Shooting fireworks please help
as you all know 4th of July is near and I just resently got back to film (yes I'm young and all techy) but this is the equipment I have:
- Canon Elan 7n
- Canon 24-70mm 2.8L
- Canon 50mm 1.4
- Canon 70-200mm IS 2.8L
- Canon speedlite 580II
All the lenses are from the digital but I want to shoot b/w only. I only have 400iso film so I know it's not fast. I will use the tripod, but have no idea why settings to use.
Should I bother? If so what lens should I take? Cuz I can only take one (my brother taking the others with him on the digital) would a 50mm be the choice? What settings ?
Please help thanks in advance!
Also, what settings should I use at night for just fun shots of friends in the dark. I will be at the beach so no lights around except a bond fire. I can take the flash cuz of the 400 film but what setting for best exposure?
This is lots of fun but yet so hard because you don't know what you're getting right away and if I mess up I have to wait a year
i have one of those exposure guides
and it suggests a starting point
with you iso 400 film would be
f4 for about 1 second ...
you might want to bracket a bit ..
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It is important to realize that meters don't help a lot with firework photos.
This link seems to approach the problems well:
Bracketing is your friend. Exposure guides also help too.
First, I'd use a 100 iso film, not 400. You don't need the speed because you'll be making time exposure from a tripod.
Second, fireworks are bright. The a huge explosion of burning chemicals.
This is my formula. Since the fireworks are bright, I shoot at f/11. I meter an object in the plane of view at f/11 to see the time needed. The Washington Monument is always around 15 seconds at f/11, for example. So if I have the Washington Monument in my frame, I make all my exposures at 15 seconds at f/11. Except for the close of the show when they usually shoot up more fireworks. Then I stop down to f/16.
If you are interesting in see the results of this approach, check here. Made on Fuji Provia 100: http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Cheers/Fine_Art.html
This image was made with a 6x12 roll film back mounted to a 4x5 camera. I did not bracket.
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Amen to the advice about slower film. Best fireworks shots I ever got was on Kodachrome 64. I shot with a 35mm lens at f11, lens on bulb, camera on tripod. I would look through the finder until I saw a nice burst beginning, then open the shutter. With an SLR you can't see through the lens after that, so just watch the part of the sky where you saw the first burst. Leave the shutter open until a few more bursts go off in the same area (or not...) and then close it. Advance the film and wait for the next group. Shoot a full roll of film, or more.
I think the choice of lenses would be based on how far away from the fireworks you are and how much of the scenery you want in your shot. I think if you're far away from the fireworks and want to zoom in or if you just want the fireworks and no scenery, you might be better off with the 70-200. If you're close or you want scenery, the 50mm or the 24-70mm might be better. The term "close" and "far" are subjective, so you're better off making that decision when you know where you are in relation to the fireworks
Originally Posted by tossik
It's been a while since I shot fireworks, and I shot 400 iso last time, which I think was a mistake. I wasnt familiar with manual settings either, so I let the meter in the camera make the decision. What happened was the camera tried to correct for the black sky and overexposed the fireworks, leaving bright white streaks. That could have been a cool effect if I knew what I was doing at the time, but that wasnt the case. It was a good learning experience, though.
I'd say find 100 or 200 speed (if you can) and play with the exposure. Put the camera on a tripod and try 1 second, 2 seconds, or longer. you should get a few good shots out of it. When you get the prints (or when you get done printing, if you do it yourself), you'll be able to judge what worked and what didnt. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I did my first try.
Please note, though, that I'm not an expert at shooting fireworks (or taking pictures of much of anything for that matter). Take my advice with a grain of salt.
BTW, thanks for posting the links Walter and Matt.