All posts tagged aperture

It was on a recent trip to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA that I was inspired by the topic for this article. By the way, as a quick aside if you’ve never been to the Georgia Aquarium you should definitely go as it’s quite an amazing place. You can find out more about them on their website www.georgiaaquarium.org.

Anyhow, while I was there I was quite surprised to see not one, not two, but no less than 4 people actually using an iPad as their camera at the aquarium. Don’t get my wrong, I’m not a camera “snob” who thinks that good photos can only be taken by a true camera.

I mean some of the cameras being built into cell phones these days rival most point and shoot digital cameras in terms of both pixel count and scene selections. So then why would I have an objection to someone using an iPad to shoot photos at an aquarium?

Don't do this at the aquarium!

Well in a nutshell an iPad does not have a large enough aperture or high enough ISO levels to take decent photos in the kinds of conditions and light levels found in an aquarium; and the best reason of all, you just look plain stupid holding a giant iPad trying to photograph a fish!

I seriously could not believe that I saw 4 people doing this. One of which actually then tried to use the “flash” on the iPad while taking a photo. Don’t believe me? Check out this photo I sneaked in of one of the “iPad shooters”.

Not only that, I recently went to the NY Aquarium and saw someone there shooting fish with their iPad as well! This is an epidemic we must stop immediately.

Even in NY!

So as much fun as it is for us to go on and on about a bunch of crazy tourists who would descend upon an Aquarium walking around trying to take photos with a tablet the size of a small television, I think the best way to help these people is for us to discuss and educate them with some proper tips and techniques for taking great live animal photos in a low-light environment such as at an aquarium or even perhaps a zoo.

First let’s talk about the lighting that we’ll find at an aquarium. There’s usually quite a mix of outdoor exhibits with possibly harsh direct sunlight, and also indoor exhibits with large tanks and low-light levels. Lots of different challenges to overcome, but totally do-able.

Let’s talk about the outdoor exhibits first. Shooting live animals, especially ones that are in an exhibit such as an aquarium is a very different “animal” from shooting people. If I were shooting a group of friends outdoors and there was harsh lighting, I could ask them to move into the shade.

You can’t do that with animals. They’re notoriously stubborn, and they probably don’t understand english.

If there was no shade, perhaps I might use a diffuser above them to filter the light and make it softer. With animals in an aquarium this is also not possible. Not only can you not get anywhere near the animals due to those pesky fences, but animals love nothing better than to soil a nice clean white diffuser, nasty stuff.

So what can you do to battle harsh outdoor lighting? The easiest solution is just not to shoot in it. Most people usually spend a couple of hours visiting an aquarium. So you can easily start with the indoor exhibits during the mid-day hours when the sun is at it’s harshest and save your outdoor photos for either earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is less harsh and gives a nice golden color to everything.

“But Scott…you say, the outdoor Penguin Feeding is at 1PM, are you telling me that I can’t photograph it”?

Huh? When did I say you couldn’t photograph it?  Of  course you can photograph it, you just need to use a different technique. So what else can we do to battle the harsh mid-day light?

We can use our fill flash! This technique can be done with any camera flash, but really works well if you can use an off-camera speedlight. Using a fill flash allows you add a pop of light from the front that can help to soften those harsh shadows, especially under the eyes, formed by direct overhead mid-day sunlight.

When shooting in “automatic mode” on your camera…you guys still don’t do that even after reading my blog posts right? When shooting in “automatic mode” your camera will not turn the flash on because ordinarily you would not need flash in bright sunlight.

Since we want to make sure that the flash fires to balance out the light, we have to set our flash mode to “fill-flash on our cameras”. This setting will let the camera know that we want the flash to fire whether the camera feels we need it or not. So there you have it, a way to capture the super cute Penguin Feeding and still make sure those penguins look their best, after all they are wearing their tuxedos.

Just try to convince this Walrus to move into the shade for you. Good luck!

After you’ve seen all the seals, penguins, and of course walruses (or is it walri?) outdoors, it’s time to head inside and take some shots of jellyfish, sharks, and sea turtles.

Photographing indoors at the aquarium presents a whole new set of obstacles to deal with. The first being that a lot of these exhibits have very low lighting. Why should that stop you though, you read the Dengrove Studios Blog, you know how to deal with low-light situations. Plus you’re walking around with a flash, you think to yourself…you’re all set.

