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Paul Brock Photography
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2,108 followers
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couple of shots of yesterday's Embrace secret gig at Knebworth #sg22  
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2014-09-07
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2000 people have circled Paul Brock Photography now!  

Thanks everyone, great start to 2014!
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A couple of shots I took at the london eye on New Year's Eve. Happy New Year everyone!
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2014-01-02
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First chance to photograph fireworks in 2014 coming up - here's my guide...
How to Photograph Fireworks
So 4th July is just round the corner, which means you lucky Americans get a stack of fireworks to photograph.  If you've never tried before, I can heartily recommend it - it's one of my favourite subjects and pretty challenging.
(a few of mine here http://www.paulbrockphotography.co.uk/gallery/3540435 )

Here's how I do it:

- You need a tripod.  We're looking at long exposures here (around 5-10 seconds) and no matter how good you are at holding it steady, tripod wins.  Likewise remote shutter release - a cable one, not an IR one.  I find a cable release more responsive and timing is critical.
- Fully manual settings.  The light changes very rapidly in a display so the camera metering can't keep up.  I'm afraid you'll be doing all the work here.
- Shutter speed controls the composition.  Think car light trails.  The light moves across the frame, so the longer you leave the shutter open, the more of the trail you get.  What it doesn't change is the brightness of the light.  I shoot on Bulb setting so I control both when the shutter opens and when it closes.  Generally I want to capture a full 'salvo' of shells, but nothing of the next salvo.
- aperture controls the exposure.  Given shutter speed won't noticeably affect the brightness of the fireworks trails, your primary exposure control is the aperture.  I tend to start at around f8-f11 and go from there.  A long display will have sections of different brightness, so keep an eye on your shots and adjust aperture accordingly.  (Depth of field isn't a huge worry, as we've got a small aperture, a wide angle and a distant subject)
- ISO set to 100.  Its dark outside but fireworks are nice and bright, and even at f8-f11 they're bright without losing their colour.  No need for higher ISO and the noise associated with it.
- Manual focus.  Like the metering, cameras will struggle to keep up with the ever changing display.  Focus at or near infinity manually and leave it there.
- I like the colours from setting incandescent white balance.

As for framing, I like to shoot wide; it's great to get people or buildings in shot to show scale, and reflections in water look lovely.  Also bear in mind its far easier to be too close to a display than too far away.  I tend to go portrait to get the highest shells in but it will depend on the display; if there are several firing points spread out, landscape will work better if you can it all in!

It's good to try and build up a picture of the finished shot in your head as the display goes on - if there's alternately high shells then low shells (or left, then right), get both in one exposure, as long as they don't overlap too much.

Also you'll see some guides suggest that you go for really long exposures and in-between shells you cover the lens with a lens cap (or a hat) to stop the shot being overexposed.  I've never found this necessary, and most good displays don't have these big pauses which would make it useful, but might be something to try!

Post any tips or questions in the comments and be sure to share your photos afterwards!

edit: oh, and try to make sure the wind isn't blowing towards you.  Smoke builds up quickly and can make it very difficult to get good photographs.


#4thjuly   #photographytips  
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I'm excited to be offering Helpouts from launch on basic photography tuition.  Want to know how to get past 'Auto' on your new SLR?  Just ask. 

https://helpouts.google.com/104859346014137939134/ls/8b4a02b9d86ed2b1
Google launches Helpouts!

Google's eagerly awaited Helpouts was just officially announced! 

The idea is to use Google+ video hangouts for connecting people who need help with stuff with those who can provide it. The help takes place live and one-on-one. 

You can search for the kind of help you need, then choose who helps you based their fee, and also on qualifications, which you determine via ratings and reviews. 

From the helper side, the Helpouts system will launch a thousand small businesses, which people with skills can do from anywhere. 

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/introducing-helpouts-help-when-you-need.html
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happy halloween!
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Pyroartistry, the second team at southport fireworks last night.
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Display by komodo fireworks at southport
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