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Every year my hometown hosts an international fireworks festival. It usually last for a couple of days, so it's a great opportunity to master photographing fireworks - in my opinion one of the most complicated things to capture with the camera. 

But why are fireworks so difficult to capture properly? 

First of all, when I say properly, I mean all of those things that make a great photograph - composition, exposure and some kind of a conceptional value - usually with story behind it.


Composition


How hard can it be, right? You set up your tripod, point a camera to the sky and wait for the fireworks to begin. You may know exactly where the fireworks are taking place, but you never now how high or wide it is going to be, so you need to be alert at all times and ready to rearrange you composition. 


Exposure


If you decide to go with the boring version of shooting only the sky, you probably won't run into problems. Once you set your exposure, although some rockets will generate brighter flashes than others, you are pretty much good to go. At this point, exposure values will vary from, lets say 1/10 to a few seconds, depending on how far you are willing to push.

On the other hand, things could get a little complicated if you want to capture something else beside the fireworks. Let's say you want to get a photograph of a couple of people watching fireworks beside the lake, like this one beneath. 


If you want to get the coast of the lake as bright as that one on the photo, you are looking at at least a couple of second exposure, at a higher ISO setting. The problem is, if you do that, your fireworks will be vastly overexposed. And of course, in contrary, if you get the fireworks right, you probably won't even see the coast of the lake.

The only solution to this is thinking outside the box. There are a few solutions, some more complicated than the others. The first one that came into my mind was to use an external flash and fire it by hand. Although the ex430 is pretty strong, the result probably won't be so satisfying.

The second one is the general idea to expand the dynamic range. HDR is one of the option, but honestly, I doubt  this one too would bring a satisfying result.

The third option, and the option I used, is to just bring the two photos together. The coastline of the lake is the border of two photos.


Concept


Once you get your technique right, it's time to put some conceptual value to the plate. As I said before, just plain photos of fireworks are pretty boring, but when you just bring a few people in frame, thing just get way more interesting. 


But in the end, it would be fair to admit that most of the time you just need a little luck. In 2007, at the last day of the festival, at the last fireworks, the last rocket, I somehow managed to capture this magical moment.


I get questioned a lot on what settings to use. The thing is - there is no universal setting for shooting fireworks. The best way to fireworks photos is just to experiment. The photo below wast taken with iPhone 4 (on auto setting of course). iPhone has a fixed shutter, the aperture is f:2.8; exposure is 1/15 of a second, and ISO speed was set to 1000. Trying the same on my SLR I was getting pretty decent results, but as I said before, it all depends what you are aiming for. Good luck.  


  • Drinking: Coca-Cola

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:iconrob-i:
rob-i Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Hvala za :eye: :)
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:iconrusty2210:
Rusty2210 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Professional Photographer
hvala na favu, men!! :D ;)
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:iconrhyet:
Rhyet Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2009  Student
Malo nas je al nas ima :)
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:iconkuchikixrukia:
KuchikixRukia Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Student Artisan Crafter
awesome gallery
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:iconhrvojemihajlic:
hrvojemihajlic Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009
thank you! :ahoy: (and sorry for the delay :$) :wave:
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:iconkuchikixrukia:
KuchikixRukia Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2009  Student Artisan Crafter
sure np! :iconilikeitplz:
Reply
:iconneodium:
neodium Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Professional Artist
bzzzzzzzzz muha ;D naletio tamo preko marinshine fejs galerije na tebe i mislim da sam vec bio fejvao nesto tvojih al mi nije jasno zasto te nisam watchao xD pa cu sad to ucinit :D
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:iconhrvojemihajlic:
hrvojemihajlic Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
nemaš beda. neznam zašto ja nisam tebe :D

fala :) :ahoy:
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:iconneodium:
neodium Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Professional Artist
no frx :)
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:iconarieszg:
ariesZG Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009   Photographer
hvala ti na favu
Reply
:iconjoexmasphoto:
JoeXmasPhoto Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009   Photographer
Oj Muha... fala ti za fav :)
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:iconmartincevic:
Martincevic Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009
tnx na FAVu :)
Reply
:iconrusty2210:
Rusty2210 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009  Professional Photographer
hey!
hvala na favovima ;)
opet ja u zaostatku =P
zivio! :ahoy:
Reply
:iconjoexmasphoto:
JoeXmasPhoto Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009   Photographer
oooh.. mihajlicu, fala na fejvritu...
Reply
:iconexe-cutor:
exe-cutor Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2009
fala za feature :)
Reply
:iconkotorishizukesa:
kotorishizukesa Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2009   Photographer
Thanks for the :+fav: :hug:
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:iconrightdirection:
rightdirection Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2009
olaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! fala za fav i za feature!!!!!!!!!!!! kaj ima?;)=
Reply
:iconhrvojemihajlic:
hrvojemihajlic Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2009
a evo, privikavam se pomalo na svakodnevnu rutinu nakon mora :D ... baš ti je slatka kćerkica - stavi još fotki! :ahoy:
Reply
:iconrightdirection:
rightdirection Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2009
isss ja nisam ni bil na godišnjem još!!!!!! fala, bude bilo još bez brige;) hehe
Reply
:iconzed666:
zed666 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2009  Professional Photographer
Hvala mnogo za feature majstore! :beer:
Reply
:icononarf:
onarf Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2009
ja ovo nis ne kuzim
Reply
:iconrusty2210:
Rusty2210 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2009  Professional Photographer
hey hey!
hvala na faveku :D
Reply
:iconantoanette:
antoanette Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2009
Hvala ti puno za feature...puno mi znači:hug:
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:iconucilito:
ucilito Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2009
thank you so much... :-)
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:iconivancoric:
ivancoric Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2009  Professional Photographer
Dobre su ti ove morske
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