So what is this buzz all about? It’s actually simple. Put your camera on tripod, set up exposure to have shutter speed at 2 or 3 seconds and then try to aim to the epicenter of the explosion.
Then while having your shutter open, rotate your focusing ring (hence “defocusing fireworks”) from infinity where the fireworks is sharp to a minimal focus distance your lens will allow you (or vice versa, play!). The full focus ring rotation has to happen during those two seconds. It is a very similar method to “zooming” technique, which Bryan Peterson maybe taught you in his books, workshops or online school. But instead of rotating zooming ring, you’ll be rotating focusing ring.
- Longer focal length will work better, as the difference between “focused” and “out of focus” is more visible. But you don’t want to go too long, as than chances that the firework will explode in your viewfinder are getting thinner with your telezoom. All pictures here in the post were shot at 70mm with my 24-70mm lens or at 85mm with my prime lens. Between 60-100mm you should be safe.
- Get as close as possible to the fireworks, but don’t forget – safety first!!
- Be on tripod, but have your head slightly loose so you can operate a bit and aim for the explosion epicenters.
- 2 or 3 seconds are necessary to have enough time to capture movement and get de-focused trail. My settings for the majority of the shots here were: 2 seconds at f/11 with ISO 400
- It’s a lot about being lucky, so the colorful shot will explode in the middle of the area you are aiming. So don’t be frustrated, if 80% of your 100 shots made during 10 minutes will go straight to the trash 😉
- Turn off your auto focus, obviously. So your camera will fire right away when you’ll click the shutter. You will “focus and defocus” on your own anyway.
- Make sure to arrive well ahead to get a good spot – no trees, lamps or buildings blocking your view and set up your tripod and camera.
And that’s it. All pictures here are (almost) straight out of the camera. Some of them I’ve cropped a bit and/or added a bit of color saturation. But other than that – this is what you’ll get. Easy, huh? Have fun!
PS: This came across my inbox first time last summer (thanks and credit goes to Clayton!), when fireworks were over and I hate cold, so I declined to go out to shoot it on New Year’s Eve 🙂 But, the wait worth it, right?
PS2: Po slovensky tento článok vyšiel tu.