With the Fourth of July right around the corner here in the United States, along with other summer celebrations around the world, photographers everywhere will be photographing fireworks over the next couple of months. Many will try, but how many will succeed? Fireworks photos, in my experience, are usually an all-or-nothing proposition. You either get the shot or you don’t. The good news is that there are steps you can take and tips you can follow that will vastly increase your chances of success. This is not a ranking. Missing any one of these elements can mean the difference between a crisp, dramatic photo and an over/under-exposed frame of out-of-focus smoke. Instead, I chose to list our tips for photographing fireworks in the order you’ll need them.
The 4th of July is rapidly approaching, and some of our American readers may be getting ready to have a go at some fireworks photography. Fireworks aren’t difficult to photograph, but they aren’t something you want to go into blind.
We Americans are always looking for any excuse to blow things up, whether figuratively or literally. Once a year, though, we have a legitimate excuse to get explosive, and every Fourth of July the skies light up with “the rockets’ red glare.”
Mitch Axness, a system support specialist at North Dakota State University, describes photography as a “serious hobby.” While photographing the fireworks display at Devils Lake, ND, Mitch captured a once-in-a-lifetime image as a bolt of lightning reached out to meet an exploding rocket.
In my review of the Seaport Digital MegaMast, I mentioned a few projects that I was just dying to try…well this was one of them.
Stick $4k worth of camera gear up on a three story high pole and shoot fireworks at it.
Ya – simply because I though it would be amazing…and because amazing sells.
Here’s how I did it…
If you are not tired from watching fireworks footage, here is something I don’t think was seen before. Videographer Jos Stiglingh took his DJI Phantom 2 along with a GoPro Hero 3 silver and flew them right into a fireworks show. Some of the footage is shot above the action, but some of the footage is shot with sparkles and debris flying around the camera (see the first photo after the jump).
I don’t actually think there is another way of obtaining such footage. And while I can’t vouch for the safety of such practice (either of the drone or of the spectators) Jos reports that the drone was unharmed.
Ok – so maybe its not really a weird trick – but unlike a lot of internet headlines, we’re actually going to give you some great tips for taking really cool photos of kids with sparklers on the 4th of July.
But now that your curiosity is piqued, you know you just have to continue reading to find out what the trick is!