Saturday, July 2, 2011
getting ready for the big day...
The 4th is quickly approaching. Here are some tips for getting great photos of the celebration. Unfortunately, Arizona has been besieged with wildfires. To avoid any more, fireworks have been banned in most of the state. I won't be out shooting fireworks this year but I would love to see what you capture! Leave me a link.
Shooting Fireworks by Barbara Carroll
1. Bring a small flashlight with you. This will allow you to check your camera settings in the dark. I have a small one with a ring on it that I keep attached to my camera bag. It comes in handy.
2. Turn off your flash. It will be useless in this situation. If you are unsure about turning off your flash, check your manual.
3. Use a tripod. If you don’t have one, use the top of your car, a tree stump, anything that won’t move and will keep your camera safe. Be careful of crowds. I have used the top of my car and some crumpled up t-shirts to get my camera in just the right position. Handholding in this instance will give you a lot of blurry photos. If you have a cable release, a remote or a self timer, use it. This will help to eliminate camera shake.
4. Be aware of your background. This, of course, is according to your taste. I like to have only the sky. I have seen some remarkable photographs taken in city settings with beautiful buildings included in the photograph. Certainly fireworks pictures taken at Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without Cinderella’s castle. Cars, fences, trees, telephone poles etc. can detract from the photograph. A simple background is usually the best. Try to be in a dark area, free of street or car lights.
5. Set your ISO to 100 or 200. Although it seems natural to set it as high as it will go, you will be more successful using a low ISO and keeping your shutter open for a longer period of time. Graininess in photos can look really cool but in photos of fireworks, it is a distraction and hard to remove effectively. If you are unsure about changing your ISO, check your manual.
6. Anticipate the action. You can usually hear the launch and then click the shutter when you expect the burst.
7. Try these settings:
a. ISO 100, shutter speed 1 second, aperture f/8 or f/11 or f/16, set your focus at infinity. Most cameras will have to hunt to focus in the dark, so put your lens on manual focus (there should be a switch on the lens). Vary your shutter speeds from 1 – 5 seconds.
b. Use the same settings and if you have a B (bulb) setting on your camera, set it on B. Then you can keep your shutter open for as long as you like. Keep your finger on the shutter (or use a cable release) during a burst. It is fun to keep it open for 5 seconds to get lots of fireworks.
c. Bracket your exposures. This means trying different settings to see which works the best. Look up bracketing in your manual for a quick explanation. I would suggest only varying the shutter speed.
8. Choose your lens. If you are close to the action, choose your wide angle lens. If you are further away, use your telephoto lens. Try vertical and horizontal shots.
9. Take advantage of your digital camera. Take plenty of pictures. Every one won’t be a keeper in these changing circumstances. Try a variety of settings and continue to check your pictures to see if you are getting what you want.
10. Be safe! Fireworks can cause injury so make sure you don’t get so wrapped up in your photography that you forget about safety!
I am so happy to be back. Thanks for all your good wishes!