Fireworks, how best to shoot them?

AlwaysOnAuto

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I will have an opportunity to shoot what I'm told is a great fireworks show from fairly close up this July 4th.
I'll have my tripod handy as my son has already checked in to say 'Bring it'.
I have both MF lenses and Sony native available to shoot on my A7ii & A7iii.
I'm thinking the Sony 28/2 will be good for the iii, and a MF Nikkor 24mm on the ii.
What camera settings are going to get me the best results?
I won't have time to 'experiment'.
Any help would be most appreciated.
I'll take my 28-70 lens too.
Thanks in advance for any help.
 

fractal

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I shot this at f/11, 10 second exposure at ISO 100. The trickiest part is manual focus. I focused on the top of the castle and it wasn't quite at infinity.

From there I just kept firing off 10 sec shots. I was in a tight crowd so I kept my camera strap around my neck in case someone bumped into my tripod.

Good luck!

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AlwaysOnAuto

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Thanks Chris!
What lens was that taken with?
I suspect I'll be that close or maybe even closer to the show I'm going to witness.
No crowd problem either as I'll be on my son's patio.
 

fractal

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Thanks Chris!
What lens was that taken with?
I suspect I'll be that close or maybe even closer to the show I'm going to witness.
No crowd problem either as I'll be on my son's patio.
Those were taken with the Batis 18mm 2.8 so the 24mm might be more appropriate. I also failed to mention I use a remote shutter to eliminate my fat fingers shaking the camera. Use the first part of the show to adjust your settings. If you want more bursts use a longer shutter speed - but then you may have to drop to f/13 or so.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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I've got the fat fingers taken care of....

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Richard Crowe

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Great tips above... However there is one facet that IMO makes a fireworks image great and that is to include some terrestrial subjects that are illuminated by the fireworks rather than just fireworks against a black sky. Chris' shot of the fireworks illuminating the Disney Castle is a good example of what I am referring to.
The same thing goes, as far as I am concerned, with images of the stars. Something terrestrial included in the shot really makes them interesting.
 

Petrochemist

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Great tips above... However there is one facet that IMO makes a fireworks image great and that is to include some terrestrial subjects that are illuminated by the fireworks rather than just fireworks against a black sky. Chris' shot of the fireworks illuminating the Disney Castle is a good example of what I am referring to.
The same thing goes, as far as I am concerned, with images of the stars. Something terrestrial included in the shot really makes them interesting.
Very true, just silhouetting foreground subjects can work for that, but background helps a lot too.
In the UK I tend to be disappointed with fireworks, they're nearly always left till the skies completely black (usually November 5th so that's easy)
Relatively long exposures certainly work best, so bulb mode with a remote release, and a relative small aperture makes a lot of sense. Aim to under expose your shots by at least 2 stops, the fireworks are much brighter than the bulk of the image.

By far my best firework shot to date is:
Jubilee fireworks by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

Where the residual light in the sky does a lot to help the image.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Thanks everyone.
It may be a challenge to get something other than just the fireworks going off in the picture as we'll be pretty close to them, ie straining our necks looking up(?), but I'm not sure.
I'll plan on taking my Nikon (insert 'gasp!' from the crowd here) since it has an 18-200 on it which is wider than anything I have for my Sony's at this time.
 

Tipton

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I think I'm going to use my A7RII + FE 28/2 this year. Going to use my battery grip, interval timer and tripod and just sit back and watch the show, assuming it doesn't rain. This is one from last year, using my FE 16-35/4.

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Thats a .5 second exposure at 1250 ISO. I think I'll try longer exposure and lower ISO this year.
 

firemist

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The standard "f8 and be there" type settings for fireworks are

ISO 100
Aperture f16 (or f22 if your lens has that)
Shutter 2-8 sec (on Bulb so you decide when enough is enough): 2 to 4 sec for mostly white, red or yellow; 4 to 8 secs for blue and green.

In some cases, I've used a 4x ND filter to get a longer shutter speed that allows longer trails of embers after the firework goes off.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Sure glad I checked back in here tonight. I thought I'd packed my bag, but then I saw my picture of the remote and DOH!
I forgot to pack it!
It's in there now.
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Kmac76

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Thanks for posing the original question, AlwaysOnAuto...the 4th is my “once a year” attempt at fireworks... so amongst the 25 family members gathered for the event, i set up the tripod and hoped for the best.
Setup -
a6000/sel24240
ISO 100-125
6”-10” exposures

I realized I need a remote shutter release and a better way to get my location picked earlier so I could use a better lens...

Looking forward to see other pix...by the way Fractal and the fireworks+castle = wow!!!
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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AlwaysOnAuto

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This gives you an idea of how close we were to the launch pad, which was just down the street.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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I need more practice for sure, but overall I'm pretty pleased with the results I got.
Now if I can just figure out how to view the video I took with the A7iii I'll be happy.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Might be some repeats here, sorry.
Like everything else, timing is very important, besides knowing your camera really well.
 

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