How to Shoot Fireworks

After posting up so many fireworks photo and I did get some comments asking how to shoot fireworks, here are some tips. Note, I’m not pro huh..just gotta practice (that’s why went 3 times LOL) and I did some homework prior to the fireworks and tested out various settings. So here you go:

Tools:

  1. Camera of course, preferably a DSLR, but Point n Shoot also can.
  2. Tripod, better be a big one and can adjust the height and shooting point.

Yah that’s bout it.

Settings:

  1. Use manual if possible.
  2. Set aperture (F value) within F8 to F16. Yes, this one can be done with a DSLR or PNS camera. You just gotta look around for that setting on how to change aperture.
  3. ISO – this is for brightness, usually when shooting at night, you will set to 800/1200, but for fireworks, put it lowest 100/200.
  4. Shutter – you can set this for within 5-10secs, depends on how many fireworks you want to capture. I can’t recall if PNS can do this, sorry no expert.
  5. BULB – if you have DSLR, set the shutter to this. Remember last time I took some ghost pics, that’s the BULB mode, and this is very useful for fireworks!!
  6. Focus – set this to manual and pre-focus to an object first. You can’t focus on the fireworks but somehow it will turn up OK in the pics.

OK and one more thing, this only for DSLR camera owners, get a remote control. That’s very important. This is because you don’t want to accidentally shake ur camera and ur fireworks go blur. Also if it’s in BULB mode, you can control your shutter with remote. I bought it and I love it!!

So when all done, mount your camera on the tripod, find the angle u want…and wait.

When the time comes, just snap the pic.

FOR DSLR

I use remote control for most of my pics. I don’t time it for how many secs, I use BULB setting. I just watch the sky, press the remote (1st time – open shutter) then wait…once I am satisfied with the firework (say after few burst), press the remote (2nd time – close shutter).

Just keep doing this each time at your own interval, you will get nice shots. Of course, make sure you check your shots, make sure not too smoky or overexpose (when too many fireworks at 1 time).

If you think F8 is too low, try F16. I prefer F16, pics looks better, but don’t ask me the theory of that.

FOR PNS Camera

Mount it on tripod, set the timer to probably 2 sec after you press on the button (I know some cameras have, you have to find that function, my Canon A600 has)…you have to do a bit of timing, since you don’t have remote. So when you see the trail of fireworks going up, snap it…then after 2 sec, your camera will take the photo so it should be just nice or maybe slightly off for the first round to see the firework burst in the sky.

Check your photo and adjust your timing to get better shots :) .

Why you need 2 sec of waiting is each time when you press the button, you will tend to vibrate the camera, if you don’t leave it for 2 sec (min), you will get shaky pics. Even DSLR also happens because when you press the button, the shutter opens up…the mirror in the camera vibrates. Hence wait for 2 sec is good so that the vibration stops and you can get a clear pic.

Which is why I chose to use a remote, cause remote no hand shake mah :) .

ADVENTUROUS

If you poses a DSLR and want to be more adventurous, you can try a black card technique. I learned this from forum and played with it. It’s also the same kind of setting, but instead of keep on snapping so many pics, some people like to have alot of fireworks burst at 1 go. So the best is use black card.

It’s just a cardboard (DIY) of black colour, size bigger than your camera lense.

What you do is, when you want that firework, remove the card which you place in front of the lense. When you don’t want it, just slot the card in front of the lense. It actually acts like a manual shutter close/open function.

With that, you get less smoke actually, and nicer sharper fireworks :) .

Only for DSLR huh, PNS Camera can’t do that.

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When is next round?

There’s 2 more countries showcasing fireworks before the MIFC competition ends. The fireworks start 10pm, but be there by 830 cause the jam is horrendous

  • 30th Aug – Japan – updated, for this one starts 12am
  • 2nd Sept – Canada & Global Team

So pack your gears and head to Putrajaya…if you don’t mind the jam :) . I’m going on 2nd Sept, trying out a new location. Lets hope I can get home faster this round LOL.

Tutorial: Collage Pictures

OK..this is very overdue tutorial for all the fans out there. Very sorry for the delay, just couldn’t get myself into writing down the steps. Here you go…this is something related to arranging the photos all very nicely in a page like what you can see on my banner.

