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Thread: Photographing fireworks without tripod.

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    Photographing fireworks without tripod.

    I want to shoot the NYE fireworks in Sydney but I will be on a ship hence no tripod. Any suggestions on what setting to use? I will be using a D700 and have the choice of these lenses to consider (we will be placed right in front of Sydney Harbour Bridge) Nikkor 16-35, 28-300 or 35 and 50 primes. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks and happy new year.

    Dave.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Good luck with that.

    D700 up to as high an ISO as you are happy to use to ensure a fast shutter speed. Lens aperture as wide open as possible, again to ensure as fast a shutter speed as possible, you are going to want to try to get a shutter speed of at least 1/250, and higher if possible. Though what you are about to attempt will not be easy and may not be successful.
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    Thanks Rick I'm expecting a degree of difficulty. With a fast shutter speed I will have to be spot on with the timing to capture the burst at the right moment, then with the higher ISO there is noise to consider. Hmmm, might be best to put the camera away and just enjoy the show.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Then again I have my Sony cybershot with movie mode...

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Which of the Nikkor 16-35 and the 35 prime has the widest f/stop?
    Use continuous shooting drive mode.

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    Ausphotography Veteran Speedway's Avatar
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    The last time I shot fireworks I used the 7D and 70-200 F2.8 at F4 70mm ISO400 at 1/10sec handheld and got quite good results.
    Cheers
    Keith.

    Sample
    Keith Rnd 169 Fiery Palm 5517Ap.jpg
    Last edited by Speedway; 30-12-2012 at 10:37pm. Reason: Add Photo.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotog View Post
    Thanks Rick I'm expecting a degree of difficulty. With a fast shutter speed I will have to be spot on with the timing to capture the burst at the right moment, then with the higher ISO there is noise to consider. Hmmm, might be best to put the camera away and just enjoy the show.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Then again I have my Sony cybershot with movie mode...
    Problem solved: Hasn't 7D got a burst mode?

    Am(aybe?).
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway View Post
    The last time I shot fireworks I used the 7D and 70-200 F2.8 at F4 70mm ISO400 at 1/10sec handheld and got quite good results.
    Cheers
    Keith.
    This looks OK, whilst there is not a lot of colour it is what it is. I would file this as abstract, it's a great palm tree!
    gb From GB
    C&C is more than welcome, it's encouraged.

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    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    To get good shots of fireworks, you need exposure times of around 3 seconds, so you will need to have something to hold the camera steady.
    If you use a fast shutter speed, the colours and trails just won't come out well.

    If you can, rest your camera on the handrail using a bean bag or similar, maybe even a cushion or a folded towel will work OK, but the longer the exposure, the better they shots will look.

    These were taken using a 3.2 second exposure.

    NYE11-7883.jpg


    NYE11-7923.jpg
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    I use a monopod when I am shooting whales from a moving boat, can't see any reason why it mightn't work for this too. It is fast shutter speed stuff but the monopod should help a bit.
    Odille

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    Sunrise Chaser
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    To get good shots of fireworks, you need exposure times of around 3 seconds, so you will need to have something to hold the camera steady.
    If you use a fast shutter speed, the colours and trails just won't come out well.

    If you can, rest your camera on the handrail using a bean bag or similar, maybe even a cushion or a folded towel will work OK, but the longer the exposure, the better they shots will look.

    These were taken using a 3.2 second exposure.

    NYE11-7883.jpg


    NYE11-7923.jpg









    I think a lot to do with focusing , George did you use M or AF focus, I agree the longer exposure works well
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    A tri or monopod were out of the question, we had a lot of passengers, many from overseas who paid big money for this night. Plus I wanted to shoot from the top of a 30 meter mast. While I had many failures at 1/6 sec exposure, I did manage a few somewhat decent shots. I don't mind the soft focus effect. I used my Sony Cybershot HX 20 for these.
    A cushion or beanbag may have worked well George, thanks everyone for your input.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by fotog; 01-01-2013 at 6:54pm.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    I like the last one Dave.

    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    I think a lot to do with focusing , George did you use M or AF focus,....
    I'd say use manual focus. I forgot to turn AF off, using bulb mode some came out focused, and some came out like this;

    IMG_2763.JPG



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    What would you focus on? Infinty? The fireworks were being fired off from many different locations.
    Last edited by fotog; 01-01-2013 at 9:11pm.

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    This one I took at 1/5th handheld. Just rest the camera on my lap and aim from down low, pre autofocus, then set to manual focus.
    Sometimes it's nice to see a bit of context.

    See my work on

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    “He who thinks little, errs much…” L.DV One Click's Avatar
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    As you can see lots of noise in this one.
    I followed instructions I read on Nikon My Life FB page.
    Use a tripod, set a slow shutter speed (2-5sec),set to bulb, ISO 400 and aperture between f/5.6 and f/8.
    I have never done any night photography before this and will now practice in order to be ready
    for New Years Eve 2013, do you think I have enough time?


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    It's challenging to take low light photos without a tripod but possible. You have done a pretty good job here but you could improve it with some editing. Yes keep practicing, you have a whole year and we want to see some good results next NYE.

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    “He who thinks little, errs much…” L.DV One Click's Avatar
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    Thanks for that fotog.
    What editing do you suggest?
    Will point out this was taken from about 15km away.

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    I use lightroom 4. I have upgraded from lightroom 3.6 but I am having some issues with it. LR 3.6 was no problem at all, it's very user friendly. I recommend it. A lot of photographers use it in conjunction with Photoshop Elemmnts, but on it's own it is quite a good editing program.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    I like the last one Dave.


    I'd say use manual focus. I forgot to turn AF off, using bulb mode some came out focused, and some came out like this;

    IMG_2763.JPG


    Fuzzy at least, Mark, Warm too?
    m.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Click View Post
    What editing do you suggest?
    See what you can do playing around with shadows, highlights and contrast.

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