For the fireworks show this year at Boomer Lake, I decided to zoom in on the action a little closer. My friends and I were already pretty close at maybe 100 yards from the launch zone, so it didn’t take much lens to get frame filling images. All of the shots this year were taken with my Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8 lens. I used a tripod, cable release, and circular polarizer on my lens since I didn’t have an equivalent neutral density filter to lower the exposures. Most of the shots are either cropped or shot at longer focal lengths around 70mm. [Read more…]
I finally decided to put together a gear list of items I use or have used in the past for my photography. My collection has really grown over the years, and of course I don’t carry all this stuff with me everywhere I go. Some odds & ends aren’t on the list, but it’s a good overview of the items I use. The Gear link on the menu will take you to the page with the all the details.
Tips for camera setup with fireworks
- Use a tripod because exposure times will be many seconds long.
- Set the camera to Manual exposure mode.
- Use a cable release with shutter speed set to BULB so you can start and stop the exposures without having to keep your hands on the camera.
- If you don’t have a cable release, set your shutter speed to values of 1 second or longer (4 to 10 seconds is usually what I do with my cable release). The longer exposure times create longer trails and capture more explosions in a single frame.
- Turn off auto focus and pre-focus your lens at a target approximately the same distance as the fireworks.
- Use a low ISO such as 100 or 200.
- Experiment with various apertures, but f/11 to f/16 are good starting points.
- You may even need to add a 1-3 stop neutral density filter or polarizer to help reduce the amount of incoming light.
- Start exposures before you see the firework explode so that you capture the entire explosion. If you start after you see them explode, you’ll capture just the tips of the trails with nothing in the middle.
When the fireworks start, your camera will be ready if you have followed the above tips. Start off with an aperture of about f/16. Before a firework launches, press and hold the cable release to begin the exposure. Continue holding it while the firework launches and explodes over a period of 4-10 seconds. Finally, release the button on the cable release to stop the exposure. Experiment by altering the f/stop and amount of time you press the cable release during exposures.
There’s a new addition to my bag of camera gear today – the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3! It’s the little one in the photo just in case you were wondering. The camera towering over it is a Nikon D2X which has been my main camera for the last several years. However, the big D-SLR hasn’t exactly been convenient for casual shooting or when I’d rather not look like the paparazzi in a crowd. With the LX3’s fast, wide lens, full manual controls, and RAW image capability, it should be a great low light and casual shooting companion. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger versions.