  1. Open photoshop
  2. Open all the papers that you want to put in your scrap..the more the better (like 5-6 of them)
  3. Use one of the paper as background.
  4. Duplicate a layer of that and turn that to white the bottom most layer (you can find the steps in my previous tutorial step 1-4)
  5. Go to another paper.
  6. Go to View, Ruler..make sure you can see the ruler top and left side of the photoshop
  7. Make sure you selected the MOVE tool (the first row right side).
  8. Move your mouse to the left ruler, hold and drag
  9. You will see a line appear…sometimes can be cyan colour or whatever colour
  10. Drag that and place it at the 2″ marker
  11. Then repeat from top ruler as well and stop at 2” marker.
  12. Now you have a 2”x2” marker on your 2nd paper.
  13. Select the rounded edge rectangle tool (the one below the text T tool)
  14. Draw a rounded edge within the 2”x2” marker, make sure it’s slightly smaller than the 2”x2”
  15. Then right click, make selection. Set the pixel as 0 and click OK
  16. You will see the selected 2”x2” is now like marching ants.
  17. Select the Move tool (first row, right tool), drag this selected 2”x2” to the 1st paper. You will see a new layer duplicated.
  18. Repeat step 17, 3 times dragging from 2nd paper to 1st paper.
  19. Go back to 2nd paper. Now change to the select tool (1st top left)
  20. Again, drag from 2nd paper, but now to the 3rd paper (another new paper). This step is to transfer the same shape & size from one paper to another. Or else you will not get same size throughout the collage.
  21. Repeat step 18-20 until you completed drag all the papers that you’ve opened. Remember each paper repeat 3 times.
  22. Once done, close all the paper except 1st paper which now contains all the paper in 2×2 square boxes of multiple colours.
  23. Now, use the marker and set 2”x2” for the whole paper. Meaning you will have 5 lines horizontally, 5 lines vertically if you are using a 12”x12” paper size.
  24. Now drag each of the layer to each 2”x2” square..arrange them nicely alternating them.
  25. So you have a neat collage now.
  26. Then add your picture in. If you want to have rounded edge, repeat steps 13, 15, 16 & 17.

Sounds very complicated right. I’m very sorry, but I think this the easiest way to go with it. Once you are familiar with drag n drop of layers and arranging them you’ll get the hang of it.

Give it a try. Note that there are other ways of doing it, which turns out more complicated and I thought this is the easiest to follow.

And here’s mine for the tutorial. Congrats, you’ve finished the tutorial ;) .

Tutorial: How to Scrapbook

OK, as promised here’s the mini tutorial on how I do scrapbooking. I don’t think there are hard and fast rules and what’s right what’s wrong. Everyone has their own way of doing, so this is just one way that I use :) . My take, explore with PS and you will find the wonders in it hehe…if you are non-PS user, sorry lah, this tutorial not for you liao. I also can’t help you cause PS is the only software I know.

OK, enough of crap, lets start work.

Before scrapping, you at least have to have an idea what layout you want, this will make things easier when you start scrapping. If you have no ideas, you can always go to those scrapbook forum, look at how people scrap and get some idea. I do that as well :) .

Then choose the KIT that you want to use for scrap.

  1. First open one of the background page (those with fancy fancy design).
  2. Then duplicate a layer by placing your mouse on the paper and right click, duplicate layer. THen just press OK.
  3. Then click on Windows, Layer to show the layer you just created. You will see 2 eyes on the 2 layers, you can click on the eyes on off on off..that will actually hide and display the layer.
  4. Next, choose the bottom layer, then press Ctrl+A (this is to select all), then press DELETE. With this you will notice one layer will be the fancy design paper, one is plain (if you want white, just take the bucket and then paint in white).
  5. Layers are very important for Scrapbooking, cause it’s all about stacking up the papers layer after layers..so play with this function more and you sure become xpert :) .
  6. Next, to add the picture, open the pic.
  7. To add a frame to the picture, click on Image, Canvas Size. e.g image size is 6×6, change it to 6.1×6.1, you will instantly get a nice frame :) .
  8. Then again, duplicate your photo on the fancy background by right click duplicate layer and then select where you want to duplicate that layer to.
  9. If picture appears very small on the fancy background, you can adjust the size by Edit, Transform, Scale…this will edit on whichever layer you are at, not on the whole file itself.
  10. Once you are satisfied, then move on and add more layers of fancy paper on the same file. To make sure you don’t cover each fancy paper on top of each other, you can use the marquee tool (the one in a square dot dot one) and cut and paste the desired size.
  11. You can play around by arranging each layer on top of each other. And do scale, rotate, etc until you are satisfied (using the Edit Transform function) on each layer.
  12. Once you are done with all the arranging, if you notice sometimes the scrap has that lil shadow, that is call the drop shadow effect. You can add that to make your scrap looks more realistic.
  13. To add shadow, go to Windows, Layer. Select the Layer, right click blending options.
  14. Select the drop shadow and make sure it’s ticked. Then slide the distance, spread and size until you are satisfied and click OK.
  15. You have to do this for each layer..a bit of work, but worth the effort lah :P . With shadow it really look more real, like papers stacked on each other kekeke…
  16. Then merge all the layers by selecting, Layer, Flatten Image.
  17. Next use the text tool, add the wordings you like.
  18. Then repeat step 16 to flatten the image.
  19. Save the file as JPEG.
  20. If you intend to print the scrap out, safe the file with the best quality (very large file). For internet upload purpose, you can just save as lower quality.

