CDLC Photographing Fireworks Quick Tips + Additional Tips from Us for Your Independence Day Imagery

Fireworks Display Over the Ohio River 2013
For those in the United States, our Independence Day holiday is only 2 weeks away. This represents one of the best opportunities we have to capture an epic scene with the grandure of a fireworks display.
 
From the Canon Digital Learning Center:

"Fireworks are one of the most inspiring and photogenic, yet challenging subjects, to capture. And unfortunately, this is one of those shooting situations where fully automatic exposure and focusing may not help. However, with these tricks up your sleeve, a few accessories and a willingness to experiment, you'll capture amazing fireworks photos this Fourth of July!"

Check out the entire article over at the Canon Digital Learning Center.
 
Also be sure to check out Bryan's own Fireworks Photography Tips.
 
Yet Another Tip from T-D-P: Use a tripod and mulitple exposures (blended in Photoshop) to create the scene with background/sky detail.
 
Last year my father and I [Sean] spent Independence Day in Metropolis, IL. The town had a fireworks display right on Ohio River.
 
We arrived at the event location rather early. I set up a tripod-mounted EOS 7D + EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and attached a shutter release cable for easy shooting. I took several exposures to ensure I had the framing I wanted. I also loved the color of the sky and was happy to capture a few images of it.
 
Unfortunately (but predictably), the event staff waited until it was completely dark to start the fireworks display. As there were very few ambient light sources around, the framing I intended was quite meaningless – the setting simply would not be visible in the exposures containing the fireworks (at the lower ISOs I was hoping to use). But then I had an epiphany...
 
I shot about 70-80 images of the fireworks with an exposure that left me with completely black background but with good looking fireworks bursts – f/8, 4-6 seconds, ISO 200.
 
After the fireworks were finished I sorted through them and picked out the best sky/background exposure and my favorite fireworks burst images. I used the Lighten blend mode for the fireworks images and layered several on top of my base image. The end result appears at the top of this post.
 
In hindsight, I should have captured several varying exposures of my base image so that I could have retained detail in the trees and water (through blending the various images). But otherwise, I was happy with how it turned out.
 
And technically speaking, you could do this in-camera using the EOS 1-series, 5D Mark III or 6D's Mulitple Exposure feature. However, I prefer the post-processing method as it reduces the complexity of capturing images during the event.
 
Questions or commnets? Additional tips? Leave them in the comments section below.

Posted: 6/20/2014 8:48:33 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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