Photographing the Busan Fireworks Festival 2012 Pt.2

[button link=”” type=”icon” icon=”notice” newwindow=”yes”] Festival Postponed to Sunday[/button]


If you haven’t read the first post you can read it here. At any rate, I am going to elaborate more on the topic and provide some great information about actually getting decent shots from this weekend. Since this will be my first actual time heading there with the intent of capturing images and not just enjoying the moment, I will be showing images of past firework events that I have been to. Don’t worry the information and techniques will be exactly the same.

If you have been to Vancouver, then you know exactly where this is. It adds a little more to the story

Where are you?

The key here is to give your images a sense of place. We all have that urge to get in close and shoot only the fireworks themselves. However, the problem is that unless you have an amazing show or something truly amazing happens, then your shot will simply be just that, a shot of fireworks and some times that works to your disadvantage.

As we talked about yesterday you will need your tripod 100% for this event. Don’t give me this “saving weight  excuse. If you want images take your tripod, borrow one, or buy one. With that being said, set your tripod up early. I know that it sounds overkill to do this hours before the main event but if it is like any other popular festival in Korea, then space will be tight and/or gone if you don’t have your spot ready once things start going BOOM.

Having a tripod to steady your shots will also be needed the farther you are away from Gwangali. So if you are shooting from Jangsan or Hwangyeongsan, you will need to be super careful about steadying your shots.  A good cable release with the ability to lock will also be a good thing to have.

Camera Settings

This is a tricky one but I can offer some tips. First, go manual. The settings that I like to use are usually around f/8 to F/11 and then switching to Bulb.  Fire when you see the firework pop or just before and release with it starts to disperse. Play with the aperture and timing to make sure that you don’t over-expose and that is about it.

Next, is to lock your focus. Nothing is more irritating then having your camera hunt for something to focus on. Either focus on something before it gets dark or use the back-button focus trick that I talked about in an earlier post.

Using the back-button focusing method you can focus on the brightest part of the fireworks and then you are locked and and you won’t have to worry about your camera hunting around for a focus point every time you press the shutter release. The greatly aids your ability to get the entire scene in focus and/or get those sharp, crisp fireworks if you so desire.


We talked about this before but the photos that are going to probably look the best are going to be the ones with the bridge in it as well as the surrounding area. This gives the shot that needed sense of place (as mentioned above). The entire show is centered around the bridge so it won’t be too hard to get that element. However, try to get something original. If you have a long lens, try getting closer (zooming) and see what that does. A close shot with an element that we know like the railings on the bridge and the fireworks going off in the background might be cool… I am just thinking off the top of my head here.

Without a sense of place… this could be anywhere.


From what I hear, there will be a good chance of this event being a rainy one (again). It is best to bring out the rain gear and to also think about rain gear for your camera as well. I just bought some off of Gmarket for around 11,000 won. Don’t forget to bring a seat or a pad to sit on. The rest is just a waiting game. Bring some hot beverages as well to keep warm.



  1. Pingback:Photographing the Busan Fireworks Festival 2012 Pt.1 | The Sajin

  2. Chris in South Korea Reply

    A wired release makes a world of difference. Set focus to manual at infinity to ensure faster reaction time. Bulb shots are fun, as are focal zoom shots – I took some like this up in Seoul not too long ago –

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Those are some great shots Chris. I really like the red ones where you can see a bit of the reflection from under the bridge.

    • Roderick Marallag Reply

      I stumbled across this website and found it interesting. I also have a good interest in photography.

      I was lost when you said “bulb shots”. How do you do bulb shots? I am waiting for fireworks festival here in Busan. What’s the best lens for taking fireworks? I have my humble 550D with sigma 24-70 f2.8 and my most-hated 18-55 standard lens. I don’t know if ine of these lenses will make my waiting worth. Otherwise, i will invest a little for my hobby.

      By the way, the link on Chris’ post doesn’t work.

      • Jason Teale Reply

        To use “bulb” mode you should put your camera into manual model and then adjust to the shutter speed past the 30 second mark and you will see wither bulb or just a “b” appear. It just basically means that the shutter will stay open for as long as you have your finger on the button. So, a cable release with a lock it recommended. This just allows you to control how long you have the shutter open for. If you are doing really long exposures then you need to lock down the button and wait.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!