Saturday, July 4, 2015

How to photograph fireworks with a Fuji X camera

The method for capturing exciting, and colorful displays of fireworks are very much the same for all cameras. In this post I will be referring specifically to the settings using a Fuji X camera. You will need a steady tripod for your camera, a remote release to hold the shutter open, and a lens that will enable you to fill the frame with the fireworks display. A zoom lens is best because you can modify the cropping to suit. Since you will be using the lens stopped down, you won't need a fast aperture lens. I would suggest the Fuji 55-200mm variable aperture, or the 18-135mm.

When photographing pure fireworks with no other subject, I always try to fill up the frame with the bursts so there are not too many dead black areas. 
Set the camera to its lowest ISO of 200. Try an aperture of f/11 or f/16. Fireworks can vary in intensity, especially as the smoke builds up. So keep an eye on the results and adjust as necessary. It might even be necessary to stop down to f/22.

The camera should be on manual focus mode. I usually auto-focus at some infinity point, and then switch off the AF to obtain the correct focus.

The shutter should be set to B so it will stay open as long as the cable release is pressed. You want to keep the shutter open long enough during the burst so that it the light "paints" itself on the camera sensor.  This will give you the fullest color. Too short a shutter speed will only record a small part of the burst.  You want to record as much of the burst as you can without over-exposing the photo.  The length of exposure depends upon the brightness of the burst and the sky.  If you have set your camera up properly, you can release the shutter as soon as you see the firework begin its upward motion.  Keep the shutter open during the full burst.  This is usually between three and eight seconds, but could be longer if the sky is really dark. 

Finding a subject to silhouette against the fireworks can make the image more unique. 

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