Fireworks Focus

After everything else I did on Canada day, I also went out to watch the fireworks. I got a new vantage point this year as a friend took us onto the military base that was directly across the bay from where they were firing them off from. This was awesome to not have any trees or houses in the way. Sometimes having those in the shot can add some depth to the images, I wanted to see what I could do without them.

Some tips for shooting images of fireworks.

  • use a tripod
  • use a cable release
  • go full manual (set the aperture, use the bulb setting, manual focus)
  • take a flashlight
  • get to the sight early (at least 20 minutes I would say)
  • take a few sample shots to test exposure using the cable release and guessing the exposure time, but also look very closely at your focus and make sure everything is sharp

When all of this is done, you are ready to watch the show. When using the cable release you can still watch the show and snap shots while doing that. If your camera is setup as I mentioned, there isn’t anything it needs to do other than open the aperture. It doesn’t need to focus, or adjust any settings.

Play around while taking pictures. Vary the exposure length. Re-compose the scene every once in a while, zoom in, zoom out, rotate the camera 90 degrees. If you watch carefully you can see the rockets firing up into the air. When you see this you can start your exposure before the burst and get some lovely light trails. Try to predict what is going to happen.

Take your luck to the shoot, but most importantly enjoy yourself since this is supposed to be fun. When it is all over, expect to throw away a lot of shots. Try cropping them to make them more dramatic.

Here are my shots from last night.