Photographing light show and fireworks

edited May 2017 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Loving the website and youtube videos. I am all the way from Australia, down under, and this is my first time posting. I am going on a trip to Sydney next month to Vivid, which is a light show all around the city, lights and pictures projected onto the Sydney Opera House and buildings etc. I'm a little lost as to what lens I would use. I have the kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6. Which lens is going to suit me best? I was considering purchasing a wide angle lens. Just trying to get my head around this before I go so I can get the best pictures out of the experience. Thank you


  • What was your experience with using those two lenses?
  • It may depend a bit on where you stand, but you will want a fairly wide angle for this, I think. Sydney Harbour is pretty wide, and along with the opera house you will likely want to get the bridge and some other waterfront. That's assuming you're not on the bridge already. Unfortunately the best deal in a WA lens for DX Nikons, the 10-20 P, is absolutely not compatible with the D3200, as it cannot focus at all. If you're in the mood for a wider angle, your best bet might be from Sigma, which makes a 10-20 that should work, and which sometimes comes on sale. It's still not cheap, but seems to have a decent reputation. That range should work pretty nicely for a big city-wide fireworks show.

    For other wide angles, you can stitch shots, but you can't really do that with fireworks. So I'd suggest you take the 18-55 as your main lens, make sure you have a good tripod, and go for it.

    A hint for shooting night scenes in the city. If you rely on auto exposure alone, you're likely to serious over-expose, getting washed-out blacks and blown lights. Experiment ahead of time if you can, and expect to compensate very much in the - direction, Especially if you're doing time exposures for fireworks that you should go to -4 or more. It depends a lot on how much other light is seen, and on how long you leave the shutter open.
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