Fireworks Guide (Part 1)

This guide will in 3 parts:
1) Preparation
2) Actual shoot
3) Post process

a)Location – “You fail to plan, you plan to fail.” and this theory applies for photography as well. It is pertinent to plan and be able to know where and how to take a shot. A shortcut to this is to look at how other photographers have taken or compose their shot.

Below is a map of the possible locations that you could setup your tripod to attempt the shot. All the crosses are the spots which I have tried.
Map for NDP

A word of warning is that most of these angles will involve tilting of the camera so the buildings in the shot will not be straight.

b)Equipment – Camera, Tripod and Remote.
Camera here refers to any camera that can use manual mode. Please make sure that you at the very least know the way to operate around the manual mode and get the aperture, shutter speed and exposure settings fast.

Tripod is really important as we need slightly long exposure in order to capture the image at base ISO. I am using a simple Sirui R1004 with G20 ballhead.

Personally I don’t use my remote because I prefer physically pressing the shutter. Other equipment that I think will be useful would be clamps and one such recommendation would be Manfrotto Super Clamp.

Lens that I would recommend would be UWA and Fisheyes. I have not yet tried taking it with telephoto lens so my knowledge on this subject is limited. But I find using UWA to be easy as you don’t need to worry that you will miss the full burst of the fireworks. Fish eye provides a very interesting perspective for composition and I like it as it creates something refreshing. (I am using a Tokina 11-16mm)

Additional tips: Rmb to bring some snacks and water.

c) Timing – I will usually start to camp at the location by 6pm because at about 630pm the helicopters, F16s or whatsoever thing will start to fly by. So this provides a good opportunity to capture something interesting before the fireworks.

The actual timing for the release of the fireworks is at 815pm – 830pm. Please take note there will be a long pause in between and don’t go keeping your gear. The timing given here is base on rehearsal and actual day might defer as they may want to release more fireworks and could extend. Standby at your cameras at 8pm and be prepared.

Coming up next will be part 2 to the guide…


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