I’ve been seeing a lot of tips floating around about photographing fireworks. Many make it seem difficult and mysterious. Time to get back to basics.
- More light = shorter exposure. Less light = longer exposure.
- Capturing fast action = shorter exposure. Blurring long motion = longer exposure.
… where “exposure” is a combination of aperture and shutter speed.
With fireworks, the action is relatively fast, and the light is bright. For this reason, in most cases, you don’t want super-long exposures! Keeping your shutter open for 30 seconds will leave you disappointed. (The exception would be if you have opened the shutter onto a black sky and are waiting for the fireworks to go… in this case, a black sky will register little or no light onto the exposure, so having the shutter open is fine while intermittent flares are going off.)
But when the bombs really start glaring, you need faster exposures to capture them. Otherwise, you will end up with a blurry mess of overexposed shots.
With that in mind, here are my tips for shooting fireworks, using a digital SLR: (more…)