Digital Pyro Photography

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I have found that very little has been written about photography of pyrotechnic events, much less digital photography. Because people are usually fascinated with good photographs of fireworks, and because I do love both crafts, I thought I might delve into the rather esoteric aspects of shooting fireworks with digital cameras.

Two things to take care of, and one of them is a personal pet peeve.

  1. Digital photography was born out of film photography. The best way to take digital shots is to think of your camera as a film camera with the digital caveats layered on top. I will first go through steps that will help with ANYBODY take better fireworks pictures THEN go on to aspects of digital photography. Granted, some of these items may seem rather simplistic and rudimentary. But in the long run it will add up to a positive result.

  2. When I show a good (or great) picture, one of the first things responses I get is "Wow! That's great! What kind of camera did you use?" Are you kidding? The camera is only part of the whole, and I will argue that it is a much smaller part than you think. The single biggest tool you can utilize is yourself. 90% of what goes into a picture is based on the photographer. I've seen lousy shots taken with a great camera. Who was at fault? The camera? No - the photographer. The inverse is also true. I've seen fantastic pictures taken with a disposable camera or an old Kodak Brownie. What was responsible for the shot? Yup - the photographer. Later on I will share what kind of camera was used, but be warned: If you go out and buy the same camera, you will probably NOT get the same results. Why? You took the shot - not me. Get it? Good. Let's figure out how to make you (and I) take better pictures. The camera you choose to use will come later.

That said, let's go. One of the few sites that had instructions on how to shoot fireworks is called Fireworks in California, from the online magazine California Photographer. I learned a lot about pyro photography from this site. There will be some duplication of effort here, but I have added in some of my own experiences as well.

Don't want all the jibber-jabber? Here's the short of it.

First, let's talk equipment.

All information presented on these pages can be used for your personal use. If you want to publish or reproduce any or all if the info here, you must have permission from Tom Calderwood. If you find any information that is incorrect, please notify me and I will take care of it as soon as possible.

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