And there you go…A nice scrap for your kids and your blog in just 20 steps :) . Done my homework before CNY, so don’t owe anyone hehehe…Happy Scrapping and do post your scrap up for us to look see.

If anyone has problem or stuck, can always email or MSN me. Will assist you whenever possible (if I’m not caught with my work). If the steps work perfectly, do link to my site on where you get the tutorial :) .

Will try to post up another tutorial on how to get nice letterings and also the rounded square edges. That’ll be after CNY lah…

Tutorial: Downloading Scrap Materials

I’ve got some request from blogger Mommy & non Mommy to teach them how to do scrapbook…Well, I’m not expert lah, also learning and playing…Since there’s request, I’ll try to post one about scrapbooking in 1-2 weeks time, so those interested stay tuned :) .

Meanwhile, get yourself prepared, here are the stuff you need:

Pretty papers and gadgets:
Download for free at some of these sites that I usually go..I very kiam, only get free ones, those gotta pay sorry lah hehe…

Digital Freebies – gives out freebies every week, just subscribe to their newsletter, they’ll email you the updates
Two Peas – once a month freebies, they all look so sweet..must download :)
Shabby Princess – this one is once every 2 months freebies…they have very sweet ones, esp for girls. their previous release are still avaiable for downloads
Simply Clean – here also once a month I think, just go there whenever you are free
Peppermint – this one is also monthly, but it has limit. Once the freebies are grabbed, no more..so gotta check fast.

Software:
Go grab yourself Photoshop CS2, that’s what I use for scrapping. There are other software as well, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Elements. I don’t know how to use them, so photoshop is my best buddy lah :) . I only know some basic steps in photoshop, the rest you have to explore, that’s how I pick up as well.

PC:
well this one I’m sure everyone has…but if you want to do photoshopping, you need RAM (the more the better) cause when you create scrapbook pages, it takes up alot of temporary space which is RAM hungry. If you have 256MB, it’s gonna be slow..super!! Maybe one file, you have to sit and wait. If you have 512MB, slightly better, the wait is less. I’ve got 512MB plan to upgrade to 1GB.

I think that’s bout it…and you are ready to start. I’ll try to post up the tutorial ASAP, but I’ve got alot of scheduled post. So all that will go first before the tutorial :) .

Tutorial: 2 tones background

Mommy is still crazily downloading pretty backgrounds, editing photos, downloading fonts. So lets have our 2nd lesson. Sharon request for one photo 2 colours…So here’s a post how we can turn a single colour picture to 2 colours. Very easy, guarantee less than 10 steps hehehe…


