Monthly Archives July 2009


With the 4th of July coming up tomorrow (The 4th is Independance Day in the US, and we celebrate with Fireworks), I thought I’d run a quick blurb from Vol. 1 of my book, The Digital Photography Book on how to shoot Fireworks (like I did last year around this time). Here ya go:

You’ll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you’re going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you’re really after.

Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because you’ll need to see the rocket’s trajectory to know when to push the shutter button—if you’re looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.

Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.

Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and you’re good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

TIP: If your camera has “Bulb” mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great–hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timing—because now you’ve got the exposure and sharpness covered.

Here’s wishing you all a safe and happy fourth, and I hope you capture some great images this year!

Friend of the blog Richard Rabinowitz (former Publisher of Popular Photography and American Photo) turned me onto this very cool time lapse video from photographer Jill Enfield that is really going to strike a chord with anyone who has ever developed their own film. But beyond that, this two minute video is just darn cool, and seeing the process unfold in front of your eyes is almost as fascinating as the portrait she creates.

I’ve embedded the video below, but also make sure you visit Jill’s Website to see some very engaging, thoughtful fine art work.


My buddy and Lightroom guru Matt Kloskowski is taking our “Lightroom 2 Live!” one-day seminar tour to:

  1. Chicago on Monday, July 20th
  2. New York City on Wed., July 22nd.

Matt absolutely kicks butt on this tour, and if you get a chance to catch him live—don’t miss it!!!!

Here’s the link with more details (By the NAPP: If you’re a NAPP member, you can attend for only $79. If you’re not a member, it’s still just $99).

Also, you can download the tour brochure (in PDF format) right here.


…..I was surprised how much, in person, it looks like a calendar. I thought the sprial binding would be cool, especially because the photo book would sit nice and flat, but I have to tell you, most everyone that saw it made the mention that it kind of looks like a calendar.

On screen it really didn’t have that feel, but it really did in person. That being said; the print job was just great, and the paper was very nice and thick and really reproduced the photos well, but at the end of the day, I think I’ll reorder it as a standard softcover book (by the way; I much prefer the soft-cover books to the hard cover ones. They have a much less “consumery feel” to them).

So, that’s my first take on the spiral bound Apple iPhoto books. They have their advantages, but I just can’t get past that “it looks like a calendar rather than a photo book” thing.

Hi Gang:
I wasn’t able to get the completed post for this week’s guest blogger in time for posting, so unfortunately today will be “Unexpected No-Guest-Blog” Wednesday.

I realized this might be the case yesterday on “The Day Before What Could Well Be Unexpected No-Guest-Blog” Wednesday, so that’s why I didn’t announce the guest blogger in advance, like usual.

Hope you have a great July 1st nonetheless, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for “The Day After Unexpected No Guest Blog” Thursday.