Monday, July 4, 2011

Learning to Use Our Nikon- Fireworks

Nate and I own a Nikon D5000 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 9

We are slowly learning how to use them to their full potential. We aren’t photographers.  We don’t plan to be.  We just both enjoy photography and capturing those special memories in our lives.

We’ll start sharing with you tips and tricks that we are learning along the way….

Fireworks are hard to capture. The following photo was taken with our Canon point and shoot…

Chicago Trip 123

Definitely not the beautiful fireworks that I remember seeing off of Navy Pier!

The following photos were taken last night along the Mississippi river using our DSLR….

Fireworks 110

Fireworks 119

Fireworks 085 

Here’s how to capture these shots: 

  • Use a tripod as capturing fireworks requires a long exposure. 
  • Set the focus to manual.
  • Change the adjustment ring change it to infinity (the sideways 8). 
  • Switch the camera mode to manual (M on Nikon), and using the dial switch it to “Bulb”mode (for Nikon it will say TIME on the screen for the exposure time) and then set the aperture to something between f8 and f16 (I used f16 for all the shots).
    • Bulb mode lets you set the amount of time the shutter is open, one press to open the shutter, then another press to close it, this way it is easier to time the fireworks. 
  • Use a remote shutter release as pressing the button on the camera will create shake in the camera and the picture will not be as sharp. 
    • If you do not have a remote then do not use Bulb mode, set the shutter speed to at least 2 seconds (most of my shots were somewhere around 10 seconds) and use the self timer at 2 seconds to avoid shake. 
  • These photos were shot in RAW and I did some minimum processing in Photoshop Elements Camera Raw (changed white balance, made the color pop a little bit through the camera profile settings) but shooting in JPEG would work as well.

Any questions?  Do you have interest in more very amateur photography/Photoshop Elements tips?


  1. these photos are absolutely amazing and beautiful!!
    thanks so much for sharing them - and the photography tips.
    cheryl xox.

  2. I seriously think those are the prettiest firework photos I've ever seen! I love the scene of the river & bridge too.

    Thanks for the quick tutorial on photographing fireworks! I have a "new" Canon G12 (since Christmas), and I haven't taken time to learn much of the settings beyond auto :-( I tried some of your tips tonight (I'm downloading them now)...I hope some turned out ok for my 1st time trying to photograph fireworks.

  3. You should seriously start selling some of your photos as prints. The ones with the bridge are awesome!

  4. oooooh gorgeous! Rick was trying to take pictures on his cell phone of our fireworks. They turned out worse than the 1st photo you showed there. :P You're lucky to have such a nice camera! :)

  5. Wow these are unreal! Makes me wanna fiddle with my camera :)

  6. Those are amazing! I would have battled DC traffic and heat if I would have had a shot at photos like those! Love, love, love them!

  7. Wow! These pictures look amazing!

    And, PS, I was looking at your right across the River. We were watchign them from my office (right next to Centennial). Small world. Were you at the ballpark?

  8. And, btw, they were really good this year, I think!

  9. WHOA!!!!!!!!! Nicely done Michelle!!! Makes me feel like I was totally there!

  10. Wow. I totally should've known this before taking the crap-tastic fireworks photos I took last night. : )

  11. Gorgeous!!! This looks like a post card Michelle! Keep the photoshop tips coming.

  12. WOW! Those are some fantastic firework pics! A little bit of research into using your camera goes a long way! Even if you never plan to become "real" photographers getting out of Auto mode will ensure you have beautiful photos that catalog the great moments in life (as you've no doubt discovered!). You paid a good chunk of change for that SLR, you might as well use it like it's supposed to be used!

    I love my Nikon and it's my baby. They're wonderful pieces of equipment!

  13. I have a D5000 too! Your photos are amazing, I saw one over at Pioneer Woman, WOW!! Thanks for the tips too, they are so helpful as I have major improving to do:)

  14. I love fireworks and these are amazing shots! WOW! Thanks for the helpful tips for next year! :)

  15. Ahh fireworks in the QC! Definitely recognize that place! :)


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