6. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Producer
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    S
    I used my 55-200 with ISO 100 set for 5seconds exposure at f11. I have the Nikon remote which I triggered when I saw the rocket trail. The first year I tried this I used bulb mode and didn't necessarily care for the results, which led to experimentation with different exposure times. That is how I happened upon 5 seconds. Sometimes it seems more like luck, especially in the composition, but I was pleased. Thanks for your comments,
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Wonderful stuff guys, I skipped fireworks so far this year, they cancelled Red Bank's Kaboom, I may see the Atlantic Highlands NJ one tho on Friday.
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Shooting fireworks in San Diego this year would have made for an interesting challenge.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/07/entire-san-diego-fireworks-show-exploded-in-15-seconds-ruining-show.html
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Doug. That is an interesting variation in technique. I will have to give it a try next time. You are right, though, in that a lot of luck is involved. You never know how bright each burst will be, nor how long it will last, until after the fact. I get more misses than hits. Using bulb mode helps to adjust to this a little, but it still feels like I am just rolling dice with each exposure. For composition, I shoot wider to accommodate the largest bursts, and then crop a little if I get a smaller burst that turns out well.
    Cameron, I saw that report about the San Diego fireworks on this morning's news. My wife and I discussed how pissed we would have been after spending time fighting the crowds to get there and waiting around, only to have the entire fireworks last less than 30 seconds!
     
  10. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Old hat to you guys, but an hour long discussion of best practices for fireworks shots;
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/insights/blogs/photography/how-i-got-shot-john-cornicello-shows-us-how-photograph-fireworks.html
     
  11. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    One thing I never thought of, ND filters for fireworks!

    http://digital-photography-school.com/neutral-density-filter-fireworks-photography
     
  12. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Overall I was pretty meh on the fireworks pictures I took this 4th of July, but this one reminded me of a cosmic skull. It kinda blows my mind and makes me smile!
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    18-4thOfJuly-5521
    by Sam Posten III, on Flickr
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Nice, Sam. Our local community used to have a fireworks display at the local township park within walking distance of our house. Unfortunately, they decided to cut out the program to cut costs, so the past two years we've had no fireworks. :(
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    From that link...
    "if you were photographing a fireworks show and found that a shutter speed of 10 seconds at f/16 and ISO 200 achieved a proper exposure, a shutter speed of 80 seconds at f/16 and ISO 200 would be the proper exposure with a ND 0.9 filter."

    Actually, that's not right. With fireworks, the light is moving, so longer shutter speeds don't mean more exposure, they mean longer trails of light. Your aperture and ISO are what determine how bright the light is. Similar to sky trails. There's a lot of hit and miss with fireworks, since they aren't all the same brightness.
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    BTW, just to add my two cents (and I realize this thread was resurrected from 7 years ago) but my #1 suggestion to most of you is to use a shorter lens. Approach it more like Scott's shots in the first post. The only thing he needed to do was close down his lens several stops and/or reduce the ISO. I'd always shoot at the lowest ISO, so you have the greatest dynamic range. Of course, shoot the highest quality RAW option you have.
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I dunno. Maybe if you have an interesting backdrop I'd agree on going wider. Most of ours are over ocean so it's just a big blob of black out there. And they don't turn the goddamn lights off on the docks so you have to compete with that. I have to crop it 90% of the time.

    Otherwise I agree, ISO 200, bulb exposure =)

    All of my stuff is for -me- tho, and if others enjoy it, great. I'm not making images for contests or clients.
     
  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    My suggestion was just to try and get some surrounding area in the photos, if you can. That's not always possible, but it usually is if you choose a vantage point with the in mind.
     
    Doug Wallen and Sam Posten like this.

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