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Old 05-16-2013, 10:25 AM   #16
NJGuy3
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Thanks everyone for the advice, tips, info...much appreciated! I'll apply this during my next trip in September.
I made my first attempt at shooting Wishes, using tripod, remote shutter and in manual mode...wasn't to hapy with the results but feel it was just bad timing with bursts. Although, for some reason, I've done much better during past trips when shooting Illuminations.
And I usually make sure I see Wishes twice during a trip so that I can enjoy one show with my wife and without the camera! I'm fortunate that my wife tolerates my photo taking at Disney! lol
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:02 AM   #17
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Oh my gosh this is amazing advice!! I definitely need to fiddle with my camera before I go. That's interesting about everyone recommending a tripod, I'm okay with lugging around my camera and my lens (which is 55 250 mm for those who asked), but I don't think I have the strength to add a tripod on top of that. Especially mine, it's pretty clunky. Do you have recommendations for a more portable tripod? Or should I just try and balance it on objects; like trash cans or my little brother's head?
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Justplainmk View Post
Oh my gosh this is amazing advice!! I definitely need to fiddle with my camera before I go. That's interesting about everyone recommending a tripod, I'm okay with lugging around my camera and my lens (which is 55 250 mm for those who asked), but I don't think I have the strength to add a tripod on top of that. Especially mine, it's pretty clunky. Do you have recommendations for a more portable tripod? Or should I just try and balance it on objects; like trash cans or my little brother's head?
My best Firework pics are with a tripod.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:26 AM   #19
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Tripods don't have to be all that much harder to carry - get a fairly light one, and you can even uses it as a 'walking stick' when the legs are pushed together, you can sling it over your shoulder with the camera attached, or you can compact it all up and keep it in a bag.

Also, many of us who shoot often at Disney will just keep a tripod in a park locker rental - bring it in the morning, put it in the locker so you don't have to walk around with it all day, then at night when you're ready to shoot some fireworks or night shots, go get the tripod.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:33 PM   #20
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Alright I figured this would be the best place for my question...

I have had my rebel t3i for a number of years now, and the pictures I still struggle with our nighttime pictures. Either the flash is blinding or the picture is blurry and unfocused.

I am going to Disney World in a few weeks and would love some advice on nighttime photos, parade photos, fireworks photos, etc. Settings, angles, sample pictures, anything and everything appreciated!!
Lots of advice on fireworks has been offered (my best success has been with a tripod, bulb mode, and a remote trigger, just as others have suggested). To the rest of your question, I have a few recommendations for other shots.

First, turn off your flash. As you've noted, the built-in flash can give you some pretty harsh results. It's effective range isn't as far as you might think, and it isn't going to do anything for you if you're shooting something more than 4-5 yards away. If you have it turned on for shots that are beyond it's effective range, it's only going to mess up the camera's exposure calculations. With a little practice, you'll probably find that the T3i's sensor is good enough to achieve some really good pictures without the flash anyway.

Second, I recommend you check out your camera's shutter priority mode (Tv on the dial). In shutter priority mode, you tell the camera how long to leave the shutter open, and let it assign the correct aperture to properly expose the photo. This allows you to set a speed that you're personally able to hand-hold with minimal blurring due to camera shake. Do some experimenting before your trip to find the slowest shutter speed you can hand-hold without too much blur. Keep in mind that this setting will be a lot different based on the focal length. If you're really zoomed in, camera shake will have a much bigger impact than if you're taking a wider shot.

Next, set the ISO to auto. In Tv mode with ISO set to auto, if the camera can't open the aperture wide enough to properly expose the image, it will bump up the ISO until it can. As the ISO increases, though, so will the noise in the photo. Do some playing around before your trip to determine the highest level of noise you deem acceptable (keeping in mind that there is post-processing software that will be able to remove some noise). In your camera's menu, there's an option to set the upper limit for the highest ISO you want the auto ISO to use. It will prevent the camera from going into that ISO range you decided was too noisy. I think the default setting is 3200.

