You Will Need
SPARKLERS (GOOD ONES!)
BUCKET OF WATER
We all treat sparklers with a certain amount of disdain, as they are considered to be the ‘least pyro-esque’ item in most firework shop ranges. Indeed, they are frequently given free or form part of the ‘afterthought’ process … you know the one, the order arrives on the trolley and the customer will then check out the purchases on the pile before the inevitable ‘Do you do sparklers?’ comes. But in reality, they are a beautiful addition to any occasion whether fireworks are there or not.
Over the last couple of years, Sparklers have been introduced into Wedding celebrations but one of our favorite uses is for ‘Sparkler Art’.
Pop the camera on the tripod and pick your spot in front of the camera (it helps to establish your position whilst there is enough daylight
Set the camera up: set the aperture to F8 and the exposure time to 25-30 seconds for best results
Dumbing down, especially for techo-phobes like ‘moi’, the exposure is set to 25-30 seconds and this is your ‘drawing time’ where everything done in front of the camera will form the final image. You can avoid a ‘tail’ or ‘trail’ on your image if you just continue to overdraw until the click if the shutter. One other tip, if you are writing your name, you need to do this backwards.
Sparkler art is only really limited by your imagination – check some out from the internet:
We absolutely love sparkler art and have tried a couple of times with our point and shoot camera’s without much success, but having bought my hubby a Fuji Finepix S9500 for Christmas, we are only a few steps away from capturing some brilliant shots so we will keep you updated as this might be a project for the weekend.
Give it a try and we will feature the images on our website/FB page.
As the above image shows, provided you have the right camera setting, a great backdrop and of course some decent sparklers, you are ready.
The exciting thing about sparkler art is that the only thing holding you back is your own imagination.
To capture the image, professionals recommend that you should use the slowest speed to offer the longest light exposure available on the camera as this will enable you to take brilliant shots.
Set up on a tripod to avoid ‘wobble’ and setting F8 and 25-30 second exposure to start with and see how you go on.
Art is all about experimentation and this proves that a little patience and some skill can certainly give you perfect results if you keep trying.
The good thing about using this medium is that provided you have a good few sparklers, all the family (please ensure that all users are over 5-years of age) and they have some imagination, you are going to have a fabulous time and sometimes it’s the more obscure things that are the most effective.
The long exposure time is your ‘drawing’ time and the camera will capture anything which is done in the interim period and burn it onto the image you will end up with. I would recommend that you have a couple of practice runs beforehand to get the angles etc right but if you do produce some, we would really appreciate it if you could let us see them.
Fireworks must be one of the most beautiful things to see but when it comes to taking pictures of fireworks, it’s very much a game of point, shoot and hope for the best unless you have a few tips and hints to help you to capture ‘the perfect shot’.
Whilst firework photography is a challenge there are certainly steps that can be taken to help to improve your chances. Check them out:
Some android and iPhones have a burst option by simply depressing the shutter and holding it down, it will take the worry out missing the shot.
It’s always a good idea to leave as much space as possible on your phone so before you visit your fireworks show – more memory, more photographs.
Try to get some perspective into your frame so if there is a person, a tree or a building in the background.
Hold your camera as steady as possible – best to use a tripod or something to rest on to avoid camera shake.
Take multiple shots at the early stages of the show and you should be well on track for the finale – just remember, the more shots you take the better chance of getting ‘the one’.
Don’t use the zoom, it’s pointless and will only use more memory and moving around constantly just affects the quality of the image. The zoom on a phone camera is simply to enlarge not to bring things closer to you and will automatically affect the quality.
On an iPhone, we recommend that you use the slow shutter cam – this is particularly useful when photographing sparklers as they allow time for the full image to be ‘burnt’ on. There is also a ‘fast camera’ which will take up to 800 shots a minute which is brilliant once you have ‘set up’ the camera for the display.
On some android phones, there are features like the night camera which helps to take photo’s in low light and a fast burst camera which will help to take over 30 frames per second (up to 1800 shots in a minute).
Avoid street lights as they will ruin your shots.
Position yourself so that the fireworks are in front of you and not above you.
If you take the time to get to know the full functionality of the camera facility on your phone (I know it’s a radical concept but you could even consider referring to the user-guide/instructions!). Knowledge is power so learn all you can.
Here are some fantastic shots taken from a camera phone and just remember, if all else fails, video is brilliant…..just hit play below!