Happy New Year – First Fireworks of the 2013!

Happy New Year!

Let’s have a great one together! 🙂

Fireworks Shooting Tips

What ya need:

– Super-stable surface
– Go into scary Manual mode
– Set your F stop to as LOW a number as possible
– Set your shutter to 15 seconds (but wait till the last bullet point!!)
– Set your ISO to, hmmm… well depends on your camera sensor… but let’s say 800.


(also, play with your ISO and Shutter speed till you like what you see):

1) When you take the photo, you probably won’t have the camera on for a full 15 seconds. After you see a nice explosion, TURN OFF the camera. This will close the shutter. Most of my best shots are only 3-9 seconds… but leaving the 15 seconds there is like a buffer where you can decide based on the shapes in the air.

2) If you have a big-sensor DSLR, then ISO 200 may be okay. If you have a smaller sensor, keep trying 400, 800, 1600, etc until the light levels look good for your time of exposure.

3) Don’t forget to shoot in RAW so you can bring out all the final colors later! 🙂

Daily Photo – 2013 Fireworks in Queenstown

I decided to re-crop this photo at the last minute! If you dig around on Google+, you’ll see my first version. It was okay, but I think I like this square one better. Actually, I just can’t make up my mind. I feel like a woman trying on clothes, or, at least, what I think that would feel like.

2013 Fireworks in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 15:11:18
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

  • Casper van Zyl

    As much as your pic is really good i have never liked fireworks as i had my hand burnt as a kid. i always think no glitter No LITTER.
    Besides in todays world,sorry to say, the world economy is struggling to cope and many are starving and yet Governments continue to burn money for pleasure, as if to say, see what we do for you! Sorry folks its no about photography its the fireworks and
    whats behind it that I find despicable.

  • susan ratcliff

    Wonderful shot of the fireworks – I think I saw someone say it looks like a ‘lions head’ – it does really – I like the size!

  • Or… you could just see a beautiful image as a beautiful image and say ‘good work!’

  • Beautiful! I’m working on my lowlight photography and this is wonderful.

  • Casper van Zyl

    Thats just what they want you to say when they burn your money !( you have just fallen into there arms so to say.)

  • Trey: Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Healthy 2013

  • beautiful photography

  • Wowee, I love all the colors in the photo!! This one is going on my desktop right now! Happy New Year to all 🙂

  • Beautiful photography. Please see our photos too.

  • A beautiful photo! Happy New Year to you and your family.

  • Scott

    Great Shot, 2 questions, if the apature is set as low as possible, say 1.8, shouldn’t the background fall out of focus? (Maybe I’m just not seeing it being its a dark background) also, Would the same rules apply for lighting photography?

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    No – 1.8 or low is fine in these situations where everything is pretty much at “infinity”

  • Great photo and great tips on shooting fireworks, can’t wait to try shooting some myself the next time there’s fireworks around here.

  • Maria Falvey

    So glad to see these tips – fireworks are one of those things I still get childlike delight from but can never get identifiable photos of.

  • GeorgeGreen

    Great shot. I find it is to get your shots early in the show before there is a lot of smoke obscuring the scene.

  • Happened to be in Queenstown for a few days around Dec. 12th. Hoped I might catch you. Asked the owner of the photo shop along the wharf promenade if he knew you. He said no. But I then walked just 20 yards over to the artist shop and the owner there said he would run into you every now and then at the Motogrill. But Motogrill looks like it was closed for good when I was there. Beautiful area with Lake Wakatipu. I enjoy your photos.

  • Howdy Trey! Just getting back on the radar after a weekend up in the Colorado Rockies. Just wanted to with you and your family happy new year! Have a great 2013…I’m looking forward to your adventures and images! Thanks again for all the inspiration in 2012….and well before that.

  • ManM Fireworks

    Nice Picture.

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