Lesson TWO

A background with two parts of different colours
      1. Open up a background, decide one part of the background that you want to change colour
      2. In this case, I take the left side.
      3. Use the rectangular MARQUEE tool to select the left side (first button on the left, the one like a dotted square)
      4. Once the area selected, right click and choose Layer via copy.
      5. This will create a layer of what you selected
      6. Then, from here…you can play with the colours, like change it black & white (desaturate), change brightness or contrast and change colour balance. All this can be done under IMAGE, ADJUSTMENT Tool Options.
      7. Try until you are satisfied :)
      8. Once you are done, merge the Layers by using the LAYER, FLATTEN IMAGE Options. You can also use merge visible or merge layers.
          See 8 steps and you have a beautiful two parts of different colours background. I added Faythe’s picture in this background. How to do that:
              1. Open the photo which you want to add.
              2. Ensure that the photo size is smaller than the background size. You can make the image smaller by resizing the image, IMAGE, IMAGE Size options.
              3. Once you are done, you can also crop out unwanted stuff from the photo by using the Crop tool (the one below the lasso). Won’t explain on the crop tool..you go test test & see lah :)
              4. Finish cropping, again right click on the photo and select duplicate layer.
              5. Select the file where you want to duplicate this photo to. In this case, it’s the background file.
              6. Now, what you do next is arrange the photo nicely, and repeat the same if you have other photos.
              7. To add the words, select the “T” Button and click anywhere on the background.
              8. Then start typing the words. You can experiment by change the colours & font style.
              9. Once finish with the wordings, Click on the “tick” on the top right hand side…and it’s done
                  Don’t forget, you have to merge again, so that all the layers you’ve added will all be in 1 piece. Then save the file as JPEG and upload to your blog lorrrrr….hehehehe….

Tutorial: 2 tones photo

Since I started blogging, sometimes itchy fingers, I’ll do some editing of photos…like what I did for the Magic Cream posting and also the most recent Faythe 9 months old posting. Some friends has asked, hey how you do that? OK lah, since got so many fans..I kasi some simple steps for you all..you can go home and try it out.

Bare in mind, there are lots of way to do it, it’s only one of the ways I use which I find most convenient for myself. Play around with that often, and you’ll be a master for sure. I’m not a master, still in learning phase, but I enjoy fiddling around with photos and colours when I’m free.Some of my work can be found here and here…Before we start the lesson, of course you got to make sure you have photoshop installed. Any version higher than 7.0 is fine, If older version, I think some features not available. You should know where to get it, I’m not allowed to tell you in public, or else later kena tangkap hehe..


Lesson ONE
A picture with some part black & white, some part colour.

  1. Decide which one to be colour, which one is black & white. In this case, I select the pillows to remain coloured, the rest black & white.
  2. Select the LASSO tool, the one of the right side, 2nd row. There are 3 types of the tool, i like the magnetic one best, it’s like joining dots when we were young.
  3. OK, now you can start to use the LASSO magnetic tool, to select the area. In this case, to make my life easy, I select the pillow area, cause it’s less work to do.
  4. Just move around the LASSO near to the lining of the pillow, it will automatically mark it for u with dots.
  5. Just remember, where you start, you got to stop back at the same place..like when we use to play join the dots game.
  6. Once it’s done, you’ll see like dotted lines around the first pillow.
  7. Before you move on to select the next pillow, make sure the SELECTION mode button is selected properly.
  8. It’s shown on the top row of the ermm..tool bar?? With 4 different squares, one is just one itself, one is 2 overlapping, one is subtract of the selection & one is intersect.
  9. For this case I’m selecting 2 items, so it’s 2 boxes overlapping button.
  10. Now continue to select the next pillow and finish joining the dots.
  11. OK now it looks like 2 pillows selected, with dotted lines around…
  12. To touch up…magnify the picture big big..and ensure that the lines cover exactly the pillow, if there are some areas not covered or over covered..use the Polygonal LASSO tool to play around with it to select or deselect those areas.
  13. When you use Polygonal Lasso, it doesn’t have the automatic dots like the other one, so you have to keep on clicking when you want to select that area.
  14. The most important tool here is both the LASSO and the SELECTION mode button on top. Try it out and you’ll know and learn that fast.
  15. OK now done. I’ve selected the pillow, but I want them to be coloured.
  16. The rest of the area suppose to be black & white.
  17. Do a Select, Inverse option. This will reverse whatever you’ve selected, meaning now the selection is everything but the pillows.
  18. Then press Ctrl+Shift+U (shortcut for desaturate – as in change colour to black & white)
  19. Now click on the Marquee Tool (first icon on the left) and just click your mouse anywhere…it will clear off whatever you selected just now.
  20. There you go, the first black & white + coloured photo…hehehe…I call it dual tone effect.
Easy hoh..20 steps kow tim :) If you intend to change the black & white to sepia (brownish) or blueish or greenish or redish, play around with the Colour Balance Option in the Image, Adjustment Section.