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Help me dial in my fireworks settings for tonight!

Discussion in 'Night, InfraRed, and UltraViolet Photography' started by JohnC, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. Do you all have any good recommendations for settings to use for night time fireworks shows?

    I use a D80 and the lenses I have are in my sig. Which lens do you think will work best?


    Thanks, all!
  2. That link doesn't go anywhere, baseballer.
  3. Hi JohnC,

    I tried shooting in aperture priority mode (iso@400-800 @ f 2.0 with my 17-55) with my D2Xs and got mostly unsatisfactory shots, a couple keepers. Then I did some research and found the following: most sources suggest setting your ISO between 100-400 (a 2-stop range), f stop 8-16 (again a 2-stop range), shutter speed 1-4 seconds (again a 2-stop range) and using a normal focal length lens.

    Fireworks are very difficult due to their varied intensity and other ambient light. Therefore, take advantage of digital's instant gratification, and try an ISO of 400 with and exposure of 2 seconds @ f8 and look at your first couple of shots then adjust for correct exposure. In addition, consider the following: 1) adjust general over/underexposure by changing f stop or ISO. 2) adjust shutter speed to lengthen or shorten the amount of time that the camera captures the individual display. 3) Sturdy tripod is a must, preferably with a remote cord. 4) Be aware of ambient light (street lights, etc).

    Lastly, this is what I am going to try tonight for my first shot: D2Xs, ISO@400, 2 seconds @ f8 and using my 17-55 and/or 18-200. I will then adjust the iso and/or f-stop to correct for over/under exposures and adjust the shutter speed to get more or less firework trails.

    Hope this helps and good luck to both of us,
  4. The tips in those other threads covered it pretty well, but I thought I'd post as I use a smaller aperture than many and I think that helps intensify the color.

    Last year I used a 28-70f2.8 on a tripod (or maybe it was an 18-70, not sure). Manual focus to infinity, ISO100, mirror lock-up with cable release, manual camera settings 4.0sec. at either f16 or f22. This one's at f16:

  5. Thanks for the tips, everyone! This will be my first time ever doing this, so wish me luck. :) 

    I'm just hoping to get a good spot in the crowd. That will be the ultimate factor in if I get good shots, or if I have to abort because of a bad location and too many people bumping around. :/
  6. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    John, you should come up for Boomsday on Labor Day in Knoxville, a lot of opportunity. You get 20 minutes to shoot.
  7. Well, I got some great shots in Nashville of the fireworks show. Pictures to come asap! :D 
  8. Firelarz


    Feb 26, 2006
    Chandler, AZ
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. AtlPikMan


    Sep 21, 2008
    Atlanta Ga
    I thought this thread may be of some use for later tonight...Bumbage.
  10. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  11. MikeG76


    Jun 11, 2008
    Middletown, NY
    Very impressive! Great job!

    Years ago, the way I used to take pictures of fireworks would be to use a tripod, use bulb, set manual focus to infinity, aperture wide open. I'd open the shutter when I heard the rocket go off and close it after a couple of fireworks exploded.

    The hardest part was just making sure you were pointing to the right part of the sky. Other than that its not bad at all.

    I think I used an old 28-80mm on a Minolta film body.
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