Fireworks _ Graduated ND filter?

eoren1eoren1 Registered Users Posts: 2,391 Major grins
edited June 22, 2013 in Technique
Just wondering if anyone has tried to use graduated ND filters when shooting fireworks. I have found that my favorite shots of fireworks include spectators and other foreground subjects. It would be great to balance the light between the explosions and people - especially in that critical first few volleys as the sun sets.
If you have used them, did you use a hard/soft ND? Which strength would you suggest?


  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,679 moderator
    edited June 21, 2013
    I have never used GNDs for fireworks, so I cannot verify they are helpful or not.

    One thing you can do is use your hat. What I mean by use your hat, is that the exposures for fireworks tends to be long - 5, to 15, to even 30 seconds long. One can cover the lower 1/2 or the upper 1/2 of the image frame with a dark object to decrease the light from that portion of the image. Kind of like a GND, kind of like dodging and burning in the darkroom, only actually done on the image sensor itself.

    Sometimes you can set the shutter on bulb, and just cover the lens front with a dark hat, when you do not have anything to photograph at that moment. Simple, and easy to overlook, but can be effective when shooting in the dark.

    Try ISO 100, f8 or f5.6, and shutter open for 5 - 15 seconds and see what you get. One could always paint the foreground with a flash light as well.

    Do not shoot from a bridge surface, as the bridge will move as traffic rolls across it. DNAMHIK mwink.gif
    Pathfinder -

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • eoren1eoren1 Registered Users Posts: 2,391 Major grins
    edited June 22, 2013
    Thanks Pathfinder

    I have had some good success with past shows (even more so with improvements in Lightroom) but was thinking a GND might help with the balance.

    Can't direct link to the post but here are my past shots:

    I'll go hunt a bit more for use of GND and fireworks if no one else has first hand experience

    Thanks again

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