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With 4th of July around the corner, here are some tips for taking great pictures of fireworks.
1 – Use a tripod.
You will need to use Manual mode on your camera. Set the shutter speed to about four seconds. The long shutter speed will expose during the full motion of the launch, explosion and sparks. At this shutter speed, the tripod is essential. If you have a remote trigger, you should use that too. It will prevent any vibrations caused by having your fingers on the camera.
If you do not have a tripod, improvise. I took this set from a hotel window during a trip when I happened to be tripod-less.
I held the camera against the glass of the window and they turned out okay. Using a tripod would have been much better.
2 – Stop down the Aperture.
This is why you need to put the camera into Manual mode. With a long shutter speed, your camera is going to automatically open the aperture all the way. If you look back at that Detroit set linked above, you’ll see that I had the aperture wide open (it was a long time ago and I didn’t have much of a clue) and I used a very short shutter speed. Compare those pictures with this set.
Fireworks are incredibly bright points of light. Use an aperture setting around 8 to capture the firework light without the background light. After a couple of shots, check one of your pictures to see how they look. You can always make small adjustments to the aperture to get the best effect.
3 – Set the ISO to 100
The lowest ISO on your camera is going to give the best quality of picture. If you have the camera on automatic ISO, it will probably max out the number to get the most sensitivity. You do not want that. A low ISO will have little noise and on a black background, the noise will be noticeable.
4 – Have Fun
Independence Day is the quintessential American holiday. We love fireworks and we would love to see your pictures of them. Take some pictures and share them with your social network. It will make the holiday that much more enjoyable.
Update – Here’s a set from the 2013 fireworks. I played around with the shutter speed and did a few at 30 seconds. You can see all the information in the EXIF data on each photo.
I know many people who would like to help in the mission field and travel to another country or to another part of the United States as part of a mission group, but because of financial or time constraints it is not possible. Three years ago, a person at my church had the idea of helping people locally as an outreach to the community. It became known as the Mission Trip to Findlay and we helped local people clean up their yards, do small home repairs and other things that the homeowner was not able to do. Yesterday was the third event and it was bigger than ever. Working through the Findlay Ministerial Association, we invited churches from around the city to join us. The goal was 100 projects with 1000 volunteers. We exceeded the goal in every way.
I volunteered to help map out the projects as they were added to the database. The Fusion Table map below is the final version. I have taken all the names and addresses off the markers, but if you click on a marker you can see all the data included for each property. The markers are color coded based on the project manager. These people passed information about the property to project leaders. A single property could have as many as five projects. The final database has 139 properties and there were many with multiple projects. To get the work done, there were 27 different churches who together sent more than 1100 volunteers.
Update: I have removed the interactive map from this post. An article in the The Courier this morning indicated that someone is trying to scam the good people in need in Findlay. I see no reason to give a scammer an interactive map showing all the locations in the Backyard Mission Trip. If you would like access to the map, contact me directly.
The Courier had this story about the first Backyard Mission Trip 2013.
Backyard Mission Trip on Findlay Highlights – WTKC 89.7 FM