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Fireworks over Rutland 2014

By Stevecarr2010    
iso 100
Looking for tips on composing the shot when shooting fireworks etc

Tags: Fireworks Fireworks display Flash and lighting


banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4046 Canada
2 Nov 2014 3:26PM
Its a good shot.


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dudler Plus
16 973 1536 England
2 Nov 2014 5:07PM
The rules of composition don't change at all for fireworks: the problem is that you don't know where things are going to go...

This works pretty well as it is, and you have done the thing that matters - shooting with a wider field of view than you actually need in the finished result. That allows you to crop in, and compose the picture more formally - mod coming, with the "Thirds" rule followed...
2 Nov 2014 5:42PM
Thank you Dudler.
2 Nov 2014 6:41PM
Also appreciate the Mod Dudler thank you
dudler Plus
16 973 1536 England
2 Nov 2014 9:09PM
Thanks for the response, Steve: it always makes us feel valued on the Critique Team when someone takes the time to respond!
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
2 Nov 2014 9:57PM
I think fireworks make there own rules. Fill thd frame with plenty of action and some will work, some will not.

Leave that logo off. The brightest highlight and an eye puller which could be cloned off in a second.

2 Nov 2014 10:14PM
Cheers for that Paul
pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2096 United Kingdom
2 Nov 2014 11:20PM
Hi, Steve, the important thing is that you got a good sharp shot and that you left lots of space around the burst so that you could consider your composition later. Fireworks are unpredictable, so this is the best option. There's nothing worse than getting home to find you have missed off parts of the display and won't be able to repeat the shot.

In most cases it's best to turn your camera on its side so the photo is in portrait format, to capture the long trails left by the firework as it climbs to the spot where it explodes.
Many try and fail to photograph the beauty of fireworks. You succeeded. Your timing was perfect.

Your camera settings look good....low ISO, slow shutter speed, no exposure compensation, and a middling aperture.

Your question is about composition. There are several options.
The first thing to consider is leaving space all around your burst.
The second thing to consider is whether you want the burst central in the frame or offset, which is always more pleasing to the eye.
The third thing to consider is more space at the top, which I think looks good because it gives us an idea of an expanse of sky and room above your burst suggests that it has even more space to move into. Never let it be cramped, give it room to breathe.

If you have a completely black sky background, the sky is your limit (sorry about the pun). You can rotate the burst, move it around, add canvas, crop or do whatever you want.
There is a bit of smoke in the bottom right which, if removed, gives you an ideal subject to play with. Fortunately, you avoided getting too much smoke around your subject.
Your burst isn't starting from the frame edge, so you can easily crop the bottom so that it does.

Fireworks lend themselves very readily to a Levels adjustment, to completely darken the sky, take away smoke, and render your background clean. It also helps the burst stand out well from the background, and a bit of sharpening makes it glow. A slight increase in saturation brings out the colours, too. I have done all of this in my modification.

It's good to have a little slant to your subject, rather than having it go straight up in the frame, but that's a personal choice. You do have a slight slant, but I have exaggerated it in my second modification, rotating it and adding a bit more at the bottom.

In a lot of ways, a firework burst can be considered to be somewhat like a flower when it comes to composition. That's the way I see it, anyway.

Now that you are accomplished in this field, you might consider including some context....people, structures, etc. for some foreground interest. It will usually be dark enough not to be a distraction from your fireworks. Working with a body of water can be very impressive when you get the burst reflected in it.


PS: I noticed that John has enhanced the colours nicely. I didn't go that far, but his mod looks good. It occurs to me that I might have DEsaturated by mistake, instead of going the other way. Doh!

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