Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How to Photograph Palm Springs Fireworks

Palm Springs fireworks in 2006

Before I get to the technical aspects of photographing fireworks in Palm Springs, first let me give you the information about the fireworks show at Palm Springs Stadium.

You don't have to go to the Palm Springs Stadium to see them. The image above was taken on Farrell across from Palm Springs High School. It's a great spot to photograph because there are lots of grassy areas in front of the buildings to set up shop. 

Here is the basic information you need in order to photograph fireworks in Palm Springs--

What you need: A good tripod and dSLR or mirrorless camera (cameras with large sensors).

When to go: To get a good spot near Palm Springs High School on Farrell, get there at 8 p.m. The show starts later about a half-hour after sunset. The sunset is at 8:10 p.m., so the show should get in motion at about 9 p.m.

How to shoot fireworks in Palm Springs: If you have a camera that lets you shoot manually (meaning it has a manual mode, a shutter priority mode, and an aperture priority mode), you can fine-tune just how much light you let into your lens. 

First, set your camera to shutter priority mode (Tv or S mode). 

Then, set a shutter speed value. On a good dSLR camera, the values will run from 1/8000 second (the camera will display just the denominator of 8000) to 30 seconds (the camera will display the number followed by a quotation mark, such as 30”). The lowest value indicate the shortest time the shutter stays open, and the highest value indicates the longest time the shutter stays open. 
When your camera is in shutter priority mode, it determines the aperture according to what shutter speed you’ve chosen to give you the best exposure. The shot of fireworks pictured here required a long shutter speed of 4 seconds. When you photograph fireworks, you must experiment with shutter speeds in Tv mode. For brighter fireworks displays, you need a bit faster shutter speed, and for dimmer displays, you need a longer shutter speed.

1 comment:

  1. Trying to get pictures of fireworks stresses me out! It's so hard to capture! But I just enjoy watching them without my camera around. Less stress for me! Looks like you shot off a lot of fireworks!

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