Firstly, thanks to Noelle for sending out a group text to the club members telling us about the fireworks.
Having never tried to take photos of fireworks before, I did a quiet Google for some tips. As with most things on the internet there are loads of different and sometimes conflicting opinions!
These are what I took from them and it worked for me.
Wide Angle Zoom Lens (I used a 17-55mm APS-C)
Shot in Bulb mode
ISO 400 (I also tried ISO100 for longer exposures)
I picked the end of Ferry point to try and get Youghal town in the background, to add some depth to the photo and add some local interest. It also offered a wide view of the river as the fireworks were launched from a boat that was moving with the tide.
Shooting a moving target in the dark can be tricky but I’d prefocused the camera manually and because it was ~100m away at f/8 it would stay in focus. Good old Hyperfocal distance.
So with my tripod setup, camera ready and test shot taken, I waited for the fireworks to start…
… 45 mins later than planned, the ABBA tribute band (who sounded very good, even across the water) finally finished with Dancing Queen and we were off.
The extra 45 mins was a blessing as the sky went from twilight to night giving much more contrast to the fireworks.
The bulb mode worked well with the remote cable as I could watch the fireworks directly and just press and release as needed. I found multiple fireworks were too bright because the latter ones would illuminate the smoke from the first ones.
After checking the first few shots, I found 2 - 3 seconds would catch the launch and explosion without being too bright or losing detail.
This is where the remote cable is great. After the first few you get an idea of when to press it and then release, each firework is different.
The main trick is to keep shooting, you’ve no idea will the next firework be a huge dramatic explosion or several launched at once.
It was a very enjoyable spectacle, and thanks to the organisers of The Queen of the Sea festival for putting it on.
Click here to see a gallery of images from the shoot. Enjoy!
- Zane Llewellyn