Kike Calvo Fotografía

viernes, 22 de junio de 2012

Seven Tips for better Fireworks Photos




Full interviewed by journalist Roy Furchgott published on The New York Times June 22, 2012 on how to shoot fireworks, and considering the 4th of July is around the corner. 
Part of the beauty of fireworks is their impermanence. They are a momentary flash of beauty that fades to a memory. Unless, perhaps, you know the tricks of photographing fireworks.
Kike Calvo, a photographer whose work appears regularly in National Geographic, took the above shot at the Fallas celebration in Valencia, Spain. With the Fourth of July just ahead, he offered some tips so that you can preserve your fireworks for viewing all year round.
Scout it out. It’s best to scout out the setting before the fireworks begin, even when they are being set up, Mr. Calvo said. ”Arrive early, or the day before,” he said. Look for a wide view and appealing backdrop. “I looked for a place high enough, with a good perspective,” he said.
Focus First. You want a lot of depth of field so you get a lot of real estate in focus. “A way to make your life easier is to choose a wide-angle lens,” Mr. Calvo said. “The wider the better.” Short wide-angle lenses naturally keep a greater range of distance in focus, but you should also set to a fairly high F-stop, F8 to F18, Mr. Calvo said, which also adds to depth of field. While it’s counterintuitive to use an F-stop that lets in less light at night, “the fireworks are brighter than people think,” Mr. Calvo said.
Expose yourself. The big trick to catching fireworks is to have long shutter speed, so you capture the entire path of the rockets, and better yet, several in one photo. One way to do that is to set your camera to shutter speed priority, then manually dial the speed to 2 to 20 seconds. Some cameras have a “bulb” setting, which holds the lens open as long as the shutter button is pressed. And make certain your flash is off. An errant flash will spoil the shot.
Don’t be too sensitive. The camera really doesn’t have to be very light sensitive to capture fireworks, so you may need to lower the ISO setting for light sensitivity. “You think you need a super-high ISO, but with the long exposures, 100 or 200 ISO is fine,” Mr. Calvo said. “The other thing is, your shots are cleaner; there is not a lot of noise.” That’s especially good, because noise – which shows as little grainy dots — tends to show most on big patches of a uniform color, like a black night sky.
Still of the night. The camera can’t move during the shot. “First of all use a tripod, that is rule No. 1,” he said. “If you don’t have a tripod, put your camera on a wall, or use a clamp on a tree.” Also use the time-delay release (or remote) to trigger your shutter, so pressing the button doesn’t wiggle the camera.
Outlook hazy. Those fireworks produce smoke that will be well lit in timed exposures and can overwhelm the image. Try to position yourself so that the wind is at your back. That way the fireworks are between you and the smoke, and it will be less evident.
Getting the shots right requires some experimentation. Fortunately, most fireworks displays follow a pattern of sending up individual sky rockets first, which you can use for your test shots. Then you’ll be ready for the big bangs at the end.

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