- Fireworks Photography Tips
- Interesting Photo of the Day: Life Goes on Despite Wildfires
- Google Street View Photographers Document the Mysterious Battleship Island
- DSLR vs. Mirrorless: Are bigger cameras better?
Posted: 02 Jul 2013 04:33 PM PDT
Final Reminder: Only 1 day left! in the 50% off deal on the: In-Depth Fireworks Photography Guide
We all love to see fireworks displays with the bright colors displayed against the night sky. Some of the displays can be quite spectacular. If you like taking pictures, there is no doubt that you will see the fireworks display as a great photo opportunity.
However, if you just pick up your camera and point and shoot, you might be a little disappointed with the results.
The reason I say that is because each individual fireworks burst only lasts a couple of seconds at best in its fullest brightness and shape. By the time you see exactly where the burst is, and then try to frame it in your viewfinder and press the shutter to take the picture, it is probably already fading away.
It’s not impossible to get a picture of a fireworks burst using the camera automatic mode, but shutter lag and hoping the camera will autofocus quickly enough makes it a hit or miss deal.
The best way to photograph fireworks is to use a longer exposure time. By that I mean your camera shutter will need to stay open for a longer period of time than usual.
With a longer exposure time, your camera shutter can be open for the full time (or most of it) when the fireworks burst is visible in the sky. This will yield a much better picture than if you catch the display when it is already fading and losing its shape.
How do you set your camera for longer exposure times? If you are using a basic compact camera you will not be able to manually adjust the length of the exposure time on your camera. (I’ll talk about Digital SLR cameras next) When using a compact camera, set your camera scene mode setting to fireworks.
In the fireworks mode, the focusing will be set to infinity and the shutter speed will be set to a few seconds or so. This way the shutter will remain open long enough to record the light from the fireworks display properly. You will need to use a tripod when using this mode since the shutter will be open for a few seconds. Otherwise your pictures will be blurred from camera shake.
Using a Digital SLR: If you are using a Digital SLR camera, you will be able to manually choose the length of time the shutter will be open. Even better, if you use the “B” setting, you can open and close the shutter for any indefinite length of time you desire. Start off by trying exposure times of 1-4 seconds and adjust them as you see fit.
Digital SLR users should also manually set their aperture somewhere between F8 and F16. Even though the sky will be dark, the fireworks displays are quite bright and using a larger aperture opening like F3.5 will probably over expose the picture.
Use a Tripod! It is best to use a tripod to photograph fireworks displays. Since the camera shutter will be open for longer time periods, you must realize that it is almost impossible to hold a camera steady for more than 1/30 of a second. Even the slightest camera shake will result in blurred pictures.
If you don’t have a tripod when you photograph fireworks, try placing the camera on a firm, steady surface when taking the pictures. If you can’t do that, then try bracing yourself against something steady, with your arms held firmly against your body.
Be alert and Ready! The fireworks bursts happen quickly once the show begins. Try to press the shutter release just before the actual burst of the fireworks. This way you will record the full effect of the lights and colors.
Plan Ahead: Try to locate the area where the fireworks display will be most visible if possible. Try to stake out an area for yourself with a clear view of the show (for those of you reading this by email, the video tutorial can be seen here).
Also, try to determine if you want any landmarks or people visible in the pictures in addition to the fireworks display.
It takes good timing, planning, and practice to photograph fireworks. Use the above mentioned tips as a starting point and hopefully you will be able to get some great shots you can brag about or share with others. Good Luck!
About the Author:
For Further Training, Deal Ending Soon:
There is an in-depth fireworks photography eBook out there that does a great job of explaining the process from start to finish, everything from gear and camera settings to composition and post-processing to achieve great results. We reached out to the publisher who has kindly agreed to offer our readers a 50% discount which ends in 1 day! Simply use the discount code PICTURECORRECT to receive half off.
