Saturday, 6 July 2013

Having fun with Fireworks

Coinciding with +City Of Melbourne What's On 's announcement of the Docklands Fireworks Season,  +Ockert Le Roux wrote a blog article to advise on techniques.  I missed the fun of last year with our gang and it wasn't raining yesterday so Ockert,  +Luster Lai and +Sophie Argiriou waited by the Cow In The Tree whilst I got myself in a standstill traffic jam at the end of Bourke Street.

I confess, I seldom do well at fireworks - it's a mental thing - Most defeated photographs happen in your head before you even press the trigger.. This time, I had a more positive outlook.

I started at f/11 but I moved onto f/22, the smallest aperture I could go, and the lowest ISO my camera could do -ISO 200, I didn't like bleached out trails and overwritten trails so on Ockert's advice of using a black masking board, I brought my Olympus polyprop environmentally friendly bag, tied the strings around the tripod head and laughed as I played peek-a-boo blacking out the scene between bursts. 

Oh and turned on Olympus's unique Live Time  - the feature that +Trey Ratcliff was asking for on his NEX

We could have gotten nearer. I could have swapped my DSLR 7-14 (used at 14mm) on the Olympus E-PM2 for the Panasonic 20mm prrime, to get more magnification. Even this is cropped a bit. But, hey, that event only takes like a few minutes and then it's over so what-the-heck, leave it alone. Let's set this one up for lots of negative space, shall we?

Does Live Time really help? It sure does. You can "see" when you are getting too many bursts superimposed and when the white trails which are so much brighter, are bleaching the scene so that you can end that frame and start a new one. 

But you must set the refresh frequency right. For this series of cameras, you can only refresh the LCD 24 times. If you set it at 2 secs refresh and you use a black mask in front of the lens to keep the exposure running but not take in more light, you could have the shutter open for way longer than 48 secs. (there is finite limit to the number of refreshes). Something like 4 secs at this fireworks density is about right - if you have more fireworks bursting per sec, then you may not hold the shutter open for that long).

And so, Enjoy!

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