Photography in low light for fireworks

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 5, 2014

As many of you watched last night’s Fourth of July fireworks show some may have tried to take pictures.

If you were unable to capture compelling images here are a few tips to make that attempt a bit more successful.

If you want sharp and brilliant images use a DSLR, or digital single lens reflex, camera. They offer options a cell phone or most point and shoot cameras lack, such as the ability to adjust the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Entry-level models are dropping in price, some can be found for about $500.

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Second, employ a tripod for the best results. Keeping the camera still is key when capturing sharp images in low light.

Alternately you can try keeping our hands very still, but using a tripod makes this process easier.

After attaching the camera to the tripod, set the camera to the full manual setting. Using this setting allows you control over every aspect to allow the most light to enter the lens. An F-stop, or aperture, of f2.8 or lower is best if your lens allows. The lower the F-stop number, the larger the aperture, allowing more light to enter the lens.

Then reduce the shutter speed to the slowest setting possible. This allows the shutter to remain open for an extended period of time to capture the most light. If you leave it open too long the camera will catch multiple firework discharges. The results in this instance can be beautiful, or messy.

Using a camera remote can also help reduce shake since your fingers are not pushing the shutter. If you don’t have a remote try using the automatic timer setting, but this leaves things to chance.

This process takes a bit of trial and error. If at first you don’t succeed, adjust your settings and try again.

These tips can also be used in any low light situation, such as capturing lighting strikes at night.