Fireworks! I has it!

By skepticlawyer


Finally figured out how to take fireworks pics in Edinburgh, and as promised, here they are. I’ve also included some blizzard photographs as well, although I haven’t worked out how to do snowflakes properly – they come out looking like sleet, despite the white stuff all over the ground. Maybe Heath G can advise. I’ll figure it out eventually, I suppose, but for now, enjoy.


  1. HeathG
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The streaks from the snow come about for the same reason you get streaks from the fireworks… they are moving fast relative to your shutter speed.

    I haven’t photographed snow but I’m assuming it’s going to be similar to trying to photograph rain. To stop the streaking and “freeze” the flakes you are going to have to have a much faster shutter speed. To achieve this then yu are probably going to need to

    1) Push the ISO up to it’s maximum. This will introduce some noise into the image but should help you speed up th shutter speed a bit.

    2) If pushing up the ISO doesn’t speed it up enough, open up the aperture (i.e. lower “f” number). This will soften your background so you may want to make the snowflake rather than the background your subject.

    3) Try flash – but beware of the reflections this can cause as well as potential to overexpose.

  2. Posted January 10, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks Heath. I had a feeling I’d have to open the aperture. I found getting rid of the flash and fairly quick shutter speed helped with the fireworks, but it took some fiddling!

  3. HeathG
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Axctually – for fireworks (asusming you want the long trails) then you need a longer exposure time (i.e. slower shutter speed). So turn the ISO right down (to help get rid of the noise) and stop the aperture down a bit as well.

    To avoid everything else being blurry and only the fireworks being streaks, you probably want to have a tripod.

  4. Posted January 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I have tried snowflakes and the results are normally disappointing. As the ambient lighting is generally dull you normally have to use a slower speed even with a fast ISO – giving the streaks. Using a flash will normally over-expose the flakes and under-expose the background. That said – this was with old-fashioned 35mm.
    The way I got even slightly satisfactory results was to use the flash and an even slower speed with a small aperture – the flash to freeze the flakes and the low speed to catch the background.
    On a tripod, drop the ISO as far as you can, stop the aperture down as far as you can (to get the speed as slow as you can) to give you perhaps a one to two second exposure (or longer) and then add in a flash. With long exposure the streaks are less noticeable but the flash captures the flakes – and the small aperture means there is a good chance the flakes will not be over-exposed.
    With a good digital is should be a bit easier to take a few shots and look at the screen to get the exposure right. With a 35mm it was a nightmare.

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