Dear friends recently I shoot some photographs of firework on the eve of Dassera on 17/10/10. Before this I never tried for such kind of firework. Though earlier I tried to capture some shots of rocket & other simple items on Diwali. I will like to share the settings & the reason for that with all of you.
I opted for my wide angle lens Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for Canon
. Considering my 1st experience of such kind of shoot I didn't know how much area I have to cover without missing anything in the frame. This lens on my crop body canon 400D was wide enough to be on safer side.
Shot 1: 18mm, f/18, ISO:100, 20sec, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for Canon,400D
Aperture & DOF:
I used the aperture from f/8 to f/18 tuning the required exposure along with different shutter speed. I started with f/18 & gradually shifted to f/8 keeping overexposed area at minimum. This range was enough to offer me good DOF keeping all elements in the frame focused. I keep on checking the exposure in histogram & get opened the aperture shot after shot.
Shot 2: 18mm, f/20, ISO:100, 20sec, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for Canon, 400D
Shutter Speed & Effect:
I changed shutter speed from 15 sec to 30 sec. I may have liked to use cable release putting camera in bulb mode but I was having some problem with my cable release gadget. So I don't wanted to take chances & miss the shot keeping me frustrated.
Shot 3: 18mm, f/8, ISO:100, 30sec, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for Canon, 400D
Framing & POV :
I was very much clear that I need to be framing vertically capturing the firework at their entire height . I also wished to have the outline of festival in the bottom of frame adding a story to firework. I kept the bottom area as minimum as possible giving more space to sky. I kept my tripod to an height of around 60-80 cm keeping the point of view from seated viewers. It also allowed me to be comfortable by sitting on the lawn & take shots with an ease.
This kind of firework (shot 1,2 & 3) has an advantage that they explode in different areas keeping possibility of overexposure minimum. As shown in other shots (shot 4 & 5) of Diwali the rocket & other items keep firing mostly in single area. For capturing this kind of firework a slow shutter speed will overexpose the areas. So for capturing these kind of shots with slow speed one has to use polarzier or ND filters.
Shot 4: 17mm, f/11, ISO:800, 30sec, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4, 5DII
Shot 5: 180mm, f/29, ISO:100, 1/25sec, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4IS, 5DII
Focus & metering:
Manual focus was obvious choice & I set it to infinity. I also insured from viewfinder the portion in bottom is looking into focus & tweaked a little with manual focus. Getting proper exposure was completely trial & error method. I knew the camera metering is not going to help me considering the spontaneous nature of the shots. In fact in the end (shot 3) I achieved a good exposure adding more bright sky & people in bottom with good exposure.
I hope these tips you found useful & my best wishes are with you for your firework photography.