2016 has been a fantastic year for me amidst its ups and downs. In this year, I’ve been re-introduced to photography that I really enjoyed ever since. With the ending of 2016, I’m also really looking forward entering 2017, trying to figure out what this year will bring to me. In terms of celebrating the new year, New Year’s Eve is not complete without its most anticipated and widely celebrated event, the fireworks. At the end of this year, I was celebrating the New Year’s Eve at St. James Mitchell Park, South Perth, watching the fireworks that have been shot from Crown Plaza.
I don’t have any fancy gears with me to capture this fascinating event. I only have my mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm X-T1, an entry level all-rounder prime lens the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens, as well as a classic Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8 with a Nikon AI to Fuji-X mount adapter. I don’t even have a tripod or a shutter remote which are essential in capturing low-light and long-exposure shots. As a result, I was forced to utilise every nearby objects and technique to maximise the long shutter speed shots, including using a bucket (yes, you read that right, a bucket!) as a complementary for a tripod.
In these long-exposure shots that I’ve taken, I used ‘safe and sharp’ apertures ranging from f/5.6 to f/9, kept the ISO at the lowest of 200 and used various shutter speed in between 15 to 30 seconds. Of course, these shots are terrible, they’re slightly out of focus and blurry. But at least I learned from my mistakes.
1) Tripod is absolutely important
A sturdy tripod ensures a sharp image even in a windy situation. Certainly, my bucket can’t hold my camera steadily enough and the strong wind alongside the Swan River shook my camera and made the images out of focus, not sharp and crisp like I desired.
2) Use a remote or shutter release
Using a wi-fi remote available on the Fujifilm smartphone app is an easy and cheap alternative for an external remote. If setting wi-fi connection is a little bit tricky and time-consuming (which I really felt exactly that way), a 2-second self-timer could be a replacement, even though you might miss some of the glorious moments.
3) Always check your lens focus
Using auto or manual focus to shoot fireworks could be both tricky. One of the best ways that I’ve learned is using manual instead of auto focus. Because of fireworks will be located pretty far from where we standing and capturing pictures, setting focus just before infinity ensures a better result.