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Thread: Slr

  1. #1
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    Default Slr

    I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT and I've tried to photograph my shows for the past 2 years to no avail. Everything I've tried that I've read online doesn't seem to help. I either get extremely blurry pictures, or over exposed pictures where a roman pearl looks like a peony break...

    I'm using a tripod and I even got a wireless remote for this past July...It seems that digital point and shoot cameras perform better than my $1400 toy...(I bought it when the camera first hit the market).

    Does anyone have any experience with shooting their shows with an SLR and do you have ANY advice...

  2. #2
    Moderator Array lava's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slr

    Quote Originally Posted by ksuechuc View Post
    ...I either get extremely blurry pictures...
    The first thing that comes to mind is that you did not turn off "auto focus". But I would presume you already covered that base, correct?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Slr

    The best way to take fireworks photo's using an SLR is to do the following:

    Camera set to manual exposure or bulb setting and Focusing set to manual and infinity,
    Aperture set as small as it will go (F22)
    Tripod and remote shutter release.
    Lens set the the proper angle (zoomed to fill the frame)

    Lock the shutter open and use a black card to hold in front of the lens removing it for each burst you want to photograph. Count 6 seconds for each burst until you have 30 seconds total on that frame. you should have 5 breaks per picture this way with enough light to illuminate the surroundings. If you only want one or two breaks per frame then you'll have to open the shutter up a little more. I've used this method many times and have won photo contests this way. Give that a try and see how it turns out.

    One thing you may have to do is place a piece of black tape over the eye piece as I think the Digital Rebel camera has a sensor to see if you are looking through the eye piece which may be causing your focusing issues in AF mode.
    Last edited by p40whk; July 24th, 2008 at 06:30 AM.
    Single handedly trying to stimulate the economy by purchasing more fireworks than I can afford!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Slr

    We can take this offline via e-mail or PM. I have been doing photography for well over a decade, and using the Canon EOS 10D since it came out.

    You do not want to use the smallest aperture. That can increase distortion and may not yeild the best pictures.

    Bulb setting is also not necessary (and is not available in this series of cameras).

    You DO need a sturdy tripod and should use a shutter release (there's an electronic one available for Canon but not sure if the Rebel supports it. There is a way around that by using the delay timer for taking the pics.

    What I *generally* do (varies on the setting and what look I am trying for)...

    Use a tripod
    Set camera around f/13 @ ISO 100
    ...stop down further for longer exposures, brighter effects, or brighter ambient conditions such as moon or local lights.
    ...open up to as much as f/8 for dimmer effects (willows?)
    Make sure lens is clean/clear
    Set exposure duration between .5 and 5 seconds (general guide - experiment).
    Set timer function if you lack a remote shutter control.
    Take the pic. The timer gives the camera a few seconds to settle down after you press the shutter button before it actually takes the pic - resulting in a clearer image.

    Actual exposure seems to vary from camera to camera and lens to lens. The nice thing with digital is you can review your EXIF data and see what combination of settings worked best for your equipment.

    Now, another tick is to bring a piece of black matboard, cardboard or paper. Set the camera for longer exposures (several seconds +) and cover the lense (without touching the camera) with the board. Take the pic, but wait a second before moving the board out of the way. This gives the camera a moment to settle down from the shutter shake to give even crisper images.

    For very long exposures, block and unblock the lens at various points to get very unique looking images.
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  5. #5
    Member Array p40whk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slr

    Not to get into a "who's been doing this longer" debate Mike but I have to disagree with some of the things you say. First off, I have a Digital Rebel XTi and it does have a bulb setting. The 10D being an older model may not have had this but the Digital Rebels do.

    As far as distortion increasing with a smaller aperture, maybe you misunderstood me but the higher the F-stop, the greater the depth of field so more will be in focus at varying depths. Distortion is directly related to the curvature of the lens and amount of zoom and or wide angle you are using, not the amount of light you're letting in which is controlled by the F-stop. You already said to "stop down for longer exposures" and I was recommending a total exposure of 30 seconds at F22 which is only a stop and a half down from F13.

