As we approach Independence Day and prepare to celebrate our great nation, shutterbugs everywhere are ready to photograph fireworks displays. Here in Naples I usually position myself on the beach to catch the excellent show launched from the pier.
So without getting too technical, here are three techniques for dazzling photos that will make your friends “ooo” & “ahhh”.
1) Set up with a clear vantage point- close enough to fill the frame but far enough away to allow for a clear shooting angle. A tripod or other solid rest is crucial for the best shots.
- Fireworks, Naples by Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com
2) Ideally your camera will be a DSLR with widely adjustable aperture settings but simpler point and shoot models do often have a “fireworks” scene mode you can try. With that in mind here are the basic technicals that work for me: Following the instructions in your owners’ manual (one of my favorite themes when conducting photography classes), set the camera to Bulb mode. This means that your shutter remains open as long as the button is depressed- perfect for long exposures. Combine that with an aperture setting of F11, my favorite for this job. Depending on your lens which ideally will be a zoom in the 70-300mm range, you’ll then strive to pre focus on something around distance from you to the exploding flares. Thinking of your ISO you can adjust it down to 200 as those those fiery streaks of light are bright! Mechanically, now you’re set. Tip: a remote shutter release is worth its weight in gold.
3) Practice makes perfect. After the first display rockets skyward and erupts in a sparkling shower of color, immediately depress your shutter and hold it as the sparks and secondary explosions trickle away. Then check to see how well you’ve done and if adjustments need to be made. This can be done quickly so try to get off as many shots as possible during the evening knowing that while most will be deleted you’re likely to capture a few real winners.
Enjoy this seasonal pleasure and if you’re like many Americans, take a moment to remember that for our troops overseas the rocket’s red glare is something they’ll enjoy only when they come home. For more photography tips and techniques, check here each Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Let’s hear how you did…Gordon.
Professional Photography from Ft. Meyers & Sanibel to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.
copyright 2011 Gordon Campbell www.swfloutdoorphotography.com.