Capturing Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is in full swing around the world. Welcoming the Year of the Dragon with fireworks, long noodles and dancing lions is something you don’t want to miss capturing with your camera.

Delicious Chinese dishes and prancing wildcats are easy to snap in the daylight, but what about all those incredible nighttime Lunar New Year aerial pyrotechnics displays? If you are planning to document the many festive firework shows that will be exploding in the skies during the remainder of the 15-day New Year’s celebration, consider the following tips:

Tripod: It is extremely challenging to capture decent shots of large scale fireworks if you are not using a tripod. Fortunately, inexpensive tripods are available at most camera shops. Using one properly will help keep your camera steady and prevent blurry shots, especially when you are shooting fireworks that require long exposure times.

Flash: Standard point-and-shoot cameras struggle to snap frame worthy shots of aerial pyrotechnics. The built-in flash on these types of cameras is poor. Typically, it’ll only reach a few meters. You are better off disabling the flash and letting the camera document the fireworks against the night sky. If you have a good vantage point the aerial display will be bright enough on its own.

Remote: Nothing ruins an explosive fireworks shoot faster than a shaky camera. While a tripod will help keep your camera secure, it also pays to invest in a remote control. By having one you can avoid manually pressing the shutter button. Ideally, you want to minimize contact with your camera once you attach it to a tripod.

Modes: When taking aim at fireworks with your camera, you want to experiment with different modes. If your camera is equipped with a fireworks mode, use it, as it will provide longer exposure times. Another option is to turn off the auto-focus mode. Switch to manual and adjust accordingly for the low light conditions.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.