You'll need to keep an eye on the readouts in your viewfinder, because the kit lens is only going to take you so far. In Tv mode, if the aperture can't be opened any wider and the ISO can't be bumped any higher, the aperture number will blink in the display. This is an indication that the shot will be too dark, and that the camera can't make it any better given the settings you've restricted it to. (When you start getting too many of these occurances, it's when a f1.2 lens goes onto your wish list.)

Avoid zooming in. As I mentioned earlier, when you're zoomed in, camera shake will have more of an effect. Also, the kit lens you have is a variable aperture lens. The farther you zoom, the less light the lens is able to let in. Keep it wide, save using the highest quality file size possible (I always shoot in RAW, but a JPEG L also works), and crop in post if necessary.

Metering mode is also a consideration. Ask yourself if you're taking a shot of an evenly-lit scene, or if the brightness of the main subject differs widely from the brightness of its surroundings (e.g., a lighted Electric Water Pageant float in the middle of the pitch-black water)? This is almost a shot-by-shot decision. Do some playing around with the T3i's four different metering modes. The default, evaluative metering, won't always be the best choice -- especially at night.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:53 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Justplainmk View Post
Oh my gosh this is amazing advice!! I definitely need to fiddle with my camera before I go. That's interesting about everyone recommending a tripod, I'm okay with lugging around my camera and my lens (which is 55 250 mm for those who asked), but I don't think I have the strength to add a tripod on top of that. Especially mine, it's pretty clunky. Do you have recommendations for a more portable tripod? Or should I just try and balance it on objects; like trash cans or my little brother's head?
Gorillapod!!!
Granted, it's larger for a dSLR. But the gorillapod for my RX100... I was able to fit it in my pocket. Only shot Illuminations with it, just attached it to the railing.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:44 AM   #22
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Wishes Fireworks by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 2 second bulb shot, f/22, ISO 200, 18mm


Wishes Fireworks by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 1 second bulb shot, f/22, ISO 200, 57mm


Enjoying Illuminations by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 4 second bulb shot, f/22, ISO 320, 24mm


The World at Night - Moracco by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 2 second bulb shot, f/8, ISO 1000, 105mm


A glowing spaceship by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 1/60, f/4, ISO 3200, 35mm


Epcot Neon by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 1/60, f/4, ISO 3200, 60mm


Wishes from the Wilderness Lodge Boat by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
Hand-held on a resort boat, 1/13, f/4, ISO 5000, 32mm


Wishes from the Wilderness Lodge Boat by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
Hand-held on a resort boat, 1/13, f/4, ISO 5000, 32mm


Disney & Co by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
3-shot HDR, tripod

and one of my favorites...


Electric Umbrella lights by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
tripod, 1/60, f/4, ISO 3200, 35mm
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:37 AM   #23
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@BirdsOfPreyDave:

Pardon my curiosity but I noticed that in your last few non-fireworks tripod shots you had your ISO bumped all the way up to ISO 3200. You were also getting shutter speeds of 1/60 sec. Base ISO (ISO 100 for the 60D?) and longer exposures must have been possible with a tripod right?

Here's my latest post on flickr:

Fireworks Friday - Illuminations by Allen Castillo, on Flickr

Tripod, ND filter, Remote shutter. ISO 100. 34 seconds bulb mode. Manual focus at infinity. f/14

From my comment: I was actually sitting on the bench outside Mitsukoshi. I was trying to frame a shot with my UWA when I thought I could fill up the frame with my other zoom lens at 28mm. There was no cropping during post. This is probably one of those situations/locations where you can shoot fireworks while sitting down!
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:56 AM   #24
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@BirdsOfPreyDave:

Pardon my curiosity but I noticed that your in your last few non-fireworks tripod shots you had you ISO bumped all the way up to ISO 3200. You were also getting shutter speeds of 1/60 sec. Base ISO (ISO 100 for the 60D?) and longer exposures must have been possible with a tripod right?

