Exposure for fireworks

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Chan Tran, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I am going to do some firework shot tonite. There isn't any good background where the firework is going to be so I will shoot the fireworks only. Last time I use f/8 for ISO 200 color negative film and it seems overexposed. I could print them down but I would like to reduce exposure this time but definitely not underexposure. May f/11? Any thought? It seems the exposure time about 1 to 3 secs is what would capture the pattern I want.
     
  2. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

    Messages:
    544
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Warning - handwaving ramblings to follow:

    Firstly, how are you determining that the negatives are overexposed? - If they are being commercially printed, there is a good chance that they are being automatically brightened up to control for what the machine thinks is your underexposure. You might want to try getting a good quality scan of some of the negatives, and seeing if they really are underexposed, or if it is a printing issue.

    Regarding exposure:

    My thought is that since the light source is moving, and is against a dark background, the shutter time does not contribute to the exposure, so you are looking at something where the only real contributor to the exposure will be your aperture.

    The closer you are to the fireworks, the faster the image of the light source will be moving across your film, and the wider the aperture that you will need for a given exposure - which seems counter-intuitive.

    The last time I shot fireworks (granted it was not with 35mm), I was using a 100 ASA transparency film, and I used f16, with relatively long exposures.
     
  3. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I know that the negative was overexposed. I made all the prints myself both using an old Noritsu minilab machine as well as in my own darkroom with conventional enlarger. They are printable but but the exposure time is quite long. In fact the Noritsu machine complained that exposure time for printing was too long. The exposure time has nothing to do with exposure but I determine about 3 seconds or so the firework is in full bloom. Too long exposure time capture too much of the trails when it went down and I didn't like that. I would be doing it in B and close the shutter as soon as as the firework is in full bloom. I will use a lens with focal length and position so that the frame is about filled with 1 burst or 2. So I think I would use f/11 this time.
     
  4. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

    Messages:
    313
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Last year I shot fireworks with a Koni-Omega and Ilford PanF+. I set the aperture for f/8 and held the shutter open for several seconds up to probably a minute in some cases. Most exposures came out well.
     
  5. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

    Messages:
    2,026
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've always enjoyed fireworks and photographing them! My best results have always been with transparency film as first choice and B&W neg as second choice. With the large areas of darkness, color neg can look muddy particularly if machine printed with no correction.
    There is a lot of latitude, and a medium speed film with smaller aperture and a longish exposure, up to several seconds, will capture the spark trails quite easily. Sometimes two of three overlapped exposures on the same frame can produce interesting effects.
     
  6. ToddB

    ToddB Member

    Messages:
    1,136
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have good luck with f22 and set it on bulb tripod and shutter release cable. Maybe count to 8.. meaning 1 1000, 2 1000.. ect... wait till the show really goes ape, like grand finally. It's sort of a fishing expedition, but your bound to get a few good ones.

    ToddB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2013
  7. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    400 ISO, F5.6 just short of a second on bulb; If I would have dragged the shutter the background would have lightened up because of background light in suburbia. If your in the boondocks no worries.
    Fireworks.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2013
  8. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,211
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wide angle lens, aim at where you know or have a reasonable idea where the fireworks will appear in the sky. Bulb exposure at mid-aperture (f5.6) 30 seconds to capture several bursts, the longer exposure providing a huge number of 'trails'. ISO 200 to 400 film is good. It does not have to be perfect. Be it noted that the digital examples you see on the web are actually layers: several exposures superimposed, so too those of night skies.
     
  9. donkee

    donkee Member

    Messages:
    147
    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Mid Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Normal lens, Bulb setting, f:11, cable release. Open the shutter long enough to grab a burst or two, or three, or more then move on to the next frame.

    I used to use ektachrome 100, but not anymore!

    I really should scan some of my old ones and post them. Always had good results with the above
     
  10. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,814
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Sonoma County, California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm going to try my pinhole camera with FP-100C in it. I'll probably just leave it open for the whole show and then see what it looks like at the end ... probably a giant color smudge, or headlights of cars driving by...
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,392
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For color transparencies I set the aperture to the square root of the film ISO and open the shutter as long as necessary to get a good grouping of fireworks. The exposure may have to be short when there is too much skylight.
     
