Photo tip: fireworks May 15th, 2018   [viewed 4 times]

Not that difficult...

We will review together the points that must be retained. Taking a picture of fireworks means taking a picture at night (of course!) but also using your camera differently than usual. But the results can be so beautiful.

What you have to understand is that what you want to photograph is mainly the development of one or more rockets, which can take several seconds.

Your device

A well loaded Reflex or Compact, with its empty memory card. But that, you had surely guessed.... If you have to choose a lens, avoid zooming. The ideal focal length is more around 50 mm. do not frame too tight not to cut the rockets, it is not pretty. If you want to use a Smartphone, see below...

With one foot!

To be able to take pictures with sufficient exposure time, you absolutely need a stand: a mini tripod or telescopic tripod, provided it is stable. You will need to attach the camera to the tripod. If you have a wireless remote control, it will be even better. If you don't have a tripod, use your imagination to support the camera on a low wall, the roof of a car... but it will be more difficult!

How do we do that?

Where to stand?

Avoid crowd bathing in the middle of the area determined by safety cords. Try to look for a clear spot, from where you can see the shooting site of the fire, but also the whole sky above. Check that there are no street lights or trees in your field of vision. If the fire is drawn at the water's edge, try to position yourself so that you can photograph the rockets and their reflections on the water table at the same time.

With a bridge or compact

If possible, choose "fireworks" scene mode. And take your first pictures like this. Otherwise, set to semi manual focus, and try to choose a shooting time of 3s, with priority to speed, with minimal sensitivity (ISO 100) and focus yourself on infinity. If you leave the autofocus, it will take too long to do this operation, if it succeeds.....

With a remote control

Prefer using the firework control system if you have one. Often coupled with a self-timer, it delays the triggering of the photo by about 2 s. You will then have to anticipate the bursting of the rockets by 2 s to trigger...

A little wind!

A light wind will be essential to disperse quickly the fumes produced by the explosions of the rockets. Otherwise, these grey fumes will very quickly "dirty" the sky, and deprive you of a beautiful black background.

Turn off the flash

No need to persist in wanting to use it, it is useless at this distance. Even an external flash can only light up to 10 m away, while the fire is more likely to be fired more than 200 m from where you are. Besides, you're gonna embarrass the neighbors. Turn it off altogether.

With a reflex

Remove the automatic stabilizer if necessary. Switch to Speed Priority mode (S or Tv). Set to a minimum sensitivity (ISO 100), a shooting time around 3 to 9s, and infinity focus. In manual mode, you can also set the aperture to around f/10. Note that for moments when many rockets are combined, like the final bouquet, it is interesting to close the diaphragm more (f/16)

Check your settings

After reviewing your first pictures on the data panel, adjust your shutter speed and aperture settings.

Photo touch-ups

When you get home, you can edit your photos with software like Studio-Scrap. For that it will always be preferable to accept a slight underexposure (very dark photo) which can be corrected in post-processing, rather than overexposure, which "burns" all the colors, and which cannot be caught up...