by Derek K. Miller
Posted 5 August 2002
My band, The Neurotics, played at the 2002 Celebration of Light fireworks competition in Vancouver. On Saturday, August 3 (the second of four nights), Canada presented, and I took these pictures of the event. They appear in chronological order.
Click any photo to see a larger version.
I took the images with my Konica Digital Revio KD-300Z 3.3-megapixel digital camera, and wrangled them for the Web with Apple Computer's iPhoto software and Bare Bones Software's BBEdit.
To take these pictures, I did as much manual adjusting as my point-and-shoot digital camera allows, which is a fair bit. Aperture and shutter speed were both set manually, and I left the ISO film speed at 100 (the slowest at least grainy -- higher speeds have noisier images in digital cameras).
I put the camera on my folding mini-tripod, positioned on its side, at maximum quality "[S]uper-fine" JPEG 3.3 megapixel resolution (2048x1536 pixels, about 95% quality). I set it to Landscape mode (i.e. distant-only autofocus, effectively infinity anyway), flash off (duh), f6.2 aperture (the maximum I can set, but it was really a bit smaller because I was zoomed in some), and long exposure, either 4 seconds fixed or 8 seconds fixed, depending on my judgment of how bright the fireworks were at the moment. (Some of the shots I didn't post were either under- or over-exposed because of poor guessing. Even a few that are there are a tad over-exposed, but they look good anyway.)
I put a 2-second self-timer on each shot to minimize shake after I pressed the button. Then I just fired and fired and fired, about once every 15-20 seconds. Most of the shots turned out great, and are as you see them. I didn't do any adjusting except for the cropping to frame them nicely and make them small for the Web. Most of the shots are cropped in from the full frame, but there were enough pixels that it didn't matter.
In other words, it really helped that I've had 20 years of working with regular SLR cameras that have full-manual controls, so I knew roughly what to do and how to do it.