Monday, 29 October 2012


Many years ago (1605 in fact) the people of England stared to celebrate Gunpowder Treason Day and the fact that King James I of England and VI of Scotland had served a assassination plot. Robert Catesby had a plan to blow up the House of Lords to take a Protestant King off the thrown and replace him with a Catholic head of state, with his 12 accomplices would try to execute this by sneaking 36 barrels of gunpowder in to a undercroft under the House of lords. Nowadays we call it Firework Night, we have bonfires and set off rockets that explode with a huge bang and a mass of colour that fills the sky this as a photographer is grate to get out and get some grate shots. In this post. I am going to run through what i do when shooting fireworks.

In photography if u want to get "the shot" you need to be dedicated. So get out your picnic blanket and flask of hot drink set out nice and early and get to the front so you don't get heads in your shot ( unless that's what u want ), camp out and wait till the show begins.

As most things you can shoot with what u got. Whether it's a point and shoot with a firework mode or a top of the line DSLR with some sexy glass, anything will work the only necessity is a tripod, you have to keep the camera super still throughout the duration of the firework to capture the full light trail with no shake so your images are super sharp. There are things we all want that will make our shots easier to capture, the one fairly inexpensive thing is a cable release, this is one of the few occasions this come out for the simple reason I can use bulb with out touching the camera.

The settings for the fireworks is the one thing that when I started I thought there was some kind of magic setting, but when u learn how the camera works it couldn't be simpler. If you are using a point and shoot make sure the flash is off and go to night mode or, put it in to firework, how easy is that. Using a DSLR I start with f16 ISO 100 and shutter into bulb, attach the cable release when the firework starts to go up push the button and when it has finished let go simples, now this is not written in stone if you take a shot, review it then use your knowledge of exposure to get it correct for the situation your in. If you are not using a cable release set the shutter speed to about 2 seconds take a shot and then review, if you are not capturing the hole explosion you want to make the exposure longer 3 maybe 4 seconds, review then set ISO and aperture according.

For the focusing the way I do it is set it to infinity ( yes on some things I do take the incredibly easy way ). The better way to do it is wait till one of the bright lights shoots into the sky quickly focus on it then switch it to manual focus then leave it there and shoot away.

Hopefully this gets you on your way to shoot on this one day a year unless you get some for new year I suppose. I will be posting some more after the next time I shoot fireworks a part 2 if you will.