Expert tips on Fireworks photography

you don't get many second changes with fireworks

Around Sydney Harbour on New Years Eve there are millions of people enjoying the spectacular display of fireworks every year.  Within that crowd are loads of hobby and amateur photographers with expensive cameras trying to get the perfect shot.  So, how do you do it?

On my radio show on Talking Lifestyle I spoke to Sam Ruttyn, Senior Photographer with the Daily and Sunday Telegraph about just what is needed to get that ultimate shot.

For Sam it’s a complex and seriously expert process, but there are some tips to keep in mind for the average photographer too:

  • Tripod: No good having a plastic flimsy tripod if you’re going to throw an expensive camera on top, firstly to keep your camera safe, and secondly a light tripod can’t hold a heavy camera and you might get camera shake from wind or other factors
  • Shutter Speed: Try to use a 20 second shutter in bulb mode, either on a timer or via a trigger remote. Play around a little with this, but in the end it’s more about the timing of the fireworks in the shot than anything else once you’ve got your settings right.
  • ISO: Keep it on a low ISO, 100-200 should be perfect for the Fireworks.
  • F-Stop: Try shooting at around F8-F11, it will be a bit hit and miss, try it with the 9pm fireworks, though remember there will still be ambient light in the early show and it will be darker at midnight.
  • Fast Memory Card: Don’t use a cheap memory card, you want something with 90-120mb/s write speed, otherwise you take a 30 second exposure and it takes 30-40 seconds to write the photo to the card. A faster card means you’re able to take more photos.

Happy snapping!

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Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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