Shooting Firework – 2015

I admit that it was 2 hours before firework time that I hurriedly watched two videos on how to take firework photos, hoping I would become a good firework photographer instantly. One suggests us to try out the camera settings ahead of the time. It made sense to me, so 10 minutes before heading out I went to my backyard trying to take a couple of photos. Well, I got 3 mosquito bites before I could even put down the tripod in spite of my effort of waving bugs away. I ended up retrieving back to the house without taking a shot – it was that bad. I then decided not to go to downtown. I would take photos inside of my house instead! Our neighborhood firework show would not be as good as our city’s, but for someone, who was only willing to spend 15 minutes learning how to shoot firework photos, maybe a neighborhood firework show is good enough for her ;-).

Using a tripod is a must, both videos say. But using a tripod is like having your hands tied up behind your back. The firework was on the left, right, in front and back of the house, high in the sky, low above bushes… and there is no way to adjust the tripod in time. Soon, I decided to follow one source only. Even that, I had missed a couple of them because I was aiming at the wrong height.

Taking photos through window glasses is not an idea situation, but I didn’t want to open windows letting bugs in. Also, my view was limited by the window. (Tree has posted nice firework photos on her blog! From my window, I didn’t see anything like that. Really 😉

Of course, like one photographer said, it would be better to include a foreground or background like buildings… etc. or, even better, to include people. There was no way to accomplish that by taking photos inside of the house, through a window.

I comforted myself: this time I was practicing shooting firework itself. Next year, if I figure out how to deal with our Minnesota state birds (mosquitoes), I will add foreground, background, playground… etc. Sounded good, but when I look at these photos I took, I wonder when we take away the foreground, background… etc., what’s left to consider a firework photo as a good one or not? Maybe it depends on how sharp the photos are?

I compared this year’s result with last year’s. Last year I used a Panasonic point-and-shoot camera, which was set at “night scene” mode. This year, I use Nikon D750, manual mode. Hate to say this… I think last year’s photos are sharper. This means I didn’t have correct settings? Maybe it was the window that caused the problem? I really don’t know.

Still, I am very happy with this experience. It was my FIRST time using manual mode. I always wanted to try it but was afraid of doing it (Why? I have no clue.) Now I am no longer afraid, to say the least – yeah! 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

FW1s

FW2s

FW3s

FW4s

FW5s

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Photo Question. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Shooting Firework – 2015

  1. seeker says:

    Explosive, Helen. I don’t understand all these process but I sure like the way you explained it mosquitoes and all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Perpetua. My friend went to the park to see city firework last night and she said there wasn’t any mosquitoes. But last time we walked together, I got 5 mosquitoes bites and she had none. Life isn’t always fair. 😉

      Like

  2. loisajay says:

    Helen–I think you did great. It rained here a bit before fireworks time so I looked out my front window as the neighbors across the street set off fireworks. No pics from me; I am enjoying yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Lois. Your encouragement is always appreciated.
      To be honest, I have no clue what I am supposed to look for in firework photos. I was hoping someone would point out for me 😉
      Usually there would be less bugs after rain, am I right? I forgot to say that I saw lots of fireflies In our backyard. They are fun to watch 😉
      Have a great day!

      Like

  3. I think these look great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Sarah. Like I told Lois, I have no clue what make a firework photo good. One thing I have problem with these photos is that they are all taken from the same angle. I didn’t think I had any choice, but I, actually, could move to different rooms and that would give me different angles. I am not a fast thinker, can you tell? 😉
      Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. treerabold says:

    Thank you for sharing my photos Helen! I truly appreciate it.
    I like your photos.
    I like the idea of having a background (etc.). I guess if you took your photos in the city that would work. We watched fireworks in the suburbs and sat about a mile away from the firework show. So there really was no background….other than black sky!
    Just to let you know…I forgot my tripod…So I just braced my elbow on my knee. It seemed to help. But I think the post edit helped the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Tree. I seldom use tripod. But this time since I was in my house (no need to carry it) and I set shutter speed to 5 to 10 seconds, I thought I better use it. I expected every firework would appear at the same spot, but that wasn’t true 😉 When that happened, I just had to let it go.
      What you said makes sense – brace elbow on knees. I will remember that. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sunsetdragon says:

    You did good and these are great photos. My camera does not take good night shots which is a disappointment to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Ruth. One of my previous camera was the same. I was at Melbourne and the night scene was beautiful, but none of photos turned out good. I was quite upset (and embarrassed 😉 Camera does make a lot difference.
      Have a great day!

      Like

  6. Sue says:

    I like these- and imagine all you learned in just 15 minutes about how to take fireworks photos. ;). Good luck avoiding the mosquitoes- we spend most of our summer drenched in chemicals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Sue. I thought about using chemicals but I really hate using it, so I finally decided not go. I read somewhere that Bounce would keep them away, so I have several sheet of Bounce in my golf bag. 😉
      Have a great day!

