Take Epic Hands-Free Fireworks Photos

With the American Independence day holiday right around the corner I thought it would be timely to have a quick how-to post on shooting fireworks. In the first part of this video I share basic fireworks tips and tricks for getting great shots.  

  1. You must have a tripod or something to hold the camera steady or a few seconds. I love the Leofoto Tripod

  2. Use manual mode on your camera - Shutter speeds between 2 and 8 seconds, Aperture f/5.6-8.0, ISO 100-200 if you have a P&S camera use the fireworks scene setting (still need a tripod)

  3. Use a remote release device to trigger your camera- I recommend Intervalometer with multiple connections: http://amzn.to/29xNO3M

  4. Be ready! Some of your best opportunities happen early on, as the smoke builds your shots may get hazy unless you have a breeze removing the smoke. So I suggest you start to setup before it gets dark, frame your composition and take a few test shots - use trees or light poles near the fireworks launch spot to focus on - review the photos watching for stray objects or horizon lines that might distract from the fireworks. If you end up setting up in the dark, use the following tips - set your ISO to MAX and your shutter speed long enough to get a well lit photo, we don't care if it is grainy, we just want to get quick feedback on focus and composition. Once you have those set then use the suggested settings in step 2 for the actual fireworks shots.

  5. Try to time your shots to start just as the rockets head up, longer shutter speeds are going to capture more of the action

  6. Experiment but don't forget to enjoy the show some too

  7. Finally, watch out for the Grand Finale - shorten the shutter speed during that fireworks-heavy period or you will end up with an overexposed image.

Related - Long Exposure Sparklers Photos / Light Painting

Hands-on Nisi Filter System for Long Exposures

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIJnUuIhy-wI have used the Nisi Filter System for over a year now and think this is the best system out there.To start you pick up the V5 Pro kit for $180 - I recommend you purchase from B&H PhotoNisi Filters V5 Pro This includes a nice protective case, high-quality circular polarizer that is integrated into the 82mm ring, the filter holder and adapter rings (that allow the holder to be used with lenses that have 67mm, 72mm, or 77mm front filter threads. Additional rings are available for purchase)I recommend you add:

The 6 stop allows you to easily do long exposures in cloudy conditions or near sunrise/sunset. If you want to achieve long exposures in bright conditions pick up the Nano IRND 3.0 Filter (10 Stop) [Buy from B&H Photo The Nisi V5 Pro holder is their latest edition and it's improved over the original. Earlier models were very difficult to slide the glass plates in/out of and this updated version is much better while still holding them securely in place.Advantages of Nisi over LeeThe NISI system comes in a nice leather carrying case everything is protected and a silent soft magnetic latch makes it easy to access. Downside - it is a little bulkyNisi offers an integrated circular polarizer often times when I'm using these filters I'm photographing water and I do want to use a circular polarizer to control or cut the amount of Reflections and it's so easy to rotate with little dials on the edge of the filter holder.The Nisi system comes with a variety of adapters that allow you to use it with lenses- 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm Adapter Rings. Additional adapter rings are available for purchase. Quality - Extremely sharp and no color casts. I found the Lee system to have strong cool or blue color casts in their stronger ND filters. Why do I recommend the NISI system over stacking several circular filters?

  • Flexibility- this system allows me to use graduated filters AND circular polarizers together and easily.
  • no vignetting even on my widest lenses.

Make Photos EP #002 - Long Exposure Light Trails with Seattle Skyline

I walk you through the capture and post processing in Lightroom of one a recent Instagram photo -  Using a popular vantage point of the city of Seattle - Dr. Jose Rizal Park, a conveniently placed hole in the fence and a long exposure to get light trails creating this image - Follow me on Instagramhttps://youtu.be/fBofBxH8NiEGear used in this videoSony alpha a7r iiCanon 24-70 f/2.8 II LNisi Filters CPL (part of the kit)MeFoto Travel Tripod CFGear used to MAKE this videoPanasonic GH4Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 Lens