Here's my latest post on flickr:

Fireworks Friday - Illuminations by Allen Castillo, on Flickr

Tripod, ND filter, Remote shutter. ISO 100. 32 seconds bulb mode. Manual focus at infinity. f/14

From my comment: I was actually sitting on the bench outside Mitsukoshi. I was trying to frame a shot with my UWA when I thought I could fill up the frame with my zoom at 28mm. There was no cropping during post. This is probably one of those situations/locations where you can shoot fireworks while sitting down!
Can I ask when u focused at infinity what did u use all the way out to focus on? I always have trouble with this. Do u need to pick the furthest point that u can lock focus on to achieve the sharpness with focusing to infinity?

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Old 05-17-2013, 08:05 AM   #25
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@BirdsOfPreyDave:

Pardon my curiosity but I noticed that your in your last few non-fireworks tripod shots you had you ISO bumped all the way up to ISO 3200. You were also getting shutter speeds of 1/60 sec. Base ISO (ISO 100 for the 60D?) and longer exposures must have been possible with a tripod right?
It's been more than a year, but I'll try to reconstruct. The fountain shot was the first of the series, which is probably when I made the concious decision not to have a long exposure because of the moving water. I'd either already put away my remote shutter and didn't want to dig it back out, didn't think to change the settings, or (more likely) was getting flack from my family to "hurry the heck up" when I paused to snap the Mouse Gear and Electric Umbrella shots. If I remember correctly, it was a very late night after Extra Magic Hours had ended, and we were all egar to get back to the resort and go to bed.

It might be worth experimenting with on my next trip, but I don't know how the bright neon would have worked with an extremely long exposure. I suspect it may have blown out, as did the signs on the buildings in this shot.


_MG_7036.jpg by BirdsOfPreyDave, on Flickr
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:38 AM   #26
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Python, you just keep hitting them out of the park. Awesome Illuminations shot!
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:14 AM   #27
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Can I ask when u focused at infinity what did u use all the way out to focus on? I always have trouble with this. Do u need to pick the furthest point that u can lock focus on to achieve the sharpness with focusing to infinity?
@jimim: When you rotate the focus ring on your lens all the way to the left or to the right (depending on your lens manufacturer) you should see the infinity marker (the sideways figure 8). For fireworks shots I just set my focus ring at that marker (or backed off slightly as Gianna'sPapa suggested). Anything from the hyperfocal distance of your lens to infinity will be acceptably sharp. (For my lens at 28 mm and f/14, anything from about 9 feet to infinity will be acceptably sharp).

@mom2rtk: Thanks for the kind words!
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:14 AM   #28
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@jimim: When you rotate the focus ring on your lens all the way the the left or to the right (depending on your lens manufacturer) you should see the infinity marker (the sideways figure 8). For fireworks shots I just set my focus ring at that marker (or backed off slightly as Gianna'sPapa suggested). Anyone can correct me on this: Anything from the hyperfocal distance of your lens to infinity will be acceptably sharp. (For my lens at 28 mm and f/14, anything from about 9 feet to infinity will be acceptably sharp).

@mom2rtk: Thanks for the kind words!
Yes, you are in the manual focus mode not Autofocus.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:18 PM   #29
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@jimim: When you rotate the focus ring on your lens all the way to the left or to the right (depending on your lens manufacturer) you should see the infinity marker (the sideways figure 8). For fireworks shots I just set my focus ring at that marker (or backed off slightly as Gianna'sPapa suggested). Anything from the hyperfocal distance of your lens to infinity will be acceptably sharp. (For my lens at 28 mm and f/14, anything from about 9 feet to infinity will be acceptably sharp).

@mom2rtk: Thanks for the kind words!
So u aren't actually focusing on anything then? I assume u r leaving ur focus point centered and in manual focus rotating like u said? I was trying to read on this the other day and I sounded like what I was reading said to pick the farthest thing in the distance that has some light so the camera can focus on it?

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Old 05-17-2013, 06:57 PM   #30
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So u aren't actually focusing on anything then? I assume u r leaving ur focus point centered and in manual focus rotating like u said? I was trying to read on this the other day and I sounded like what I was reading said to pick the farthest thing in the distance that has some light so the camera can focus on it?

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I'm thinking that if you pick something really far away and focus, it will be pretty darn close to infinity anyway.

It did feel strange the first time I did it that way and it turned out just fine.
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