I do really like the nighttime, both in the city and also at my cottage. From living in the constant movement to going occasionally to a more remote and peaceful area, it is a fortunate escape into a different environment. Apart from the mosquitos constantly attacking any bare skin on my body, watching the sun set beside a campfire is the perfect activity during summer. For very special occasions, there are usually fireworks or sparklers lighting up the blackened skies after the sun’s light has gone. The only problem is… How do you capture this moment?
Trying to take pictures of fireworks can really be a frustrating experience. By not knowing which settings to use, you can end up with a lot of pictures of blurry lights. I don’t think anyone wants blurry fireworks or sparklers in their photo libraries right? Here are some tips on how to take stunning shots of fireworks and sparklers so you can truly capture the moment:
1. Invest in a tripod that is a decent make and a sturdy model (this will make a big difference). Absolute stillness is required for the slower shutter speeds you’ll need in these conditions.
2. NO FLASH! Just switch it off! Believe me, I left the flash on and the shot I took looked like light crap. Switching to the manual settings on your camera will cover this and give you more control.
3. CHARGE YOUR CAMERA PRIOR TO SHOOTING! The long exposures can drain your camera’s battery more quickly so charge it up.
4. Lower your ISO speed. This will prevent your images from getting somewhat grainy. You can also turn on your camera’s Noise Reduction setting, if you have one.
5. Turn on your camera’s fireworks setting. Many of the recent camera models have a scene mode specifically for shooting fireworks.
6. Use long shutter speeds around 2-3 seconds or even longer. This is the most important camera setting you need to worry about. With a fast shutter speed, your camera will not be able to pick up the illuminated paths of light the fireworks make in the sky. So give your camera a chance to record those streaks with a longer shutter speed. I recommend experimenting different durations to see what you prefer and what ultimately looks the best.
7. Take lots of pictures! You can always delete the duds later.
Remember, taking photographs with your camera is a fun activity and a great opportunity to experiment new settings and features. Have fun!