Capturing fireworks

Fire in the sky :.

Fire in the sky :.,
originally uploaded by Anand Balaji.

A lot of people have been asking me questions on how I managed to capture this image. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject, but I’ve listed a few things that I feel may help better your chances of not capturing featureless blobs.

a. Use a tripod – Needless to say, you will need a tripod to keep the camera as steady as possible. Superman may have no problems in holding a camera absolutely still for more than a second, but you certainly will!

b. Scout for an area relatively devoid of people – This is not very easy to do especially at crowded venues but it will prevent a perfectly decent shot from getting ruined due by numerous John (and Jane) Does’.

c. Use a wide angle lens – This will allow you to capture a vast area. You can crop the image in your favourite editor at a later stage. I set my lens at 18mm to capture this.

d. Use the lowest ISO speed – Just do it… you won’t regret it.

e. Shoot in RAW mode – If your camera provides you with a RAW capture mode, use it and correct colour casts and other issues in the comfort of your home (or office if you happen to be a “big-shot”). For the record, the image posted here was not captured in RAW mode… I wish I had!

f. Click test shots – You aren’t shooting on film so why act stingy? Use test shots to isolate areas that you want to capture within the final photo.

g. Set the camera to manual focus – Why waste time asking the camera to focus on a subject at a great distance? Set the camera to manual and then use the focus adjustment ring/buttons to pre-focus the lens at infinity.

h. Use the narrowest aperture possible – f13 – f22 work best for me, but you might have luck with other values as well.

i. Don’t lose patience – Remember that photography techniques take time to master. Don’t worry if you don’t capture anything extraordinary… they’ll always be another time and place to repeat the experiment.

j. Use a remote shutter release or timer to click the photograph – This helps prevent camera shake from ruining long exposures. A shutter release works best, but a timer will work wonders as well. This image was captured by setting the timer to fire 2 seconds after the shutter button was depressed (I was too cheap to buy a cable release).

Equipment:
1 x Pentax K100D
1 x Pentax (Kit) 18-55 lens @18mm (lens hood attached)
1 x Hamas tripod (low priced and quite unstable… but hey it did the job!)
1 x Patient wife

Happy capturing…

Anand

Another image I captured

Here's a sample...

Nice pretty fireworks

Another one...

Thats it... I promise!

That's it... I promise!

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