Flash reflection on a fish tank

Well…not quite. You’d better leave that flash in your camera bag for the indoor exhibits. Why…you ask inquisitively? Well, have you ever tried to take a photo of yourself in a mirror with the flash on? I’m sure anyone who has, experienced a giant white reflection of light in the middle of your photo.

Unfortunately for us, a big fish tank behaves exactly the same way as a giant reflective mirror. Pop a flash on it and you get a big white light blob in the middle of our lovely fish. So what can we do to get nice indoor photos of our fishy friends? Let’s revisit some of the basics that we’ve talked about before.

So what are some things that we can do to ensure we get great low-light photos at the aquarium? In past articles we’ve talked about raising the ISO on our cameras in low-light. ISO controls how sensitive to light the sensor of your digital camera is. When we increase the ISO it makes our photos much brighter. Perfect for a low-light situation such as indoors at the aquarium. Plus with today’s modern digital cameras you can easily shoot up to an ISO of 1600 or higher and still get very usable shots.

So what’s the downside? You may recall that every adjustment we make to our camera settings have side effects as well that we must take into account. In our case, raising the ISO setting also raises the noise level in our photos. Basically, the higher the ISO the more grain that will show up in your photo. Most modern digital cameras handle this noise very well up to ISO 1600 or even greater. In addition, it’s a pretty simple process to run your photo through a software program that can eliminate noise caused by high ISO.

Great…so we simply raise the ISO and we’re all ready for those sharks to show us their sharp pearly whites. Perhaps, but raising the ISO may not be enough given how dark some of these aquariums can be. So what other settings can we adjust to help us take better photos in low-light?

Using a slower shutter speed causes fast moving objects to blur

You may also recall from some of our previous discussions that shutter speed has a lot to do with the exposure of your photos and can help you take better photos in low light. This is true, however there is also a problem we must consider.

In order for the shutter to allow more light to hit your sensor you need to slow down your shutter speed. This will increase the exposure of your photo and make it brighter. Makes sense, but we also need to keep in mind the side-effect that slowing down the shutter speed has as well. When you shoot with a slower shutter speed the motion of your subjects tends to blur in a photo. As you can imagine this would not work very well when trying to shoot a fast moving fish. All you would get is a big blur streaking across your photo.

Those of you who own some photographic equipment might think that perhaps a tripod could help you out in this situation. It certainly does help keep a camera steady during long exposures using a slow shutter speed. However, we need to keep in mind that a tripod helps to eliminate camera shake caused by your hands, unfortunately, it does nothing to slow down a fast moving object such as a fish.

So in this instance you’ll be happy to know that you can leave your tripod at home and don’t have to lug it with you since it’s not going to help you get better photos at the aquarium. Plus it really wouldn’t be safe, people might trip on it, which is why a lot of public places won’t even let you use one. That, and it helps them sell more high-priced postcards.

Ok, so slowing down the shutter speed may not be the best option. However there’s still one more technique that we can employ.

We can use a larger aperture setting. By increasing the aperture, more light is allowed into the camera when taking a photo. Combined with raising your ISO this should go a long way to getting a nice photo of your friends from the sea.

And since ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are all related, by raising the ISO and also increasing the size of your aperture, this allows you to increase your shutter speed while keeping the same exposure level, thereby allowing you to “freeze” your subject better. Which is perfect for shooting those fast-moving fish!

High ISO and large aperture combine to create a perfectly exposed low-light photo

So to sum up, armed with the proper photographic techniques there should be no reason why you can’t take some great photos with even the simplest point and shoot camera at an aquarium in any type of lighting. Notice I said camera, not iPad!!!! By the way…you cell phone shooters are safe for now, but we might talk in the future.

Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several nationally circulated magazines and publications. In addition, his work can currently be seen in 2 exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios

We’ve finally made it to the end of our 5-part series on exposure modes. We finish with the king of all creativity, Manual Mode. This is the mode that lets your knowledge of photography and creativity shine through. Manual Mode is the one where you basically tell the camera to “shut-up” and let you do the driving.

Are you in a dark room where the camera is telling you it’s too dark to make  a proper exposure? No problem, Manual Mode will let you take that photo. Do you want to take a photo with a very deep depth of field and also freeze the action, but don’t have enough light? Switch to Manual Mode, and give it a shot, you’re not paying for film!

