Two Long Exposure Firework Photos
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I assumed that it would be difficult to take photos of fireworks in the small town where I am right now, and I was right. When the clock striked 12 midnight clock and the new year begun, we all went outside to pay attention to the fireworks, and I had my camera and tripod with me to try out long exposure photography. The biggest difficulty was that there was a much smaller quantity of fireworks in the heaven compared to the amount I am used to in Lübeck. In the town where I am now, I really had to guess where the next firework would start, while I would probably just need to point my camera somewhere into the heaven to get some firework photos if I would have been in the city.
Here in the small town I didn’t want to give up and tried it anyway. The two photos in the gallery of this posts are the best ones I could come up with, they are not great but ok. Unexperienced as I am with night and long exposure photography, I didn’t have a lot of time to get results, because this town had only firework ammunition for 10 or 15 minutes, and in the city you could try your luck for several hours until the morning. So, I stressed myself and shot several photos with different settings. As said, only the two in this post turned out ok, and I deleted all my other photos.
Here is what I learned: I was surprised, fireworks are bright, and you will end up with an extremely overexposed photo if you use a longer shutter speeds to get those light trails on the photo. Thus, I learned that ISO 100 is absolutely enough. I tried all kind of shutter speeds, such as 30 seconds, 15 seconds and 10 seconds. I was happy with 15 seconds shutter speed, and I noticed that the smallest aperture was needed. These or similar settings resulted in the two images of this posts. Now that sounds easy, but it really wasn’t, I think you need to re-adjust your settings all the time and it really depends on all kind of factors. Changing the focal length, will also change the aperture, which means you have to adjust the shutter speed too, in other words, it is trial and error.
I think you could get a lot of experience if the people would shoot fireworks into the heaven for several hours, that’s why I said it’s more difficult in a small town where the show is already over after 15 minutes or so. I think it’ll be more interesting next year when I celebrate new year in the city again. Something I should have mentioned before the other things is that focussing is not too difficult. You need to set your lens to infinite focus, I heard some lenses have an inscription, my lens doesn’t, but then you just have to point your camera at something bright far away so that you can pre-focus, and after that you can point your camera to the heaven and you are perfectly focused on the fireworks. The only difficulty is as said that you need to guess where the next fireworks will be, but that is as mentioned only difficult in a small town, but not in a city where you will see fireworks every few seconds in all directions.
I am a little bit sad that I could only get two photos, but I might have more luck in the city next year, and apart from that I might also have more experience at that point. Photography is learning by doing, and you build up experience in steps, sometimes in small steps, but every step is important, that’s why I am happy that I did at least try my luck. Happy New Year!