  12. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,814
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Sonoma County, California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mine worked but I was WAY too far away for my super wide angle pinhole camera. In the center of a completely black polaroid, I have an area about the size of a quarter, with 3 streetlamps, some cool looking car headlights and tail lights, and a little red blurry area where all the fireworks happened.... It actually looks sort of neat and I'm glad I did it, but next time I'm not doing it unless I'm right up under the fireworks.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I used f/11 with ISO 200 and it came out about just right. Didn't have any good shots. They are all boring.
     
  14. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

    Messages:
    1,319
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    .
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I went and dealt with a huge crowd and hot humid weather for 10 minutes of the lamest fireworks ever seen. People in the crowd had better stuff than the city. Took two test shots that sucked and headed back to the Jeep to go home. Next year I think I'll fight the crowds in DC or Columbia MD. At least the display will be worth immortalizing.
     
  15. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Utah Valley
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This is the method I used yesterday evening on the roof of my parent's house in Podunk, Utah. I don't have the results yet, but I just applied what I learned about shooting lightning bolts.
     
  16. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yeah F11 and a cable release is the way to go. I'm looking forward to seeing my shots since the camera I was shooting didn't have multiple exposure capabilities so I used the lens cap as a hat between good bursts.
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    This one's a hardy perennial. Moved to the "Exposure" forum and stuck.
     
  18. analoguey

    analoguey Member

    Messages:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Location:
    Bangalore, I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Will be shooting some tomorrow (it is Diwali in India), I am curious, why the reccomendation for shooting longer exposures? I have shot hand-held on digital before and they have come out quite well - at about 1/30 or thereabouts (dont remember exactly). Longer exposures would necessitate tripod and little flexibility in movement, wouldn't it?
    (Diwali has everyone using fireworks, so little co-ordination, and more need for movement)
     
  19. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,714
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF

    +1
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,307
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Just depends on what one wants the image to look like. Long exposures tend to match what we see...persistance of vision and all that -- we tend to take in the launch, peak and decent of a firework as a whole, when in reality, the tail of the firework can already be disappearing as the firework peaks.

    Also it is easier -- less worries about timing the shot.
     
  21. analoguey

    analoguey Member

    Messages:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Location:
    Bangalore, I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ah, right, but I am not so sure I can use it here, I dont have a high vantage point close by, I'll try anyhow!

    BTW, any other care I should use with Velvia? Ill be shooting that in 120, and using a d/film SLR
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

    Messages:
    3,925
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Velvia... ISO 50 in 120, right? Try f;8 and 1/2 or 1 second exposures. If you want just the burst, 1/8 to 1/4 or even shorter, but it can be hard to time just right. The exposure will be mainly determined by the aperture since the fireworks are moving, the shutter speed will determine how much "action" you record. Overexposure will wash out the colors. (I'm assuming full dark.)

    Experiment and take notes.
     
  23. analoguey

    analoguey Member

    Messages:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Location:
    Bangalore, I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A tad late -Diwali ended yesterday, but we might have a bit of sparkles around the 14th, will try then.

    Thank you for the reminder about notes -Evernote's getting very useful there!

    I did go for 1s exposure - at f3.5, then I mostly used f16, f22 and went with exposures ten seconds or more. One I kept open for a minute I think.

    I tried similarly with the digital - not satisfied with what I got there, primarily because I was using wider angles and with a bit of distance the fireworks looked useless or light steaks.
    So I probably screwed up going very long on the exposures?

    I'll probably go handheld and slightly faster exposure times(1/8-1/30) on the mamiya next.

    Sent from my LT26i using Tapatalk
     
  24. M6F6E6

    M6F6E6 Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    Location:
    Northern Ter
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Too long an exposure of a fw show will just collect heaps of smoke from the previous fw - that lights up the sholw sky often, resulting in a big loss of contrast.