Hinshaw column: Capturing the explosion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2011

By Wayne Hinshaw
For the Salisbury Post
With the tips for taking fireworks photos listed on this page, now let me tell you exactly how I made these photos myself.
All the guideline tips are the accepted method for photographing fireworks. I do not personally follow all the tips to the letter.
I used a Nikon D700 camera on manual settings. I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I used a monopod. With the monopod, it worked great for some images and I got a slight movement in others. Luck was with me and most of the images I made with the slight movement were my very best ones.
I didn’t use the “bulb” setting. Instead, I shot the exposures at 1/50, 1/2, and 1/3 second with an ISO 800. My aperture was at either f/14, f/15, or f/9. I used a 400mm telephoto lens for a very tight composition on the bursts. I actually shot the image when the fireworks burst opened in the sky not holding the aperture open on bulb. I did not attempt to get more than one burst on each photo.
Most of the other guideline tips I did follow. I shot many, many photos of the show once I checked my camera monitor and decided which exposures were the best. I had some bad images included in the shoot as I worked to perfect my exposures. The fireworks with white light bursts were almost always overexposed. They were so intense and bright. The bursts with yellow, red and blue color were about two f/stops darker than the white burst. I chose to shoot for the exposures for the reds and blues since I wanted those colors to be rich. White fireworks aren’t very pretty anyway.