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Fire Away! Part 2: How to Photograph Fireworks Using Various Lomo Cameras

Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to photograph firework displays using the following Lomo cameras: La Sardina, Diana F+, Diana Mini, Sprocket Rocket, Holga, Fisheye No.2, and Lubitel 166.

Fireworks and Lomography go perfectly together, because you can have lots of analogue fun with techniques like multiple exposure, colour filter effects and cross processing.

These photographs taken by Lomographers are proof that you can capture some interesting images of fireworks using Lomo cameras!

Photographs of fireworks taken with a Holga, Diana F+, Lubitel 166+, Fisheye No.2 and LC-A+:

So, here is a quick step-by-step guide to get you started photographing fireworks using some popular Lomo cameras. Remember that films, cameras, and even fireworks can vary greatly, so you need to be armed with the experimental spirit inherent in every Lomographer!

Equipment:

The basics of what you’ll need:

  • A Lomo camera (recommended: La Sardina, Diana F+, Diana Mini, Sprocket Rocket, Holga, Fisheye No.2, Lubitel 166)
  • Rolls of films (ISO 100 or 200)
  • A sturdy tripod
  • Cable release (useful but not essential)

Preparation:

  • Location scout: find a place where you can get a good clear view of the fireworks display. If you want a dynamic shot, try and get as close as you can (but remember to keep within a safety distance!).
  • Setting up: load the camera with a new roll of film, attach a cable release (if applicable) and mount it on a tripod. Set up the camera(s) as follows:
    Sprocket Rocket, Diana Mini: adjust the aperture setting to ‘cloudy’.
    Holga, Fisheye no.2, La Sardina, Diana F+: select ‘B’ shutter setting.
    Lubitel 166: select ‘B’ shutter speed, at aperture F8.
  • Wind on the film, focus at infinity and beyond, then you are ready for blast off!

Catch the action!

  • When the firework display starts, check the composition of the first few bursts of fireworks, frame the shot and point the camera at the right angle in the sky.
  • Keep one eye in the camera’s viewfinder, and another on the scene in front of you. Press the cable release or shutter button as soon a firework appears in the frame. Keep the shutter pressed down until it has fully exploded (as a very rough guide, for a shot with the firework filling the entire frame, about 5-second or so shutter speed). As the firework fades away, release the button to close the shutter.
  • That’s it! Wind the film, repeat and try again!

Have you got any good shots of fireworks captured with the cameras mentioned above? Or do you have any insights into photographing fireworks using other Lomo cameras? Please let us know!

Interested in knowing more? This article is part of a three-part ‘masterclass’ on photographing fireworks.

Don’t forget to check out:

Up Next: Part 3: Ten On-Location Tips for Photographing Firework Displays

written by digitaljunk

13 comments

  1. superlighter

    superlighter

    for the LC-A and LC-A+ you should cover the automatic exposure light sensor to control the exposure time or try turning down the ISO sensitivity to 25 otherwise the shutter shut off before the firework fade away.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. mafiosa

    mafiosa

    Thanks for referencing one of my photos :)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. digitaljunk

    @superlighter
    Hey, thanks for your suggestions. I like your tip of covering up the light meter, I will play with that on my LC-A!

    It’s worth keeping in mind that in dark shoots, cameras on automatic exposure will open the aperture at its widest (F2.8 for LC-A and LC-A+, not F8). So in this case, leaving the shutter open till the firework fades away could end up with over exposed shots. That was why, in the part 1 article, I suggested that for cameras without B or T settings, to only press the shutter button just before the firework is fully developed and at its brightest. Then let the automatic exposure do its thing.

    Thanks for your comment. Something to think about and try out!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. digitaljunk

    @mafiosa
    You are welcome, it’s a beautiful shot! I trawled the website for nice shots of fireworks from the Lomo community to help illustrate the articles (so I am not always referencing my own!). Yours were among my favourites! Thank you for your wonderful shots. (By the way, there will be a further reference in part 3.)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. superlighter

    superlighter

    I just remember one trick for the LC-A (only), Take a new set of batteries, insert the batteries backwards, now you can select the aperure you want and keep the shutter pressed for the desired time! the disadvantage is that the batteries run down very quickly but it work! Remember! this metod only work with the original LC-A and not with the LC-A+ and with fresh batteries!.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. superkulisap

    superkulisap

    @digitaljunk here's a tipster on how to get the job done in LC-A+ http://www.lomograph(…)light-meter

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. digitaljunk

    Thanks @superlighter for the additional tip!
    I tried it and it works with my LC-A :-D

    I also found the original post in the archive, if anybody wants to refer to the video in the link: http://www.lomograph(…)re-for-lc-a

    @superkulisap thanks for the link for the LC-A+. Simple trick, effective result!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. digitaljunk

    @ugoreyresprocket, @ronyraymon, @klaryssa, @jenbaron, @lomofish, @veracorreia, @jochan, @mafiosa, @hlphuonglinh, @hxloon, @minchi, @ vicker313, @superlighter and @superkulisap

    Thanks so much to everybody for all your likes and comments to part 2 of my article! Part 3 (and the last one of the series) was published today, if you are interested in following it through:
    http://www.lomograph(…)rk-displays

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. inezv

    Thanks! It's my first film so I really hope I can have some nice pictures :) This will definitly make things allot easier :D
    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  10. pippyg

    pippyg

    HI..I have a DianaF+...you say set the camera on B setting but what about the other settings? Sunny, partially cloudy or cloudy? Thanks!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  11. digitaljunk

    Hello @pippyg -- I'd put it on the 'cloudy' setting and use an ISO 200 film to start with. See how that goes. After seeing the results, if you need to adjust, do this by varying the film speed. (If the photos turn out over exposed, use a lower ISO film next time, if under exposed, use a higher ISO.) Hope that helps!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  12. digitaljunk

    Hey @inezv -- great, good luck with your first roll of firework shots

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  13. inezv

    @digitaljunk thanks!
    over 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Italiano.