Since Martina hasn't seen the Sydney NYE fireworks display first hand, we decided to do exactly that. My friend Lenny (oldest brother's high school friend), camped out at McMahon's Pt Ferry Terminal with his brother, tent and tarpaulin from the 29th of Dec to ensure a good vantage point. He posted on Facebook:
Lenny was actually interviewed by media about his eager beaver-ness. The link to one of the news articles is here.
I went with Martina and Soojin (Martina's friend), after double checking with Lenny.
So getting to the crux of this blog, I have been keen to try my hand at some fireworks photography. I already enjoy low light, night or astro-photography so photographing fireworks is very alike. A lot of the camera settings I used today was learnt from a photography website called Photography Life, from their "How to Photography Fireworks" tutorial.
A summary of Photography Life recommendations are:
- Location, Location, Location (Sorted)
- Shoot in RAW format (I always do)
- Use Manual (M) Mode
- Optical Zoom lens (I used my kit lens, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR)
- Tripod (Used Martina's flimsy extendable 1m high tripod)
- Remote shutter release (I use a 2 second delayed timer, because i don't have a remote)
- Lowest ISO
- Shutter Speed 3-5 seconds
- Aperture @ f/8.0-10
- Don't just zoom into the fireworks, capture surrounding landscape too
- Switch off image stabilisation since you'd be using a tripod.
There were 3 sets of fireworks:
- 9:00 p.m. (Children's)
- 10:45p.m. (Tiny)
- 12:00 a.m. (the New Year)
These are some of the results I got:
After the 9:00 p.m. finished. It was now a 1.5 hour wait till the next session. The 10:40 a.m. session was tiny. Only about 2 minutes. In the mean time I tried to occupy myself with long exposure photos like the next 3.
The 10:40 p.m. fireworks were somewhat unimpressive. Thought this was the only picture worth posting.
IT'S THE NEW YEAR!!!
THE HARBOUR BRIDGE IS GOIN' OFFFFFF!!!
click on the pictures to enlarge:
2014 was a great year for Martina and I. We are looking forward to working hard this year too.
I hope you've enjoyed the pictures.
Some of the problems faced during this photo shoot are as follows:
- Unable to react immediately to fireworks due to delayed shutter of 2 seconds.
- Unstable and short tripod
- Slow capacity to change camera settings
Solutions to problems (which I've known for awhile):
- Remote shutter release (cable or Wi-Fi)
- Buy better tripod
- Get better camera body
However, there were also somethings I learnt that weren't specified in the tutorial I linked above.
- Switch off the camera's noise reduction to increase photo taking speed. (noise reduction: takes a second photo to map the noise your sensor creates during that exposure to then correspond it to the original image and cancel it out. Though an excellent feature, it doubles the duration of your shot from 4 seconds to 8 (for me a total of 10 seconds, when shutter delay is included).
- Use image stabilisation if you have a flimsy tripod
- Shutter speed sweet spot seems to lie between 2-4 seconds. Depending on the type of fireworks you wish to capture. I.e. point lights vs. light streaks.
- Shoot RAW to play with white balance. Moving your temperature and tint sliders to the extremities can provide you with unexpectedly awesome results.
[I kept the geeky photo-talk to the end, in case you don't want to read it]
Till next time...