Matariki celebrations

Fireworks are moving subjects and it is important to get your shutter speed right.

Firework displays are occasions that evoke a lot of emotion in people as they are not only beautiful and spectacular to watch but are often used to celebrate special and sometimes momentous events. Photographing fireworks can be done with virtually any camera or smartphone provided our pictures are adapted to get the best from the equipment we use. Fireworks are moving subjects and it is important to get your shutter speed right. To capture the movement you will need a long exposure (1 second+). This will mean using a tripod and a cable release or finding other ways to brace yourself to make sure the camera is rock steady when you take your shot. 

Light from fireworks are surprisingly bright so a mid-range aperture (f5.6 –f.8.0) should work well. Try to get to the location early so you can plan ahead and think about the foreground and background. Experiment with taking shots that include a wider  perspective. Pointing your camera at a dark sky can get some good shots but by including some other elements other than just the fireworks themselves — whether it be people, buildings, landmarks or wider town/city perspectives — can add a lot more interest to the photo. 

Throughout the display review the results to make sure you are on the right track and taking images that look compositionally pleasing, sharp and correctly exposed. Don’t forget to enjoy the show and allow yourself a few  ‘ooh’ and ‘aahs’ moments as you create great images! Indeed this is what Gareth Hodges did with his picture ‘Matariki (Māori New Year) celebrations’ at the lakefront in Wānaka last June. Gareth concentrated in getting the exposure, movement and colours ‘spot-on.’  

To give more interested he also wanted to capture some of the town’s features and the spectators enjoying themselves.  The Club’ competition judge was impressed and gave it an ‘Honours’ award. Gareth took his image using a Canon EOS5D Mark 111 camera attached to a  50mm lens, an aperture of f6.3, Shutter speed of 1 sec, ISO 1000 with manual exposure/focusing settings.   

Wanaka Camera Club welcomes anyone interested in photography to come and  join us. If you know nothing about photography we will teach you. Come along and see what we can do for you. Our next  meeting is Monday, November 11, 7.30pm, St John Rooms, Link Way.

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