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Capturing Fireworks: How to (and How not to)

It being the month of July, I had the idea to do my next shoot on fireworks. Though it did not seem like a daunting task, the reality became much more difficult than I had originally expected. I personally was not able to do the shoot, but my colleague Dan (whose desk resides 4 ft. behind mine) took up the challenge himself. What resulted was a fascinating shoot that lead to some pretty interesting pictures, but more importantly, some meaningful lessons.

Dan went out on a limb and attempted shooting the fireworks display without a tripod. Alas, this was the “poorest” decision he had made when going into the shoot. Shooting the display without a tripod not only made the shoot difficult, it ruined some of the pictures. Since fireworks flash for such a small amount of time the tripod is essential for taking clear images. This is due to keeping the camera stationary and any jiggling would distort the image entirely.

Dan used an Olympus Pen E-PL1 for the shoot. He varied his shots, purposely shooting in focus and out of focus. (The picture above was one shot purposely out of focus). He varied his shutter speeds from ¼ a sec. to 4 sec. and also used ISOs 100-800. Below, we featured our favorite shots of the shoot..

This was originally shot in color but was transfixed into b/w with the colors inverted

This was my favorite picture of the shoot. The color he was able to achieve sensationally vibrant.



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