Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Photo of the Day: "Fireworks, Thermopolis, 2009"

No post processing here: just resized and ©ed for web with a little cropping top and bottom.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8, ISO 1000, 17mm, f8, 20 sec. bulb exposure. Manual exposure with shade white balance. The lighting is from a Nikon SB-800 fired manually (at 50% power) off-camera with a yellow gel to match the fireworks. On a tripod. "Bulb" exposure means I manually started and stopped the exposure with a wireless remote, instead of using a predetermined time. This allowed me to get the firework from beginning to end and close the shutter before another went off.

There are several variables in fireworks photography. Aperture must be small enough (large enough f-number) to have some depth of field, especially with subjects in the foreground, but large enough to get some light. ISO sensitivity should be high enough to allow a workable shutter speed but low enough to minimize noise. Shutter needs to be long enough to get the entire firework, but short enough to freeze subject motion.

Or, you can have your subjects in total darkness, only illuminated (and frozen) during the 1/10,000 sec. of flash. Just make sure they don't mind your flashing around behind them. It took a number of attempts to get this particular shot.


Kathie said...

That is freakin' awesome, especially since it's not processed! Wicked cool. You've inspired me to play around with my digital. I'm dying to perfect night light photography. Christmas lights are just around the corner. Off to read my books now!

Modest Holdings said...

Thanks — sometimes I stumble upon the intersection of fortune, preparation and stubborn fortitude.