First experience with shooting fireworks...

I always dremt to take photograpy of a firework. And finally I managed to do this. Unfortunately, fireworks are very short events and it is not possible to change spot adjusting for the best view. One does not know EXACTLY where it will happen. Noway to set composition before it starts...

For my first firework session on March 6th 2011 (it was dedicated to the beginning of orthodoxal Lent) I choosen the spot at the Red Square in Moscow with Saint Basil's Cathedral that served as an excellent foreground.

My idea was to use exposure time which would be long enough to catch essential part of firework splashes. I wanted to catch not a short moment but development of splashes.

Here are settings: (1) tripod, (2) ISO100 (to supress noise), (3) t=2sec, (4) f/7.1. I had to choose the last parameter (f/7.1) checking histogram. Now I think, that pairs (t=4 sec - f/11), (t=8 sec - f/15) or even (t=16sec - f/22) were worth to try, as well. But I prefered to get 'lot of something' rather than a 'little bit of everything'. So, I left experiments with aperture/exposure for next time limiting myself by experiments with focal length (18mm - 55mm).

Anyway, two images have been just approved on DT and here they are:

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February 24, 2013


Thanks. Honestly, I did not take any measures to hide smoke. The most probablky, there was no smoke there...

February 24, 2013


Really beautiful firework pictures!! May I know how to shoot fireworks without smoke? Because in my experience, there is always black smoke surrounding the fireworks,which really ruins the pretty image.

April 05, 2011


WOW, Great capture !!!!!

April 04, 2011


Great shots! One method I've had success with also is to use the bulb setting and hold a black card in front of the lens. Just before the firework bursts, remove the card for a couple of seconds and then cover the lens again. You can get multiple firework bursts on one frame without all the smoke clouds you sometimes get with long shutter speeds. Wish I had a foreground site as awesome as Saint Basil's!

March 16, 2011


wonderful, perfect shot!

March 16, 2011


Very nice spots. Special the combination of the church towers and the firework. Congratulations.

March 13, 2011


These are beautiful shots. :)

March 12, 2011


It is very beautiful!!!

March 12, 2011


to Martinedegraaf: Yes, Martin. I know this trick. Thanks. But if one has not LiveView option on ones camera (like me) it becomes a mess to get precise focus manualy. Then, there is another trick. You should set automateed focus and then direct camera on some object which is at the same distance as firework is expected. Aperture should be completely open. Then you slightly push button making camera to adjust focus. And as soon as camera finds focus, you should change for manual focus. After this you close aperture as much as possible (to keep histogram to be correct) and after this you should not touch anything except for remote control.

By this way you use authomatic focus only once for all the session (given that you are not going to change focal distance).

March 12, 2011


to Joezachs: aperture will depends on lot of factors. I guess, the main one is distance between your camera and firework. The principal thing which I learned from my first session is that exposure time should be of seconds scale (1-10).

March 12, 2011


Thank you, colleagues! I inspired by you to take more firework shots. The next one is expected in Moscow on May 9th on the Victory Day. Definitely, I will try.

March 12, 2011


nice pics .

March 12, 2011


Wonderful photos ! They look like they are from a fairytale :)

March 12, 2011


Nice shots Igor! The combination looks magical!
One more useful setting (especially when there is no fixed foreground in the image) is to switch to manual focus, focus once and leave it there. Takes away a lot of frustration when the camera is still trying to focus while the fireworks already are dying away ;)

March 12, 2011


Beautiful images, I will try again on 4'th of July...

March 12, 2011


Very very very nice, congratulations :)

March 11, 2011


Your final results are really beautiful.
And thanks for that information on (t=4 sec - f/11), (t=8 sec - f/15)(t=16sec - f/22) That is a good guideline.

March 11, 2011


These are beautiful! Fireworks are not easy to shoot and these photos are nicely exposed.

March 11, 2011


Amazing! Beautiful color and composition. Great job!

March 11, 2011


Great images! :)

March 11, 2011


cong:) the red is beautiful...

March 11, 2011


Your images are great... Thanks for sharing your experience.

March 11, 2011


Great work!

March 11, 2011


Great results and very well done :-)

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Photo credits: Igor Sokalski.