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MNSSHP Fireworks 4
Spectacular!, 9/23/08

Here I am in Walt Disney World again. I just can’t seem to resist the fireworks. Disney World is the second largest purchaser of explosives in the US, next to the government. Too bad ALL explosives aren’t used to create such beautiful displays! This was taken at the Magic Kingdom, during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Here are a few more from that night.

MNSSHP Fireworks 5 MNSSHP Fireworks 1 MNSSHP Fireworks 2 MNSSHP Fireworks 3

How to Photograph Fireworks

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10 Comments

  1. Ohhh…oooo…beautiful, Barrie! Just fantastic colors!

    How many photos did you come back with? Which technique did you use for these photos? Long shutter or bulb?

  2. Thanks Scott! I’m still here. Yesterday at Animal Kingdom I took 1600 photos! Lots of duplicates and tossers, but that gives you an idea of what I’ll come home with after 2 weeks. Won’t be home til Wednesday night.

    I used bulb setting and just guessed at how long to leave the shutter open on each shot. I think I’m getting a good feel for how long is the right amount of time to get a good stream without blowing out the color.

    Only trouble I have is with the really bright white ones. I’m using my 18-200 lens and it’s not fast enough on the bulb setting (or my finger isn’t fast enough on the remote shutter! So those and the finale shots are usually blown out.

    Am going to MK again tonight for extra magic hours and to practice more. Tomorrow I’ll try to get Illuminations.

  3. Good luck. I think during the finale, you might want to switch back to using shutter priority and use shorter speeds like 1/4, 1/2 something our fingers aren’t fast enough to duplicate. Just a suggestion.

    Have a safe journey home!

  4. Cool shots! I like the main red one the best. The fireworks streaks are the perfect length across the image.

    What’s the silhouette in the foreground. Looks like a person with Mickey Mouse, but it the same in every shot, so I can’t tell if it’s a statue or a real person.

  5. That’s a statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand. It’s called the Partners Statue. In sillouette it looks like they are watching the fireworks but they are actually facing away from the castle.

  6. I was reading your posts. I am a former Disney Senior Marketing Photographer and am presently under contract with Disney. My specialty is fireworks. So, I will share my experience with you all. Use a tripod and your camera set on BULB. For Wishes, most of the exposures are 8-12 seconds f22 ISO200. If you are using ISO 100, set the aperature to f16. Set the camera on MANUAL and pre focus the lens, then TURN OFF AUTO FOCUS! Do NOT use a filter on your lens. Take it off during the fireworks photography, then put it back on when the show is over. Disney hires me for many assignments, but they mostly hire me for my night time photographs, especially fireworks shows. The above advice is for Wishes ONLY. The other shows require more experience and practice. Always watch the bursts and let the bursts determine how long you leave the shutter open. As soon as I open the shutter, I start counting and also watching the bursts. There are MANY good locations to shoot Wishes from. Good luck.

    • Hi Bob – thanks for stopping by and sharing your great advice! By the way, you have my dream job: contracting to do photography for Disney.

  7. Barrie,

    I was hired by The Walt Disney World Company back in 1987. I was a full time salaried cast member(Senior Photographer)for 7 years and our department was in the Magic Kingdom tunnel. It was a DREAM job. The department still exists, but is now located in Celebration, Florida. I have been freelancing for Disney ever since I left my full time role. It is my favorite place on Earth, especially the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center. You can see a display of my work at the Kodak Exposition Hall in Town Square. There are 70-80 color prints on the wall behind the plexiglass panels. These photos were shot about 12 years ago and are still up for guests to enjoy. I just finished a large project for Disney Photo Imaging. About 300 NEW photos of mine will be on their NEW Photo CD, available through http://www.disneyphotopass.com in the near future! It was fun creating the photos on this new Disney Photo CD. It should be out for sale to the guests in a month or so. Best regards- Bob D.

  8. As Barrie said, Bob, you are doing the job we all we love to have. Thank you for the tips.

    I used a tripod for the first time last month for Wishes and was a bit disappointed. After reading your tips, I didn’t keep my shutter open long enough worried I’d be overexposing the shots. I’ll try and be more patient next time.

    How do you get the grand finales? The same way (ie., bulb) or do you switch to a faster camera controlled shutter speed?

  9. WOW!!! very nice. you’re only ‘learning’? dang. i wanna be as good as you just learning. ;p


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