Ok ok, so Manual Mode is not a magical cure for exposure problems, but it does allow you to go out of your camera’s, and possibly your, comfort zone to take some photos that the camera might not allow you to take while in one of the other exposure modes.

Let’s review a bit…we’ve already learned about the other 3 exposure modes..

Programmed Auto Mode (P-Mode) your camera does all the thinking. Aperture and shutter speed are set for you automatically.

Aperture Mode (A-Mode) you set the aperture and the camera determines the shutter speed for you.

Shutter Mode (S-Mode) does just the opposite, you set the shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture value.

By now I’m sure you have guessed that in Manual Mode (M-Mode) you’re flying solo. You’re responsible for  setting both the aperture and the shutter speed yourself. That’s a big responsibility! Are you ready for it? Can you handle it? I think you can.

Even if you don’t think you’re quite ready, I implore you to try Manual Mode. Nothing will teach you about exposure settings and the relationship between aperture value and shutter speed faster than being out there on your own making your own exposure settings.

Plus, if you make a mistake, you might it’s a part of life, because you’re shooting digital it costs you nothing to try, and it’ll be our little secret if it doesn’t turn out quite right the first time. If you’re shooting film however, you may want to borrow your friend’s digital camera to try it out. You’ll most likely be going through a lot of frames, plus the digital camera allows you to get instant feedback, instead of having to wait for the film to be developed to see what worked and what didn’t.

The toughest thing to shooting in Manual Mode is picking a starting point. When choosing your aperture and shutter speed where do you begin? It can be very overwhelming. Sometimes when shooting in Manual Mode professional photographers will use a light meter. A light meter is a hand-held device that measures the light in the scene around you and gives you values for what your aperture and shutter speed should be.

Now wait a minute…that sounds just like what your camera does when it is in P-Mode. Well you’re right, your camera has a built-in light meter which is how it determines the proper exposure values for the scene you are shooting. So what do you do when you’re new to Manual Mode and your light meter is in the shop? Put your camera in P-Mode and press the shutter down half-way.

This is going to give you an exposure reading. In P-Mode the camera will use it’s built-in light meter to “read” or “meter” the scene and tell you the aperture and shutter values that it comes up with. So now armed with this new information we can switch back to Manual Mode and plug in those values we just got from the camera’s built-in light meter. You now have an excellent starting point for setting up your shot in Manual Mode.

You know these values are going to give you a relatively decent exposure to begin with, so now you can start getting creative by varying either the aperture value or shutter speed to achieve your desired results. Want a shallower depth-of-field? Go ahead and dial in a larger aperture value, just keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust your shutter speed to keep your exposure well balanced.

A good rule-of-thumb to remember is that for every full stop of aperture value you increase or decrease you should also change your shutter speed by a full stop to maintain the same Exposure Value (EV). We learned about this a while back when we discussed reciprocity.

So for example, if our light meter (built-in or hand-held) chooses an aperture of f/8 and a shutter speed of 1/125 and we want a shallower depth-of-field. We can change our aperture value to f/4. That is a change of 2 full stops. So in order to keep the same Exposure Value (EV) we will need to raise our shutter speed by 2 full stops bringing us to a shutter speed of f/500.

This is because when we make our aperture value larger by a full stop we are letting in double the light. Since we changed our aperture from f/8 to f/4, 2 full stops, we are now letting in 4 times the light at f/4 than we did at f/8. So to compensate we use a faster shutter speed by 2 stops from 1/125 to 1/500. This causes 1/4 of the light to be let in at 1/500 than we had at 1/125 which cancels out the 4 times more light coming in from our aperture value.

How do I know that is 2 full stops you ask? Well I have included a chart at the end of this article that shows the full stop values for both aperture and shutter speed. Some high-end cameras will let you change your aperture or shutter speed in 1/2 or 1/3 stops as well, but all cameras will let you dial in full stop values.

Manual Mode also comes in very handy when shooting with flash, especially external flash. A full discussion on shooting with external flash is a topic for another blog post, but we’ll touch on it briefly. When shooting with an external flash the cameras light meter may not take this into account. Therefore it might choose a very slow shutter speed automatically for you because it is metering the available light in the scene. The light meter may not know that an external flash will be used. This is the perfect time for Manual Mode.

By shooting the scene in Manual Mode you are able to tell the camera that you would like to use a faster shutter speed. We know this still will result in a good exposure because the flash is going to provide quite a bit of light to our scene. Shooting in Manual Mode let’s you choose the shutter speed and also the aperture value that will work for your flash lit scene.

