A few days ago, it was PTSD day on the doggie calendar (aka the 4th of July). We are lucky to have neighbors who spend quite a lot on fireworks, so we get a fireworks show from the comfort of our home (no bug bites or sweat. Yay!).
These are all the shots that I took at 15fps — looks pretty crazy. Most of the shots were colorful, but not as interesting frozen.
Below are some of the better shots taken with my Fujifilm X-T1 and 50-140mm. Shots were taken through a somewhat filmy window with the camera either on a monopod or a tripod. (Although, I did try it hand-held which was fun, but I got too tired holding up the heavy lens.)
This was, of course, shot manual all the way — manual focus to infinity with most of my exposures around 1/4 sec f/2.8 ISO200. One stop brighter and you can see the rooftops like this:
Because these are not professional fireworks, they didn’t go very high and didn’t have huge plumes (so you can see the smoke from the previous firework). Sometimes, this can be reduced with a little reduction in exposure and highlight tone and boosting of shadow tone. (This also helps make the rooftops and trees disappear.)
But sometimes there was just too much smoke.
Some quick adjustments in Photoshop helps…
And if I really wanted to remove the smoke, I could spend more time in Photoshop (but I won’t).
In the past, I’ve shot big fireworks displays at around 1/2 sec, but I found that for these “little” fireworks, 1/4 sec seemed to be the ideal speed. Here is one shot at 4fps.
1/8 sec was too fast (shot at 8fps). The streaks are too short.
But your results may vary (so test, test, test!)
And a few parting shots.
I’ll be honest. I shot everything a stop too bright. (It looked so nice on my camera display!!!) and forgot to set the film simulation to Velvia. Reducing the highlight tone and boosting the shadow tone was something I wouldn’t have guessed, either. I think that the last time that I seriously tried to shoot fireworks, I was shooting with Canon DSLRs.