Wild Wednesday 27/52 Happy Independence Day!

©Copyright Deborah M. Zajac, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Independence Day in the United States is today. On July 4th families and friends will get together to celebrate this holiday. Plans are being set in motion for pick-up games of baseball, volleyball, or swimming. There will be picnics, and barbecues/grills will be fired up. Dads all over will be grilling hot dogs, and burgers, watermelons will be split, seed spitting contests will ensue, and the colors of the day will be Red, White, and Blue.

When the sun drops beyond the horizon the celebrating doesn’t stop. Countless cities and towns will put on a great show of fireworks, and many families and friends will be gathered in their favorite viewing spot to watch the show, and many of us want to photograph them.

4th of July Fireworks

Settings for image above: f/10, iso 200, 14seconds-DSLR lens 18-200mm on a tripod

With just about any camera you can photograph fireworks.  I’ll share some tips for  getting the most out of your  DSLR or compact camera.

If you have a compact or Point and Shoot you might have a “fireworks” scene mode that you can summon either on the dial, or in the menu. Adding + 1 or +2 to Exposure Compensation will give you a longer shutter speed to add more colors, and longer fireworks trails. Then find something to stabilize your camera.  Most likely your shutter speed will be slow so, to avoid any blur you’ll need to have a solid base for your camera that doesn’t move while the shutter is released. A tripod is best, but a table, rock, ledge, or car hood works in a pinch.

Be sure to turn your flash off!

Night mode with Exposure compensation set to +1 or +2 to slow down the shutter will work pretty good too.  If you don’t know how to set that you’ll need your user manual.

Fireworks at Disneyland

Settings image above: f/8, ISO 3200, 1/4s, 35mm f/2 lens. Holding my DSLR over my head and shooting.

Using a SmartPhone-  Video is the best way to shoot the fireworks when using a cell phone. You can grab stills from your video. If you shoot a Time-lapse using your cell phone use a tripod!

Using a DSLR:

You’ll need your tripod, I recommend a cable release, or remote release, and full manual settings.

If you want foreground select a wide angle lens. On a Full Frame camera 24mm to 35mm in portrait orientation should be wide enough.

If using a Crop Sensor camera something in the range of 16mm to 18mm would be equivalent.

In Manual Priority choose an Aperture of F/8 to F/11, ISO 200, and a shutter speed of 8 seconds- you many need longer or shorter depending on the speed of launches, but 8 seconds is a real good place to start.

If you want just the fireworks in the sky select a lens with a range of 70-200mm.  If you have a 24-120mm, or super zoom like an 18-200mm lens that may be all you need for the night.

Once you have your camera set up with the settings dialed in you’re ready for the first launch. If you got to your location early you can sit back and wait. I hope you’ve packed something to eat! 😀

Once the sun goes down get ready for some fun! But, first we need to pre focus. When you hear the very first Whhomp! of the firework launch  follow the  contrail trail and when the firework explodes focus on the firework, and press your shutter release, or back button focus button if that’s how you focus to lock that in, and depress the shutter to make the image! In all likelihood that image isn’t very good. That’s okay, you’re just finding the place where the fireworks will explode and focusing there.  Now lock your camera down so it’s aimed in that spot, and switch your focus mode to Manual Focus! When it gets dark it may be too hard for the camera/lens to lock focus and it will hunt. You don’t want that. So, by using that first firework to pre-focus on you should be good to go the rest of night in manual focus.

Fireworks_20130704_4470

Settings for the image above: f/10, ISO 200, +1 Exposure Comp, 10 sec. DSLR w/ 300mm lens on a tripod

I release my shutter at the sound of the launch whhomp! If your camera is finished before the firework explodes and it blossoms to its full glory increase your shutter speed a bit.  Or if the firework is finished before your camera is decrease your shutter speed.  It’s a balance of timing and settings.  Within the first few fireworks you should be able to find the sweet spot of settings then you can shoot and enjoy the show.

I am planning to photograph the fireworks tonight with some friends. I hope you get out with your camera too! 😊

I hope this helps and if it does please post some photos, and tell us about your experience on your blog or photo sharing site,  then please share link here in the comments so I and others can see your images too!

I hope all my friends in the USA have a Happy Independence Day!

Cameras Nikon D700, and D300s.

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wordless Wed. 51/52 S.F. Skyline from Treasure Is. (Christmastime!2 images)

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Christmas Lights San Francisco Skyline from Treasure Is

TransAmerica Bldg SF Christmas time

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 50mm & 200-500mm @200mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 16/52 Moonlit Upper Yosemite Fall

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Upper Yosemite Fall by Moonlight

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24-70mm| Hoodman Digital Film\PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

After Dark…

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went out with one of my photography groups to do a little night photography Saturday evening.

After the sun went down Middle Harbor Shoreline’s park security drove by announcing the park was closed it was time to leave so, several of us headed to another park that stayed opened a few hours longer.  This is one image I made while waiting for the Crescent Moon to sink lower into the city skyline.