There are some people who are perfectly content taking all of their photos in P-Mode and letting the camera do all their thinking. Most of the time this yields decent photos. However, you cannot truly begin to explore the creative possibilities of photography or take your photos to the next level until you turn that dial and try shooting in one of the other 3 modes.

Maybe you feel Manual Mode is a bit too much for you to try right now, but Aperture Priority Mode or Shutter Priority Mode are just begging for you to give them a shot. They let you start taking control of the exposure in your photos without having to fly solo. And as with most things, there is no better way to fully understand your cameras exposure modes than to get out there and shoot as much as you can!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this multi-part series about exposure modes, even if the end was a long time coming. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, and share your creative photos. Until next time.

Exposure Value Chart

Chart of full stop values and Exposure Values (EV), Courtesy of thecrosseyedbear on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecrosseyedbear/2124175721/

Ok, ok, so it doesn’t exactly spell MAPS, it spells PASM big difference 🙂 But what do all those letters mean anyway?

That dial on your camera with all of those letters P, A, S and M are actually different exposure modes that you can use on your camera. These particular settings control how much of the decision for the exposure you want to use is left up to the camera. In other words, do you prefer to choose your own exposure settings, or would you like the camera to make all the decisions for you. You use the different exposure modes P, A, S, and M to tell the camera just how much of it’s brain it should use when setting proper exposure for your photo. For those who don’t know, exposure describes the light that is hitting your film or camera sensor (in digital cameras), used to create your image. Specifically, exposure describes the amount (brightness) of light hitting your film or digital sensor, and for how long that light is recorded by the film or sensor.

This is actually quite a large topic to discuss so let me tell you a bit about what’s to come. The next 4 blog posts will be related to just this topic. Today’s post is an introduction and overview of all 4 of the exposure modes, and then in subsequent posts I will explain each one in detail. Back to the content…

There are 2 terms you should know about before we continue as they are going to come up a lot in this discussion, shutter and aperture.

The shutter – is a very small opening in your camera that sits just in front of the film or digital sensor. It can open and close like a window. Most of the time the shutter is closed and does not allow any light to reach your film or digital sensor. However when the shutter release button is pressed on the camera, to take a picture, the shutter opens and allows light to strike the film or digital sensor for a pre-determined length of time which creates a photograph. This length of time is known as your shutter speed, and is usually measured in seconds or parts of a second. It can range anywhere from 1/8000 of a second to 60 seconds depending on the type of camera you use.

Aperture – refers to the size of the opening in the lens of your camera. This determines the amount of light that will be allowed  through your shutter and ultimately reach the film or digital sensor. You can almost think of aperture in terms of a water pipe. The larger the pipe, the more water that will flow through it. The larger the aperture setting used, the more light that will flow through your lens and shutter hitting your film or sensor. Aperture sizes are usually referred to as “f-stops” and range from f/1.2 to f/22 depending on the lens used on your camera.

So if those letters don’t spell MAPS, or PASM or even PAMS, what do they stand for? Programmed Auto Mode (P), Aperture Priority Mode (A), Shutter Priority Mode (S), and Manual Mode (M). Let’s take a look at what each one does.

Programmed Auto Mode (P) – This is the full automatic exposure mode of the camera. Basically in this mode the camera makes all the decisions for you when it comes to exposure. The camera will automatically set the aperture and shutter speed for you in this mode. Not only that, it will decide which aperture and shutter speed will work best for the particular photo that you are shooting. This is the mode where most beginning and intermediate photographers live. It’s very easy to let the camera decide how your photo should be exposed. But not always the best choice as the camera is merely an electronic piece of equipment and lacks the creativity and artistic eye of a human being. One way to vastly improve your photos is to take a trip out of the P mode once in a while and make some of the exposure decisions yourself. I know it can be scary, but remember #4 from the last blog post, this is digital, it doesn’t cost us anything to play around and try new things. If it doesn’t turn out quite right you can always delete it before someone else sees, the camera won’t tattle on you, promise!