    Everyone has their own way of shooting and you may have good luck with how you do it. I have over 30 years of photographic experience and education in the field and in the darkroom and was taught differently.
    Single handedly trying to stimulate the economy by purchasing more fireworks than I can afford!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Slr

    Quote Originally Posted by p40whk View Post
    Not to get into a "who's been doing this longer" debate Mike but I have to disagree with some of the things you say. First off, I have a Digital Rebel XTi and it does have a bulb setting. The 10D being an older model may not have had this but the Digital Rebels do.

    As far as distortion increasing with a smaller aperture, maybe you misunderstood me but the higher the F-stop, the greater the depth of field so more will be in focus at varying depths. Distortion is directly related to the curvature of the lens and amount of zoom and or wide angle you are using, not the amount of light you're letting in which is controlled by the F-stop. You already said to "stop down for longer exposures" and I was recommending a total exposure of 30 seconds at F22 which is only a stop and a half down from F13.

    Everyone has their own way of shooting and you may have good luck with how you do it. I have over 30 years of photographic experience and education in the field and in the darkroom and was taught differently.

    As for "bulb", I mentioned I was not sure about the XTi. The older Rebel did not have this feature. It does drain the batter on digital cameras. If the camera lacks a mirror lock-up function (the Canon models with it require accessing it via the functions menu) you can get shutter-shake.

    Sorry, but you misunderstand what I am explaining so far as distortion which is why I offered to take this offline. I said "distortion" and not depth of field. There is a difference. This gets into the physics of the lens. Focus deals with the circle of confusion and apparent sharpness of an image. Distortion is loss of apparent sharpness for other reasons. In the case of stopping down too far you get optical effects due to light diffraction leading to a reduction of sharpness (resolution) independent of focus. All lenses have a "sweet spot", which generally falls around f/8 (for 35mm cameras).

    And you are right...how long someone does something is meaningless...
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Slr

    All of these photos were taken by my wife at TOTP last fall with a Canon Digital Rebel XT with the following settings:

    http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...user/3263/sl/p

    ISO 100
    aperature f16
    Bulb setting using wired shutter control

    The tripod was not the most stable tripod avaliable, but worked pretty well.

    she has played with changing aperature and iso speed based on different effects, for general shooting she likes these settings.

    EDIT: I stand corrected these were not all at TOTP, but a bunch of different events
    Here are photos from TOTP:
    http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...ry.php?cat=702
    I'm not picky, if it has a fuse, I'll Light it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Slr

    Here's what I have previously posted to my gallery:

    http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...e/1/ppuser/873

    unfortunately, I haven't had as many opportunities to photograph fireworks since getting more involved in shooting them...kind of ironic. That will change next month....YEAH PGI!!
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Slr

    I too have the same Canon Rebel XT camera and get great results.

    As others have said here...

    Use a tripod. Use a remote(wired or wireless shutter trigger)
    Put camera in MANUAL Focus mode.
    Preview the focus on a few fireworks to verify that you have things in focus.
    Turn the top dial on camera to "M" for manual mode.
    Rotate the wheel just above the sutter button till you see "bulb" displayed on the back menu screen, or a slow enough shutter speed to get the results you want.
    Choose an ISO of 100...I have used 200 & 400 and it works fine too,however the colors are not as good as they are at 100.
    You can adjust the F/stop(apperature) by pressing the Av button on the back of the camera, and then turning the top
    rotating wheel.
    Aim you camera to the right place in the sky and click away.
    After each picture, you can see the preview displayed to tell how you are doing. Make any adjustments in the duration of your shots that you need to get the results your looking for.

    I have many times been in a big hurry and just setup the camera in manual focus, manual shutter, and totally forgot about the F/stop and ISO, and still the pictures come out fine...just not with all the color saturation as you would like sometimes.

    Everyone else has posted great advice...I just tried to keep my 2 cents simple in hopes to make it easy.

    Goto my website and look in the photo gallery. All those pictures were taken of 1.4g fireworks with the Canon Rebel XT, Manual Focus, ISO 400(I forgot to change it to 100), F/stop 7.1(I forgot to change this too), Manual Shutter speed(bulb).

    Cheers,
    Last edited by nepyro; July 24th, 2008 at 12:12 PM. Reason: added reference

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Slr

    Use manual settings for focus and aperture and shutter time. You can chose settings for what you expect the dynamic image of a firework should look like, - The camera auto always bases its settings on the scene before.So the auto settings always are wrong for fireworks.

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