Bay Bridge East Span Pedestrian Bicycle Path

What you’re looking at is the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Bridge East Span Pedestrian-Bicycle path in front, mid ground are the tops of the Bay Bridge, and behind that are the two new high rises in the process of being built. The tallest is the new Salesforce Tower. It will be the tallest building in San Francisco, and will be the second tallest building west of the Mississippi when complete.  At its completion it will stand 1,070 ft (326 m) tall and be the center piece of the Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.

The Wilshire Grand Center building located in Los Angeles is the tallest skyscraper in California.

The other skyscraper you see with cranes is going to be the new Transbay Tower…I think.

Someone let me know if I’m wrong please.

Over on the right by itself is the Trans America Building; a shining beacon in the night.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 80-200mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC2017

More to come…

Trailhead to the Stars

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last night I met Gordon, and some other friends in a Meet-Up group we’re in up on Mt. Tamilpias in Marin County to photograph the sunset, and then image the night sky.

There was an Astrology lecture in the Amphitheater so the park was open much later than it normally is which allowed us to stay late. YEAH! Normally the park closes a bit after sunset.

This is 74 frames stacked in PS CC 2015.5.

My settings were f2.2| 30seconds ea.| ISO 320| Manual Priority| Tripod|

Star Trails

4 planes, and one shooting star flew through the sky while I was imaging. I didn’t see the shooting star at the time as I was looking away helping a friend with her settings and intervalometer. I was thrilled to see I caught it on film though.

It was a lovely night, not windy, or cold, and the company was great!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film

More to come…

 

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While watching the night sky for Perseid Meteors Friday night I shot just under 300 frames. In all those frames I only managed to photograph 3 meteors! The rest that I saw were over my head or just out of the frame.

What to do with all those frames of stars? Stack them to make a Star Trail image is one thing.

Passing car headlights, other star gazers using their flashlights, and headlamps…maybe my own red headlamp too unintentionally light painted the trees, and foreground bushes for me.

Star Trails with Perseid Meteor

If I get a chance to photograph the Perseids or any other meteor showers this year or next I’ll use my 16mm Fisheye lens to get more sky in my frame.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| composite of 24 frames @ f/2.8| 26seconds ea| ISO 1600| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

more to come…

 

Radio City Music Hall

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

One of the iconic NYC buildings that I’ve always wanted to see is Radio City Music Hall.

We passed it while on the Big Bus Tour during the day, and it wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined, I knew it would look better at night.

We had tickets to see Wicked that night so, planning ahead I packed my tripod in order to stop on the way back after the play to take a photograph of Radio City Music Hall.

The NYU Arts & Science class of 2016 had their Baccalaureate Ceremony there earlier in the day. Everywhere you looked there were purple robes, and caps.  I didn’t get one good image of that though. 😦

Radio City Music Hall

It does look much better at night.

For the history buffs-

“Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue located in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Its nickname is the Showplace of the Nation, and it was for a time the leading tourist destination in the city. Its interior was declared a city landmark in 1978.

The Music Hall opened to the public on December 27, 1932 with a lavish stage show featuring Ray Bolger, Doc Rockwelland Martha Graham. The opening was meant to be a return to high-class variety entertainment. The new format was not a success. The program was very long, and individual acts were lost in the cavernous hall. On January 11, 1933, the Music Hall converted to the then-familiar format of a feature film, with a spectacular stage show perfected by Rothafel at the Roxy Theatre in New York City. The first film shown on the giant screen was Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen, starring Barbara Stanwyck, and the Music Hall became the premiere showcase for films from the RKO-Radio Studio. The film-plus-stage-spectacle format continued at the Music Hall until 1979, with four complete performances presented every day.

By the 1970s, changes in film distribution made it difficult for Radio City to secure exclusive bookings of many films; furthermore, the theater preferred to show only G-rated movies, which further limited their film choices as the decade wore on.[4] Regular film showings at Radio City ended in 1979. Plans were made to convert the theater into office space, but a combination of preservation and commercial interests (including an irate commentary on Saturday Night Lives Weekend Update given by John Belushi) resulted in the preservation of Radio City and in 1980, after a renovation, it reopened to the public.

Radio City Music Hall is currently leased to and managed by The Madison Square Garden Company[5] Movie premieres and feature runs have occasionally taken place there such as the Harry Potter film series, but the focus of the theater throughout the year is now on concerts and live stage shows. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular continues to be an important annual event (see below). The Music Hall has presented most of the leading pop and rock performers of the last 30 years, as well as televised events including the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the Daytime Emmy Awards the MTV Video Music Awards, and the NFL Draft. Starting in 2013, however, the Tony Awards will be the only major televised awards ceremony at Radio City, as the Video Music Awards relocated permanently to the Barclays Center that year. (The Grammys which alternated between New York City and Hollywood, has been held since 2004 in Los Angeles, as have the Daytime Emmys, off and on, since 2006.)”~Wiki-pedia

I had no idea it had a nickname! I am curious to see what it looks like inside. Perhaps one day I’ll get that opportunity.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm| Delkin Digital Film| Tripod

More to come…