Written by Claudio Chock
Visual creative Claudio Chock shares 5 tips to capturing the annual National Day Parade fireworks this coming Friday at the brand new Funan Singapore.
1. Arrive early
This is pretty much a no-brainer! Arrive at least 2 to 3 hours prior to the start of the parade and find the vantage point you like the most. Funan is a great place for fireworks photography; head up to the Urban Farm on level 7 or the Roof Garden for the best fireworks viewing and photography spots.
2. Trust in a tripod
This is pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to shooting fireworks. More often than not, you will want to slow down shutter speed for nice streaks. No matter how powerful your camera’s in-body image stabilization is, or how stable you think your hands are, nothing beats the stability of a tripod. Be careful when placing your tripod along rails and the likes – bringing along some gaffer tape might be useful!
3. Use a remote shutter release
Bring along a remote shutter release. This will allow you to snap your photos without physically touching the camera shutter button and causing any unnecessary shake. Combining this tool with your tripod will allow you to take some really awesome fireworks shots!
4. Shoot in manual
While modern cameras are pretty good in auto exposure, shooting fireworks is best done in manual mode. There are no perfect settings as it depends on the condition of the day, but you can try starting with keeping your ISO between 100 to 400, aperture between f/8 to f/11 and a shutter speed of 1 to 2 seconds. Increase your shutter spread and reduce your aperture for longer firework streaks.
5. Select the right lens
From most vantage points, the standard zoom trinity will be perfect for creating the type of shots you want depending on the composition. A 16-35mm will allow for a wide angle shot that covers a good amount of Singapore’s cityscape for a more interesting photo. A 24 – 70mm and 70-200m will give you versatility for tighter framing and even have you covered for the state flag flypast and RSAF aerial displays that take place earlier before the fireworks!
6. Use ND filters & try the black card technique
Alternative, you can try out the black card technique to achieve a similar effect. With your shutter set to either a few seconds or Bulb mode, hold a black card (your mobile phone works great as an alternative) in front of lens, releasing (i.e. moving it up or down of the lens) each time you see a nice burst of fireworks for a couple of seconds before placing it back in front of the lens. Repeat this process for a few bursts to get a nice composite of multiple fireworks.
7. Try shooting in burst mode
If you are looking to creating something different, try shooting in burst mode mode on your camera. Make sure your focus on locked-on so that focus does not shift unnecessarily during the duration of your continuous high speed burst. With the multiple stills captured, you can edit them in post-processing and turn the series into a stop-motion video / GIF!
So those are the seven tips you can use to get beautiful fireworks shots this upcoming National Day, or even any other celebration, really. Get out there and start shooting!