Now this is where the apprehension and panic will begin to set in for some of you. In fact, there may be a few of you out there who will come to this point and say “Scott, I’m perfectly happy living in P mode and letting the camera think for me” and actually not continue to read the rest of this post. First, everyone take a deep breath, count to 3, and RELAX. There is nothing to be worried about…even if P mode is your “happy place” to shoot photos, and I’m sure for some of you it is, I do request that you at least give me a chance and read through the rest of this post. It may just make you think twice about keeping that camera in P mode for the rest of it’s life. Do cameras even have lives? Well I suppose that’s a topic for another post, anyway moving forward…

Cactus with a shallow depth-of-field, large aperture

Cactus with a shallow depth-of-field, large aperture, 75mm, f/3.5, 1/500s, ISO 200

Aperture Priority Mode (A) – In aperture priority mode you set the aperture manually and the camera automatically calculates the optimal shutter speed for your photograph. This mode allows you to take some control over your exposure while still allowing the camera to make some decisions for you. Why would you want to do this you ask? Well we know from above that aperture controls the amount of light coming through your shutter, but what you may not know is that aperture also controls your Depth of Field or (DOF). Depth of Field refers to how much of your photo is in sharp focus. Take a look at this photo of the cactus. The cactus is perfectly sharp and in focus, but if you notice the flowers in the background they have a nice soft blur on them. This draws the viewers eye directly to the cactus which is the main subject of this photo. This shallow depth of field is controlled by your aperture. The larger the aperture the “more shallow” your depth of field will be. In other words the larger the aperture setting the smaller the area that will be in sharp focus in your photo. To achieve the results shown in the cactus photo, use a larger aperture. We’ll discuss aperture and depth of field a lot more in a future post.

Stuntman captured mid-fall, fast shutter speed

Stuntman captured mid-fall, fast shutter speed

Shutter Priority Mode (S) – This mode is the opposite of the A mode discussed above. In this mode you set the shutter speed manually, and the camera determines the optimal aperture setting. As we discussed before, the shutter controls the length of time that light will be allowed to strike your film or digital sensor. However, it also controls how “frozen” the subjects are in your photograph. For example, at a baseball game when a player is just about to slide into home plate and a photographer snaps the award winning shot perfectly freezing the moment when the players hand makes contact with the plate. Or when you take a photo of a beautiful waterfall and the water looks like beautiful creamy flows. The sense of movement in these photos are all controlled by the shutter speed. The faster the shutter speed, the more “frozen” and sharper, the action will be in your photo. Take a look at this photo of a stuntman captured in mid-fall. To freeze his motion a very fast shutter speed was used for this photo. We will discuss shutter speed more in depth in a future post.

Manual Mode (M) – For those who want the ultimate control over their exposure, this mode is for you! In this mode the camera does no thinking at all. Both aperture and shutter speed are set manually by the photographer, hence why the call it Manual Mode. This mode can seem a little daunting to use at first, but after you play around with it for a while you’ll get a very intuitive sense of which aperture and shutter speed to use for a particular situation. As they say necessity is the mother of invention, and when you don’t have the camera helping you out with exposure settings you pick up real fast what works and what doesn’t.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of exposure modes in this post, but I implore you to take a trip out of the P zone every once in a while. Please comment with your experiences and share some photos with us. Next time we’ll begin to look at the 4 exposure modes more in depth. Until then, go out and shoot some great photos, it’s the only way you’ll become a better photographer.

Dengrove Studios - Fireworks over building - f/11, 1/3s, ISO 1600

Dengrove Studios - Fireworks over building - f/11, 1/3s, ISO 1600

With the 4th of July upon us, I figured I would touch on a topic appropriate to the occasion. Who doesn’t love Fireworks? Well maybe there are some who don’t like the loud noise, but you have to admit they sure are beautiful and mesmerizing.

So mesmerizing in fact, that anywhere you see people watching fireworks you also see plenty of people photographing fireworks. Unfortunately, for various reasons most of those fireworks photos never come out the way people hoped they would. They may be too blurry, or too dark, or just not have the same sense of awe that they had when they were bursting above your head. So what can we do about it?

I present to you some excellent tips to make this 4th of July the one where you capture your best fireworks photos ever! Ok, maybe not the best ever, but certainly better than last year 🙂

The first tip I have is to TURN THE FLASH OFF! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been at a night event of some sort (fireworks, a ball game) where people are taking photos and all you see is *FLASH* *FLASH* *FLASH*, come on, you guys who are guilty of this know who you are, don’t deny it. Maybe it’s because you didn’t realize you had the flash on, perhaps it’s because it’s easier just to leave the flash on, or maybe you never learned how to use all the buttons on that shiny new camera you bought? Don’t worry about it, whatever the reason I won’t tell on you, because I know after reading this you’re going to make sure to turn that flash off next time you’re photographing those beautiful bursts in the sky and you’ll be well on your way to making those photos better.

