So being part of the greater British Commonwealth, we celebrate Guy Fawkes in November. Which is a bit frustrating because its late spring here and the sun is starting to set later so it takes a while to get dark.

The night it was planned for had dreadful weather all day but it was a Friday so the rescheduled for the Sat and it was the loveliest night for it. Calm and still and fine, and mild. All good things because the big fireworks show that Christchurch puts on is down at the beach, and the weather can be a bit variable. I got a good park to the south of the Pier, probably half a km away. I thought I would be too far away but as events proved I was in a good spot. I had my camera in my backpack, tripod, jacket, hat and gloves and my cushion.

Walked up to the top of the sand dunes and found a spot next to a couple who had bought a radio so they could hear the count down. Realised (as it was getting darker) that the one thing I had forgotten was a torch.

I had the 17-85mm lens on the tripod, and set it up on Shutter Priority at 6 seconds. I had read somewhere that 6 sec was the optimum time setting for fireworks. As I did a test at both 4 and 8 sec I tend to agree. The trick is the press the shutter as you see the rocket on the way up, and close to where you think its going to burst, press the shutter, that way you get maximum burst in the image.

The squiggle is me bumping the camera in the dark with my nose

The display probably went on for several minutes but I was having so much fun and getting what looked to be good images I wanted it to go longer 🙂

8sec exp the fireworks are overexposed but the beach and audience is clearly lit up which I quite like

This is my favourite image, I love the blue colour

What Did I Learn On The Night?

– going out in the dark? then TAKE A TORCH!
– 6 sec worked well for fireworks shots – tho it was a big professional show so the bursts were MUCH bigger than home ones
– being further away than you think is better
– dont approach the camera in the dark til the shutter is closed
– a remote cable might have allowed me to time better
– I chopped the top off a few shots because they went higher than I was expecting. I really need to get a B&H tripod frame for the camera so I can mount it in Portrait, and would have helped with that problem.

I had a great time, learnt heaps and got shots I am happy with, so a win all round 🙂

More colours


About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
This entry was posted in Camera Adventures, For Beginners, Waffle and Burbling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fireworks

  1. Gyula Rusinczky says:

    Hey Stacey,

    just wanna recommend you Nasim’s website with a very detailed how to tutorial about firework shooting :

    He does a great job to share all his technical knowledge about photography.

Love to hear your thoughts on my post!

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