Below are photos of the 4th of July, 2016 fireworks in the city of Manchester, New Hampshire. This was taken on top of the granite cliff at Rock Rimmon Park. There’s a short hike from the bottom of the cliff to the top, but you get a nice view of the fireworks in the distance, with the downtown buildings serving as backdrop, and some residential houses in the foreground. It makes for a better fireworks shot in my opinion, than just a regular fireworks show against a dark sky.
How I Took These Shots
- Fuji X-Pro2
- Fuji XF 16-55 mm (Note to self: If I get to do this again next year, bring the XF 50-140 for some close up shots.)
- Fuji RR-90 wired remote shutter release
Needless to say, but I’d say it anyway 🙂 you will be shooting in full Manual Mode. If you have not done it before, take heart, it’s not that difficult.
- Aperture – Fixed at f/8 since there was no depth of field involved, that is, everything was far away.
- Shutter Speed – I tried several settings between 8 to 20 seconds. The shorter the time, the thinner the firework streaks, but you get blacker sky. While the longer the time the thicker the streaks and the sky is not as dark, it has more of a bluish tone. I like my sky to be dark, but then I also want a little bit more of the fireworks, so most of my shots were at around 10 to 15 seconds. You will have to set your shutter speed to either T or B mode, hence the importance of a remote shutter release.
- ISO – Manually set at 200
- Focus – Manual focus and set to infinity
- Metering – Center
- Long Exposure NR – At first, I had it set to On, but I was missing a lot of shots because it doubles the shooting time, so I turned it Off. I don’t notice any noise really, but I’m not the one to fuss with little noise nor do I pixel-peep.
With these settings, it’s really just the Shutter Speed that I had to play with. I review the photo after each shot, and either increase or decrease the amount of time for the shutter to be open. That’s it!
Not much really, except for some cropping on some of the shots. I was using the Classic Chrome preset, which to me renders a more realistic color. Perhaps Vivid would have worked too. I shot with RAW+JPG, but I like the JPG that comes out of my Fuji so I did not even bother looking at the RAW files. Made my job easier 🙂
Bring a bright flashlight, especially if you have to hike to the place where you will be shooting and the terrain is a little bit challenging. Coming back in a pitch dark hike with some expensive camera gear is a little bit tricky, not to mention that it could be hazardous to your health.
If you will be setting up early, you might wait for some time, so a good beach chair or towel that you can lay on the ground might be a good idea.
Also, bring some bug sprays!
There you go! Hope this will help someone trying to shoot some fireworks, or any night photography really.