|Kuwait's 50th anniversary of Independence.|
Why luck?, you may ask. The reason is that fireworks generate lights of different intensity, and at random intervals. Your camera cannot do the calculations quickly enough to get the right exposure because the fireworks will be over before the camera computes the correct exposure. When shooting fireworks, almost everything has to be done manually.
Here's what you need to capture great pictures of fireworks.
2. Camera (preferably a dSLR) that can be set to "bulb" mode.
3. A cable release (or a remote) that can activate the shutter and then close the shutter when you decide that the right amount of light has reached the sensor.
5. Bit of luck.
|Nikon D300, f8, 5.2 seconds, ISO 200, 18mm, EV +0.5.|
|Nikon D300, f2.8, 1/6th Second, ISO 400, 18mm, EV +0.5|
If you are fairly close to the action, my recommendation is to go low on the ISO (in order to reduce noise), and a fairly decent aperture to get your object in sharp focus. I love to set my aperture to around f8 when shooting fireworks - though I may change this depending on the needs.
As for focusing, It is recommended to use manual focusing unless you are able to get the camera to focus on an object close to where the fireworks are going to happen. In my examples above, the Kuwait Towers was visible even when the fireworks were not going off - so I set my camera's focusing point on the tower and kept it on auto-focus. If there is no visible object for focusing (when there are no fireworks), manual focusing should be used.
|Nikon D300, f8, 3.9 seconds, ISO 200, 18mm, EV +0.5|
Don't hesitate taking multiple exposures and experiment with different shutter speeds. In the 1 hour that I stood looking at the awesome display put up by the Kuwait government on the commemoration of its 50th anniversary of Independence, I took exactly 603 pictures. Did they all come out this good? Definitely no. Some were over-exposed and some were under-exposed, but more than half of them were usable pictures. That's a lot of pictures of the fireworks.
Here are some more of the pictures that I processed from the lot.
And here's a video mash-up I did of all the 603 photos compressed in 3 and half minutes.