Shooting fireworks with the 800?

Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
58
Location
united states
This is the first year and opportunity I've had to shoot displays on or around the 4th with my relatively new D-800.

Last night was a partial bomb which resulted in shots with too much smoke or the snap was taken too late. Actually, a good deal of them look like they came out of an astronomy magazine! I love astro pix however that was not my intent.

Not having shot this type of event before I was all over the place trying to come up with settings and technique that would work while the show was in progress.

I was so tired after a long drive from another state earlier in the day I failed to remember to use AF-C mode which may of helped.

There's another display on Sat night so I have a chance to potentially redeem myself!

Accordingly, please assist me in relaying your advice, camera settings and suggestions so I can get up to speed post haste.

Hope everyone had a happy 4th.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
1,547
Location
Famington Hills, MI
Manuel mode, ISO 100 no auto ISO, relatively long shutter speeds (like 1/15), tripod mount, and preferably an off camera trigger. Focus mode should be Af-s because you should be shooting at infinity. You can also set up the camera from single shot to multi shoots i.e CH. You can try and time the shots when you see the mortars going into the air. Trigger the camera just before you think the firework will go off. The exposure has to be really on if your going to capture color.

With a tripod and the camera in the same place you can later stack them in PS if you want.

P.S. I didn't take any shots of fireworks this year due to a migraine.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
6,698
Location
Riverside, CA
Focus manually, you don't want it hunting (set focus and leave it).

As long as an exposure as you can without blowing out too terribly. A few seconds if you can. Stop down to f8 or so and use a low ISO (maybe the negative ISO) to achieve that long exposure.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2013
Messages
212
Location
Maebashi, Japan
Like has been said already. f/8 or f/11, iso 100. Camera on a tripod, open shutter, wait for two or three bursts, let them "play out," (i.e. fade to dark), close shutter and wait for the next ones.
Remember, your brain will play a few tricks on you as you look at these things. We see the firework explode and remember the streaming, burning particles but your camera won't record that if you close the shutter too early or open it too late. You need to record the explosion of the shell in the air and record the full stream of burning fragments to get a pleasing shot. Watch the shell as it rises and open the shutter just before it gets to the top of it's flight.
"Normal" or even wide angle lenses are useful, especially if you are close to where the shells are being sent up.
We have our big fireworks festivals here during the month of August. I'm getting ready for them now.:wink:
Have fun!
Greg
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2011
Messages
1,304
Location
tha US
I shot an entire fireworks display for the first time with my D800; while I had an idea of what might work, I ended up at ISO 1600, f/8, at 1/2 a second for attaining the proper exposure and the trails we normally associate with nice fireworks pictures. My personal favorites tended to stick to those settings since my best were as I perfected the settings, but a few didn't.

Here are my favorite three!

9211322963_65e918820c_b.jpg
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_DSC2493m by Lunitic, on Flickr

9211325305_2f3a79f1ba_b.jpg
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_DSC2448m by Lunitic, on Flickr

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_DSC2433m by Lunitic, on Flickr
 
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
418
Location
Preston, Lancashire.
Use your highest clean ISO, in your case ISO1600 would be fine.
Manual focus, usually to infinity! Depends how far away you are?!?!
F8...
5 Secs to 15 Secs exposures....
Tripod and cable release or use the 2 Sec delay and try to time your shots!
If using a release cable, try bulb mode!
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2008
Messages
1,400
Location
Middle of Nowhere, Ontario
Use your highest clean ISO, in your case ISO1600 would be fine.
Manual focus, usually to infinity! Depends how far away you are?!?!
F8...
5 Secs to 15 Secs exposures....
Tripod and cable release or use the 2 Sec delay and try to time your shots!
If using a release cable, try bulb mode!

Steve,

I think you will find that the high ISO will result in the background sky lighting up. If you look at my post above, at ISO 100, the sky stayed black. That shot is SOOC, no editing.
 
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
418
Location
Preston, Lancashire.
Steve,

I think you will find that the high ISO will result in the background sky lighting up. If you look at my post above, at ISO 100, the sky stayed black. That shot is SOOC, no editing.

You might want the sky to be lit up?!?!

I suppose it depends on your shutter duration!
A shorter shutter speed would require a higher ISO to let enough light in!

I've just looked at some of my shots, there at ISO200, i think i was getting confused with star shots!!!
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Messages
4,904
Location
San Francisco bay area
Real Name
Jim Ledbetter
I totally agree with what was said about low ISO, f8 or higher, set on bulb, use a tripod and a cable release if one is available. That is how I took this photo.

_DSC4639-XL.jpg
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Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
1,547
Location
Famington Hills, MI
Excellant work! I viewed fireworks from a rocking boat last night so I didn't get anything as great as these. Faster shutter speeds make for boring firework photos.
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
451
Location
San Antonio, TX
Real Name
Dave Talboys
Excellant work! I viewed fireworks from a rocking boat last night so I didn't get anything as great as these. Faster shutter speeds make for boring firework photos.

Beauties Dave.

Thanks, Guys! I was a little concerned at first, as we didn't get as close to the action as I would have liked, and I only took the 24-70 with me. The extra megapixels of the D800 were a big help with the final cropping! I was also testing out a new setup with an Eye-Fi card and my iPad - it worked like a charm, transferring the photos as I was shooting.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
619
Location
Lorain County, Ohio
Hand Held- 1/50th- Nikon D800 and Nikon 14/24 at 24mm. ISO- Yikes :eek:, 8000...
I was on duty and snapped a few before I had to deal with 3,000 party goers leaving the cities event...
http://www.pbase.com/dt_sands/image/151147961/large.jpg
large.jpg
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large.jpg
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Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
27
Location
nyc
Hi came across this post was also wondering about the eye-fi and d800. Has this card been relatively problem free. I would like to use the card in direct mode most of the time.
 

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