Now, some of you may be saying, “but Scott…I’m taking photos at night time, and the flash makes things brighter and light up, so shouldn’t I use it when taking pictures of fireworks, since they are shot at night time”? Allow me to explain… the effective distance of a standard pocket-sized digital camera’s flash is about 10-15 ft depending on your exposure settings (aperture and ISO). Basically what this means is that when you take a photo in the dark with your pocket-sized digital camera it will only light up objects and people that are 10-15ft away. Most fireworks shell bursts occur between 300 and 1200 ft up in the air. As you can see your camera flash, which can only reach a couple of yards at best won’t do anything for a burst of light in the sky (or at a pitcher throwing a ball while you’re sitting way up in the stands for that matter).

Once you’ve turned your camera flash off it is extremely important that you follow my next tip, or your fireworks photos are guaranteed to come out blurry if shooting with your camera in a full auto mode. You must find a way to steady your camera. The absolute best way to do this is to use a tripod. However, some of you may not have tripod’s available, so then what do you do? Leave the camera at home and don’t shoot the fireworks? Of course not! Find useful objects nearby that can help you. If you’re in a park for example, find a nice bench with a bit of an angle, or a trash can, or lamp post, that you can rest your camera on while you shoot. This will help to steady the camera and will undoubtedly sharpen those fireworks photos right up.

For those intermediate readers that have ventured beyond the “automatic” mode on your camera, I have some tips for you as well. For those that are happy with the camera making the decisions, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. When photographing fireworks you want to use a slow shutter speed. You may think that you want to use a fast shutter speed as fireworks seem to burst in an instant, but in reality it is the long trails of light that give fireworks their awe. These trails of light are around for a bit of time after the initial burst of the shell. This is why if you want to capture the full beauty of fireworks you must use a slow shutter speed, so that you can get all those gorgeous light trails in the photo as well. I recommend a shutter speed anywhere from 1/2 second to 4 seconds. You should experiment a little bit to find the shutter speed that works best for the types of fireworks they are shooting at your display. Incidentally, this is why it’s important to turn the flash off on your camera. When the flash is on it typically sets your shutter speed much higher than 1/2 second, usually a minimum of 1/30 – 1/60 of a second. This is much to fast to adequately capture the beautiful light trails of the fireworks.

Don’t forget your aperture while shooting fireworks. Ideally your aperture should be set anywhere from f/8 to f/16. Why do you want to use such a small aperture while shooting at night? Typically at night we would want use a large aperture to let more light into our camera for a better exposure, but now when shooting fireworks. Here’s why, the light from fireworks are actually quite bright, even though they only last a few seconds at most. In addition, as I mentioned before fireworks bursts can occur quite high in the sky, nearly at infinity distance. With that type of range you want to have the greatest depth of field possible. In other words, you want the greatest amount of focus you can get in the scene. Choosing a small aperture of f/8 to f/16 will allow you to have a very large depth of field. Combined with a tripod or other steadying technique I talked about those fireworks are guaranteed to be crystal clear and perfectly sharp.

Now I know there are some of you out there who would love to take better fireworks photos, and follow my advice, but feel it seems like a lot of work. Good photography often is, but there is a shortcut… most digital cameras today come with a “fireworks” mode. By setting the camera to “fireworks” mode the camera will automatically turn off the flash, set your aperture to a the right range, and the shutter to a slow speed all with the touch of a single button. You’ll still need to find a way to steady the camera though. For more information you should check your cameras user guide. You remember the user guide, it’s that thick book that came with your camera that you’re probably using to balancing your table leg 🙂 Well replace it with a stack of napkins and take it out and learn a bit about your camera.

I would like to wish everyone a great 4th of July, stay cool, stay safe, and have a hamburger for me. Most importantly though, go take some amazing photos of those fireworks tonight! Feel free to comment on this post, ask questions, and share some links to some of the photos you have taken.

Dengrove Studios - Multicolor Fireworks Bursts - f/8, 1/2s, ISO 100

Dengrove Studios - Multicolor Fireworks Bursts - f/8, 1/2s, ISO 100