Rodney Campbell's Blog

Happy New Year!!! – Sydney New Years Eve 2010 Fireworks…

by on Jan.01, 2011, under Life, Photography

Our family along with some other friends went to Family Fun Night at North Sydney Olympic Pool for the earlier 9PM family fireworks on Sydney’s New Years Eve. This is really well organised with activities like circus, face painting, bands, clowns and of course swimming for the kids and then after dinner we can settle down for the 9PM fireworks action from a location just at the edge of the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge pilon and almost directly under the fireworks in the harbour and off the bridge.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

A couple images near sunset from our location…

NIKON D90 + 18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 112 mm, 1/2000 sec at f / 8, ISO 200

The harbour in twilight…

NIKON D90 + 18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 32 mm, 1.3 sec at f / 9, ISO 200

This is my first attempt at taking fireworks photos with a D-SLR… the basic strategy of which is:

  1. Use a Tripod – a stable base is essential for these long exposures
  2. Set the camera to a low (camera default) ISO (in my case 200)
  3. Set the camera to Manual and use an Aperture of around f/8 to f/16 (e.g. f/11)
  4. If you have a remote shutter release (I have the wireless one) set the camera’s shutter speed to Bulb mode and use the release to time some 3 to 7 second exposures – timing the shutter opening to just before the fireworks explode and then close the shutter when they finish exploding. If you don’t have a remote release you can try using the self timer and start with something like a 4 second exposure. Adjust the exposure time to suit the conditions (you may need to use slightly shorter or longer depending on how bright things are)
  5. Using Manual mode will usually achieve this anyway but make sure your Flash is turned Off

NIKON D90 + 18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48 mm, 2.7 sec at f / 11, ISO 200


NIKON D90 + 18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 42 mm, 3.5 sec at f / 11, ISO 200

For the midnight fireworks display my eldest daughter and I drove to a spot in Greenwich we often go to. This is quite a bit further away from the harbour but it does allow you to view multiple displays from the same location. We also switched to the 70-300mm lens for this.

The view with the Sydney CBD in the background.

NIKON D90 + 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm, 7.3 sec at f / 11, ISO 200

Two of my favourites from the night…

NIKON D90 + 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm, 3.5 sec at f / 16, ISO 200


NIKON D90 + 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm, 4.2 sec at f / 16, ISO 200

If you are interested in seeing a few more of the images from North Sydney and both fireworks you can see them at the following web gallery:

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