Creative tip 14: Shooting fireworks…for the first time | London Creative Photographer

As the saying goes, there is a first time for everything. I thought I’d share my first-ever fireworks shots. Far from perfect but I hope this experience makes a good creative tip nonetheless. And this is the story…

My lovely and generous cousin took us to a trip to Disney. Day 2. Sweltering, hot day. Late afternoon, my husband announces that that evening was the best time to watch the fireworks, no chance of rain. What was in my bag? The wrong lens for fireworks. No tripod. Worse, we didn’t have anything warm; we were dressed for summer. The evening got very very cold.

So we positioned ourselves somewhere we could find a big enough space for all of us, huddled close to keep ourselves warm. The crowds were gathering quickly. I desperately racked my brain trying to remember the many articles I’ve read on how to shoot fireworks. But nothing came to mind. No settings, no tips, no ideas. Nothing. Talk about being unprepared…

Below I’ll share with you how I took these images…

Gear: Nikon D700, 85mm 1.8 {a 35mm would have been the more ideal lens}

1. I leaned against something concrete – without a tripod and nowhere near to prop my camera, at least my body was supported and steady.
2. It was pitch dark so I had no choice but to set the aperture to the widest opening being 1.8. The challenge was to keep very still to minimise camera shake and not to shiver too much in the cold.
3. I decided what ISO I would go up to. Knowing my camera can handle ISO 3200 easily without any noise problems for a subject such as this, I set my ISO to that and kept it at that. I took a few test shots in the dark and knew that with the ISO this high, my speed would never have to go below 1/80 so I’m ok.
4. I decided to shoot in Aperture priority and hoped for the best. This freed me to wait for the right moments to click the shutter without worrying about metering.

I still don’t know the right way to photograph fireworks, but I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. I shall re-read those fireworks articles and shoot in full manual next time. If you have a great tip on shooting fireworks, do share by commenting below or on Facebook, I’d love to hear them!

Click here if you missed the previous creative tip {13} and follow the trail…

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