You can’t improve your photos by reading books about improving your photos any more than you can improve your guitar playing by reading books and never picking up a guitar.
You have to get your camera out and experiment. And tonight’s fireworks session was no exception.
Just before the celebrations started, Efrain gave us a starting point for our settings, and then it was up to us to experiment with our cameras, applying the night photography tips Efrain shared.
Take a look at a few of the photos we got:
Settings: 25 seconds at f/22, ISO 100
Settings: 4 seconds at f/8, ISO 200
Settings: 5 seconds at f/8, ISO 200
Settings: 20 seconds f/5.6, ISO 100
Settings: 1.6 seconds at f/8, ISO 200
Settings: 6 seconds at f/8, ISO 200
I’ll include a few of Efrain’s tips below. But, remember, you’ll never know how good a picture you can get, unless you TRY IT! New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. Maybe that’s a good time to play with capturing fireworks.
Or you can sign up for this three-night class and make your next photo sale something from your hometown instead of a trip or a fireworks display.
I’ll leave you with the tips Efrain gave us tonight that pretty much go for all night-time photography:
- Use a tripod.
- Bring a small flashlight so you can see back-of-camera controls and a cable release to eliminate camera shake (none of us had this in Albuquerque this week).
- Make sure your batteries are fully charged and your memory card is empty.
- Arrive well before the fireworks show begins to scout a location, set up your tripod, make sure your camera is leveled, and do some test shots.
- Set up so that the fireworks are on front (not above) you. And make sure you are upwind with the option of including interesting foreground subjects in your composition.
- Use a wider focal length to make sure fireworks are within your frame.
- Use low ISO (100 or 200) to eliminate noise (grain) in the dark areas of the picture.
- Use an aperture of f8 to f22 for good depth of field.
- Focus manually at infinity to make sure fireworks are in focus (or focus on foreground subjects if they are an important part of your composition).
- Engage “bulb” mode and try different shutter speeds ranging from 3 to 10 seconds, or for the duration of a particular burst.
- Try different compositions (vertical and horizontal, wider and tighter), and experiment until the cows come home.
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