Saturday, July 31, 2010

4th of July Fireworks with the Nikon D90!



This last 4th of July I had a chance to watch the fireworks in a small town way up in the Cascade Mountains. The town’s fireworks are fired off right next to the river which was a great opportunity for me to capture the reflections of the fireworks on the water. A rushing river isn’t as good as a perfectly flat and calm lake for this type of shot but it will work ok. So I found the only advantage spot the shot would work and planned to get there early to set up. These are two of my favorites from a lot of shots taken and here’s the D90 Settings I used and how I did it.

First you’re going to need a Tripod and a Remote. I used my Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 lens for these shots at 17mm. First set your camera to remote and in settings :C5 set your Remote on Duration to 10 or 15 minutes if it’s not already set. ISO should be set to 200 to reduce noise. Next set you camera to Manual Exposure and rotate the rear Shutter Speed dial to the left until you get to the word BULB. Bulb setting lets you determine with the remote how long you want to leave the shutter open, 1st click the shutter opens 2nd click the shutter closes. This is how you get long exposures. The next D90 setting is your aperture. Rotate the Aperture dial on the front of your D90 to set this setting. These photos were taken with the aperture set at F/8 but you can play with this setting. I’ve taken fireworks pictures with the aperture set up to as far as f/18. The last camera set up is to set the D90 to manual focus and focus out to infinity. To focus to Infinity means to turn your focus ring all the way to the left or right where everything in the distance is in focus. I think their is a infinity symbol also on your lens. After the fireworks start you can play with the manual focus but infinity seems best. That’s it for the D90 setup.

Now it’s time to fire off some test shots of the beginning fireworks to get the framing you like. Now for the timing, as soon as you hear the fireworks shoot off into the sky click the remote one time (opening the shutter). Wait until the big explosion in the sky happens and click again (closing the shutter) Check you framing and adjust. Now you’re set to capture away….play with different exposure times and see what you get. That’s it, and that’s how I got my shots. My exposure times for these two shots were 5.1 and 7.6 seconds.

Quick Recap:
Tripod - Camera set to Remote – Remote on Duration set to 10min. – ISO 200 - Manual Exposure Set – Rotate Shutter Dial to BULB – Rotate Aperture Dial to F/8 – Set Focus to Manual – Focus out to Infinity.

Have Fun!

6 comments:

SPiRiTCORE said...

Where is the infinity on the 18-105?

Scbbbc said...

Spirtcore, To focus to Infinity means to turn your focus ring all the way to the left or right where everything in the distance is in focus. I think their is a infinity symbol also on your lens.

funkymacgirl said...

nice picture..deffinetly need to invest in a tripod.

Ben said...

Great advice. This was my second year shooting fireworks with the D90 and I worked to incorporate a human element to some of the shots. http://flic.kr/p/8fHjSr

c said...

what AF mode did you use? Single area? did you use any AE-locking function? eg AE-L, AF-L...etc

Scbbbc said...

Yes I used single area! and no AE-locking function used. Have Fun!