The Lumix G9 with Leica DG 100-400mm lens was set upon a tripod and made mostly worry free for the duration of the show. Since I was making decisions on the other cameras. (see Part one Fireworks set-up – Part two Olympus LiveComp Mode) I was looking to get images on the G9 without doing anything other than making sure the fireworks were framed properly.
Blended images Photoshop
Once the files were downloaded I culled the empty frames and the ‘less than stellar’ captures. Then I took multiple frames into Adobe Photoshop and combined some of the images. For best results I recommend the Screen Blend Mode. Put a mask on the file and use a black soft edge brush to remove the parts of the image that don’t add to the final look for which you are going.
Settings for this camera were 5 SEC f/11 ISO 200. In addition, the in camera time-lapse was invoked. A one-second break was added to allow the camera to reset between frames. I was making the images with still photos in mind. If I was creating a time-lapse movie the settings probably would have been more like a two second exposure to help explore and record the movement and to have enough frames for a longer movie. As it is after removing some frames I ended up with only 134 frames, which makes for a pretty short movie.
Let me know which frame rate you prefer and why if you get the chance.
The Olympus cameras now have a feature called LIVECOMP. This is short for live composite. You set a base exposure and then the camera repeats that exposure but only allows new light to be added. You get to view this as it is happening live, hence the name, which allows you to stop the exposure when you have gathered all the information you need.
Most current Olympus cameras have the feature. You’ll find Live Composite Mode in OM-D, PEN and TOUGH cameras.
If you need more time to capture the light effects of your scene and were to increase your exposure time the dark areas of your image would begin to become muddy and over exposed. It is definitely a specialty feature, but one that has some great uses. For example, keeping your frame exposed to catch lightning, car trails, carnival rides and fireworks. I’ll let you imagine the others but I’m going to share some settings and images made during the fireworks from the fourth of July.
F/14 4 SEC ISO 100
With the camera firmly mounted on a Fotopro Eagle E6L tripod I found the base exposure. I was looking to render the building lights and allow the fireworks to be against a dark sky. Knowing from past experience the fireworks would have time to streak in the sky showing the burst if they had about three to eight seconds ISO 100 @ f/8. I choose four seconds for my base exposure. Once I started seeing results on the camera back I made adjustments to the aperture to allow the fireworks to record just a bit more color and changing to f/11 then f/14.
Single frame capture
F/14 4 SEC ISO 100
Normally, to get multiple bursts in a single frame I combine images in post-production. With the LIVECOMP in play each image you see here was done in camera. The shutter was opened and recorded a four second exposure with the shutter still open additional four second exposures were recorded adding only the new bursts of light. When I saw enough bursts were captured I ended the exposure.
In the next fireworks post I’ll share settings for automatic recording of captures using the time-lapse mode of the Lumix G9.
My writing for the Successful-Photographer blog has been lagging a bit. I’ve been writing for many different publications including Photofocus.com and photography magazines. I’m sort of reminded of the story about the cobblers children having no shoes. Or, on an even more personal note, my dad was a TV repair man always off to help other folks get their sets tuned correctly when I didn’t know that other people in the world didn’t have a green cast. Kidding aside I want to get my home base back to work.
Start off with fireworks
And, what better way to get things going than to set this first new post off with some fireworks??
Four images combined in post production. Captured with Lumix GX85 and the G Vario 100-300mm f3.5-5.6 lens at 100mm. Exposure f/8 four sec at ISO 200
On July 4th Cottonwood, AZ, the next town over from Sedona had a fireworks display. And, in honor of the state of Covid-19 they used all aerial shells so people could spread out to enjoy the night of colors streaking across the sky.
It worked it very well. I’ll share some ideas on capturing your fireworks for next year with some new things I learned. (you may want to bookmark this page) I’ll share my set-up for using three cameras on this post. The next two posts will be on the Olympus LIVECOMP setting and making a time-lapse.
Three tripods set close together allows for different looks.
On to the set-up with three cameras mounted on tripods. Two were standard and I added a Joby Gorillapod with legs wrapped around one of the taller tripod legs.
Joby Gorilla tripod holds the Lumix GX85 camera
Two of the cameras were set for capturing five second exposures with a one second delay using the time lapse mode. Somehow one of the cameras got off its time-lapse mode and I ended up firing it by hand. The third camera was the Olympus E-M1 Mark III which was set to LIVECOMP mode which I’ll detail in the next post.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
Occasionally I'll send out a digest version of the blog posts on Successful-Photographer. I'm not a fan of Spam and I'm sure you are not. Your Email address is safe with me. Bob
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