I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend – all BBQs and sparklers included.
One of the great things about having a roof deck that we’ve discovered is a 360 view of fireworks in the city. And let me just tell you …. it was awesome. It felt like we were right in the middle of it all with fireworks bursting all around us and I managed to snag a few great shots of the action.
Forgive me if this post seems a little bit like I’m giving you a Christmas sweater on Christmas. I’m sure you’re sighing and wondering what you’re going to do with this information AFTER the 4th of July. That I can’t help you with, but I did want to give you my thoughts and advice on the matter while it’s still fresh in my mind. So here’s my advice on how to take pictures of fireworks with a DSLR camera:
- Set your camera to an ISO of 100, shutter speed of 1″, and the f-stop to somewhere between f/8 and f/16.
- Set the lens focus to manual and focus on something as close to where the fireworks are going off as possible. I set everything up before it got dark and focused on a building way off by the harbor. You can set the focus to infinity, but I’ve found that to almost end up looking like everything is fuzzy sometimes.
- If you have a tripod, perfect! Set that baby up and your good to go. If not, do NOT try and hold the camera. You’ll get too much motion blur. My advice would be to rest the camera on the ledge of your deck or if you’re like me, on top of a glass of wine that’s sitting on the railing. It’s not perfect and I definitely had a handful of pictures that I needed to delete, but I managed to get a few great ones to make up for it all.
- Note – I DO own and was using my tripod for awhile, but it started to rain and I decided to pack it all up. Then it stopped raining – cosmic joke – and I was too lazy to set it up again. Hence the wine glass on the railing trick, so I can vouch for both methods as equally effective.
- When it comes to actually taking the picture, remember your shutter speed is slow, so don’t wait until the fireworks have burst before pressing the shutter button. You’ll end up getting mostly “the fade.” If you press it too soon though, you end up getting what looks like a shooting star. Your best bet, is to take a few pictures and get your timing right.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY – don’t stress so much about getting the perfect shot that you forget to step back for a moment and just enjoy the show.