      Like

  7. Amy says:

    I haven’t seen firework photos this beautiful! Really like the angle you took, Helen! You did through the window, amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Amy. Your comment brought a smile to my face. I do like that angle. I just wish I was smart enough to take some photo in a different angle too (by going to different room of the house.) Why do my great thoughts always come late? ;-(
      Thanks again. Have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cee Neuner says:

    Minnesota has the worst mosquitos in the world……With everything against you, you actually did pretty well for a beginner. I can’t wait until your photo them next year. Take plenty of Off. I’ve not seen fireworks in years. So this was a nice blog for me to read with your own sense of humor and to view 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nicely captured–you did well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Adhika says:

    Seems to me like incorrect focusing, Helen. Did you pre-focus to infinity? One way to do that is to focus on something far away and do not let the focus to shift from that (switch the autofocus motor to off).

    My ingredients for fireworks photo is this: F11 or smaller and set the camera on bulb (the small aperture is necessary so you don’t blow up your exposure). Tripod is a must, use remote shutter/release so you don’t have to touch your camera. That way you reduce the risk of shaking the camera.

    This was from Seattle: https://instagram.com/p/xUJ8FHQXKq/
    Thank God there was no bug on December 31. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Adhika. I like your photo a lot!
      I did use tripod, but didn’t use remote control. I use manual mode and pre-focus to infinity. Autofocus was off. F5.6 instead of F11 — it worked for most of them, but a couple were overly exposed. I used 5 to 10 seconds – if it was too dark, I added more time… etc.
      I agree that incorrect focusing seems to be the problem. But since I pre-focus to infinity, it shouldn’t be the problem, right? Unless when I zoomed it, I accidentally moved the focus ring — maybe that was my problem? It was difficult to check all the settings because it was dark. I had to turn on the light and then turned off the light. Was that right? (I mean I could see some setting from the viewfinder, but I am not sure all the settings are there.)
      I thought of setting the camera to bulb. But if I do that, how do I know how long I was supposed to keep pressing the button?
      Thank you so much! I learned a couple of things from your comment already. 😉

      Like

  11. I enjoyed your blog thoroughly. You have brought out the situation in a very comical (if I am allowed to use it) manner. As I was reading through it, I was kind of imagining it and smile was throughout on my face.

    Even I read some tutorials on how to capture fireworks. But I ended up not capturing even a single shot. I guess, there is always a next time and I am pretty sure by next time, both of us would have gained some experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Suyash. Your comment makes all the mosquito bits worthwhile 😉 As you can see that I still have long way to go, which is good because every little bit of new knowledge excites me 😉 I am looking forward to our next year firework photos! I don’t even mind if time goes a little faster this time. Ha.
      Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are most welcome Helen. I wonder if there will be fireworks any time before next 4th July in Twin Cities. I guess, State Fair hosts one such. And that will be in less than 2 months time now. But I will miss that also in all probability. You should try then. Don’t wait for time to go faster 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Suyash, the best firework experience I have had was at MN State Fair. The firework exploded high above our heads. At first, I worried if we would get hurt, but soon I realized that we were pretty safe. It was the most beautiful one!

          Liked by 1 person

          • O fantastic. That’s wonderful to know. MN state fair is really a fun time. We had lot of fun last year. And plenty of shooting opportunities 🙂 Not very far from now on

            Like

  12. restlessjo says:

    Wheeee! Whoooosh! 🙂 Great shots!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. rommel says:

    I wouldn’t want to start with fireworks when experimenting with Manual mode. It’s just that shooting fireworks alone is difficult on its own. You need to beat the time. 🙂 For what’s it worth, you captured some extra interesting shots are than the ideal shots. The second one looks like palm trees. 🙂
    Mine – http://thesophomoreslump2.com/2014/08/09/explosions-in-the-sky/

    Liked by 1 person

    • rommel says:

      Oh yeah, the next night I tried to shoot with the view of the fair, but the pictures weren’t presentable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Just checked your firework photos. There are many good ones – #9 is my favorite. Did you use manual setting?
      Since both of videos suggesting using manual mode (one says it is quite easy 😉 so I decided to give it a try. I believe the guy says F5.6, ISO 400, Focus infinity, the only thing I have to change is the speed, which I can check the photo and then do the adjustment. The biggest problem was that I had never use manual mode before, so my hand kept placing at a wrong spot. And it was dark and I didn’t know how to check the setting. Now I know and ready for the next show. Like you said on your post, I have to wait for the next show.
      Thanks for your comment. Have a wonderful day.

      Like

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