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Thread started 21 Aug 2013 (Wednesday) 10:58
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Fireworks Photos Help

 
wongkw
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Aug 21, 2013 10:58 |  #1

I just tried shooting my first fireworks photos on the weekend. We have an annual competition in our city that runs every other night for 5 nights and I can get a view from outside my place about 8 km away.

My problem is after I took the shots and viewed them on a full size monitor, all the light streaks from the fireworks were zig-zagging.

I don't have access to my photos at the moment but here are the settings I used:

F11 aperture
2 to 4 second exposures triggered by pressing shutter button manually
EF 70-300 lens zoomed in at nearly maximum, IS turned off
Mounted old 35 yr old K-mart brand tripod
No wind

Any ideas on where I went wrong? I have some thoughts but want to see if anyone with experience can confirm.

Thanks


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Matt ­ M.
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Aug 21, 2013 12:11 |  #2

If you don't have a remote trigger of any kind, your problem is most likely movement from pressing the shutter release. If you're not using mirror lock-up, that could be contributing, as well.


Matt
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wongkw
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Aug 21, 2013 12:29 as a reply to  @ Matt M.'s post |  #3

Matt,

I had my suspicions those were the main 2 causes of my problem. I'll have to look closer at the shots when I get home but if I recall, it appeared the zig-zagging appeared from beginning to end of the fireworks streaks. This would mean the camera had the shakes for the full 2 to 4 seconds the shutter is open. Is it possible the camera would be shaking for that long? I would have thought the shaking would occur for maybe a second and then stop, but I'm not experienced enough to know.


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Matt ­ M.
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Aug 21, 2013 15:53 |  #4

It's hard to tell, but those things are certainly contributors.
I had a cheap tripod once that, with the right amount of weight on it, would sag a tiny bit at a time & cause that sort of problem. It could be something like that, also. Eliminate one thing at a time until the problem is gone.


Matt
6d, T3i, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L[COLOR="Black"], 28-80mm, f/2.8-4L, 24-105mm f/4L , 24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8 II, 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, 600EX-RT, etc.

  
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gonzogolf
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Aug 21, 2013 15:59 |  #5

Post a couple, that will help us see the issues.




  
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wongkw
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Aug 21, 2013 19:47 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #6

Here are 2 of the shots I took. I see the first one has major shakes after seeing the building blur in the foreground.


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Matt ­ M.
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Aug 22, 2013 09:58 |  #7

I'd be looking at the same causes. It's sort of a cool effect in the second shot.


Matt
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gonzogolf
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Aug 22, 2013 10:02 |  #8

If you look at the ghosting on the building below its pretty obvious that its camera shake. Try stiffening up your tripod by hanging some additional weights from the legs. A plastic gallon jug filled with water and a bungee cord can help.




  
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wongkw
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Aug 22, 2013 10:34 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #9

Matt, it's cool if it's intentional, it's annoying and frustrating when unintentional :)

Gonzogolf, I will try to weigh down the tripod to see if it helps but part of the problem might be with the tripod head itself. I can't really describe how it works, will have to take a picture of it later. As I mentioned before, it's a very old K-mart tripod, probably the equivalent of a $25 dollar tripod by today's standards.

I'll also look into a remote trigger...any ideas for a 5D that won't break the bank?


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gonzogolf
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Aug 22, 2013 10:40 |  #10

Any of the wired shutter releases will be fine. I've seen them online from hong kong based suppliers for as little as $5. http://www.gadgetinfin​ity.com/wired-shutter-release/ (external link) Here is a good vendor, but others may be similar.




  
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Matt ­ M.
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Aug 22, 2013 13:26 |  #11

wongkw wrote in post #16230383 (external link)
Matt, it's cool if it's intentional, it's annoying and frustrating when unintentional :)

Absolutely.


Matt
6d, T3i, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L[COLOR="Black"], 28-80mm, f/2.8-4L, 24-105mm f/4L , 24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8 II, 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, 600EX-RT, etc.

  
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tonylong
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Aug 23, 2013 21:29 |  #12

A "cheap" tripod can certainly be part of the problem! Cheap tripods aren't designed to hold weight during longer shutter speeds. I learned that early and spent money on good tripods at the same time as I was investing in better cameras!

Also, when you are setting up your gear for fireworks or other long-exposure subjects, make sure that you are "hands-off" during the exposure, either using the self timer or a mirror lock-up, and preferably with either a cable or a remote release!

Using one of those techniques should free you from the "wobblies"!


Tony
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DannyC71
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Aug 26, 2013 01:25 |  #13

Shutter release is a must. Also you're zooming in from quite a distance (8km is just under 5 miles), which will exaggerate even the smallest of movements, so definitely do what you can to stabilize your tripod, and get much closer if possible. My last set is hardly pro quality, but I was about a mile away (1.6 km), ISO 100, f8, Bulb mode and zoomed to 105mm with a remote shutter release, and on a high quality tripod, and when I view the full size file I still see slight "wobble" in the trails, although they're not quite visible in a normal size.

http://www.flickr.com …91967700/with/9​213872924/ (external link)


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Fireworks Photos Help
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