Fireworks and lightning (questions) - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Can anyone give any tips or tricks to taking good pics of fireworks or lightning. My pics are always blury or not timed right (either ahead of the lightning strike or right after). Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 02:13 AM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Lightning at night time is the best time to get it because you can leave the shutter open longer I like it when I can leave it open between 8-10 seconds. (For my camera with the shutter being open for 8-10 sec it writes to the card fast but any time longer it takes a while to write to the card) As soon as the shutter close I hit the shutter button again sometime you get them sometime not but you have a better chance to get the lightning when the shutter is open for 8-10 seconds.

Another thing if shooting at night make sure when ever your going be pointing the camera get it in focus when its still daylight because it to hard to focus when its dark out(That might be why your pic are blury because not in focus.)Also it help if you put your f stop at like f11-f16 in that area, I wouldn't go any higher then f16.

Make sure your camera is on a stable tripod and use a cable release or the timer to reduce the camera shake.

also make sure your camera is not on auto ISO I would use a ISO 400 and under less grain the lower the better but to low you will need to leave shutter open longer. Also if your camera has Long NR (Long noise reduction) Turn that on as well. I think I got it all for lightning if you have any more question let me know.

I never really did any kind of fire works but its pretty much the same way but with the shutter open for only for like a second or two maybe three. I hope this helps. Like I said if you have anymore question feel free to ask I'll try to help the best I can.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Thank you Mark

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 03:22 AM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

One more thing be very careful out there when shooting lightning!

I'm thinking about building a box with plexiglass in the front and in the back to sit my camera in while shooting lightning. That way I can set my camera out and if it does start to rain its protected in the box. I have a remote for my camera that is good up to 300 feet and can sit indoors, that why I want to have the plexiglass in the front and the back.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 11:01 AM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Fireworks is just a matter of keeping your shutter open for a few seconds. Play around with it to figure out your best results.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 01:05 PM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

I shot some fireworks for my first time last year and got some nice results. Here's what I did.

Camera on a sturdy tripod is a must as well as a remote shutter release. You can find them very cheap on EBay.
A wide angle lens is probably best if you are a 1/4 mile or so away. An 18-55 is usually perfect but take a longer lens incase you're farther away.



You'll want to set the camera to (Bulb mode)which means the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold down on the shutter button.

Set ISO to 100
Set Aperture to either f8 for shorter exposures or f16 for longer ones. f11 worked pretty good for me.

As for the focus, you need to set it, then put the focus in Manual mode so it doesn't change while shooting. You can either manually set the focus to infinity, that sideways 8 at the end of the distance scale on the lens where the L points to or use auto focus on one of the fireworks displays, then switch the lens to MF. Either way be sure not to touch the zoom or focus ring once things are set.

There is no exact science on how long to leave the shutter open for but it's usually going to be from 2 to 20 seconds. It all depends on the particular display and how close together they are. You just have to feel things out but there is some luck involved too.

The first photo below was 13 seconds long and the second was only 4 seconds, so you just have to go with the flow and try different length exposures.

Steve





<span style="font-style: italic">USCG Capt. Steve Lessel</span>

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 11:10 AM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

2 cool pictures
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Those are awesome photos. Okay this might sound dumb. ( I'm new to this) I use a Nikon P500 how do you keep the shutter open for a few seconds like Tplank and Mark are saying ?

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 01:52 PM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Spin the dial to "M" and set the shutter and aperture or set it to "S" to set the shutter and the camera will pick the aperture for you. I think your camera has a firework setting also where it will set both for you. Make sure you have a tripod or all of this will mean nothing. You could even set it on a rock or something sturdy and set the self timer.

Not only is my short-term memory horrible, but so is my short-term memory.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 04:05 PM
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Re: Fireworks and lightning (questions)

Here is a shot I took with the fireworks setting on a Nikon 4300


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