It can be found here: Fireworks Photography Guide
Posted: 02 Jul 2013 02:21 PM PDT
Many of us have been to a game that was called off due to rain, but have you ever been to one that was called off due to a wildfire? Well, apparently neither have these people. Despite the giant plumes of smoke setting the backdrop for this sunny afternoon baseball game, no one in this photo seems worried or even aware of the wildfire blazing just miles from the field. Even if it was impossible for the fire to reach the baseball fields, one would think that the game would at least be cancelled due to the possibility of families having homes in that area:
The fire in the photo is actually of the Black Forest fire that recently occurred in Colorado. It has already done more damage than last year’s infamous Waldo Canyon fire. Reports are still being updated, but an estimated 150 square miles have been burned along with almost 500 houses.
Though only two have been reported killed in the fire, more than 38,000 have been forced to leave their homes, and the fire is going down in the books as one of the worst in Colorado history.
Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Life Goes on Despite Wildfires
Posted: 02 Jul 2013 12:46 PM PDT
Google is on an ambitious mission to map as much of the world as humanly possible. We recently reported on their project to photograph the tallest building in the world, and now they bring us to the shores of Hashima Island off the coast of Japan (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):
Also known as Gunkanjima, or “Battleship Island”, for its resemblance to the battleship Tosa, Hashima is a 16 square mile abandoned island which lays in the Amakusa-nada Sea, about 15 miles off the West coast of the Nagasaki Penninsula. It was purchased by Mitsubishi Group in 1890, at which point it was turned into a coal mine to fuel Japan’s industrial boom. At its peak, it housed over 5,000 inhabitants within its large, concrete apartments – buildings which were built to withstand Japan’s frequent typhoons. The mine was closed in 1974, as coal was replaced by oil, and it has since been completely abandoned – earning itself another nickname: “Ghost Island”.
Over the years, the buildings have crumbled somewhat but largely held their shape; it has now become an architectural curiosity, and has been featured on television shows and in art exhibits. The Japanese government briefly considered turning it into a tourist destination, but halted plans when it was decided that the conditions were too unsafe.
Now, as the video shows, it serves as an icon of industrial decay, of human waste and blight, but also as a testament to nature’s relentless dominance. After only 35 years of abandonment, these buildings which were specifically engineered to keep nature’s violent will at bay have disintegrated as plants, trees, and grasses slowly reclaim the land. Thanks to Google Maps, every one of us (with internet access) can take a virtual tour of this half-living, half-dead world. It reminds us that human enterprise is fleeting, and though we can do nature much damage, she is indestructible and will ultimately dominate our fragile society, and all that we create.
You can explore Hashima yourself by navigating the map above. Google photographers mostly shoot with a specially-made 360-degree camera (the big blue thing on his back), but you’ll notice him using a Canon DSLR (most likely a 60D) with what appears to be a Sigma 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens for some indoor shots. He uses a special tripod which holds the lens rather than the camera body, allowing him to achieve perfectly aligned panoramas.
Go to full article: Google Street View Photographers Document the Mysterious Battleship Island
Posted: 02 Jul 2013 12:24 PM PDT
Does size really matter? Samsung sought to answer this question by mounting a Samsung NX300 compact camera next to the same camera encased in the body of a fake, larger DSLR camera. They then asked unsuspecting people on the street to compare images taken with the two cameras (which were actually identical).
Want to see how it went? Watch the experiment (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):
Before being let in on the fake camera, the participants in the experiment described the images taken with the larger camera as more professional and brighter. This follows the theory that the average person assumes bigger cameras take higher quality images. However, increasingly sophisticated technology is putting that theory to the test. Some compact cameras are now competing with DSLRs.
Featured in the experiment, Samsung’s NX300 is a mirrorless, 20.3 megapixel compact camera with interchangeable lenses and an APS-C CMOS sensor. It’s capable of continuous shooting and utilizes a hybrid autofocus system. What’s more, the camera has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Its images can be shared instantly with the touch of a button. The NX300 is just one of many new cameras on the market that are changing the way we think about camera size and quality.
Will mirrorless systems soon replace DSLRs? The topic is certainly open for debate among photographers. But in the end, only time will tell.
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