Archive of Scott R. Kline

Scott has written 9 article(s) for InMenlo.


Photographing fireworks can be a lot of fun. The best shots fill the frame up with the explosions. Below are two photos that show two ways to do it.

The first photo shows fireworks last July 4th at the beach in Aptos, CA. Interestingly, these are private fireworks and stay fairly low to the ground. Note the long trails of light in this photo resulting in the classic fireworks look with multiple explosions going off at different times.

To get this photo, I used a Canon 5D Mk II with a tripod. The secret to those long trails is a long exposure. I used 30 seconds for this one. Be careful. When the shutter is open that long, you can get an unwanted bright sky. Combat this by closing down the f-stop to a small opening. I used f19 on this shot. To keep the shot from looking too noisy, I used 100 ISO. My lens was a 24-70 zoom with a focal length of 43mm.

The dark blacks in the background are also key elements to a shot like this. The camera settings make that happen. Additionally, by keeping the shutter open this long, I captured multiple fireworks going off over the 30 seconds. These 4 explosions did not happen at once in real time. With the long exposure, they are visible together. One more tip: Use a remote trigger or a timer delay to keep from shaking the camera when you press the shutter.

Buring Man 2013 - Fireworks at the ManThe second shot was from 2013 Burning Man. Because so many fireworks were going off at the same time, I used a shorter duration shutter speed. Note the short trails compared to the other photo. I wanted to get lights on the Man in the shot, so used a higher ISO. The settings for this shot were ISO 2000, F8.0, shutter of 1/20 seconds. Again I used my 5D Mk II my 24-70 lens on 70mm focal length. The noise from the ISO 2000 setting was corrected later in Lightroom.

Here are a few other tips. Dial in your settings before the fireworks start. Get some shots of the scene in advance. Get your setting right. Make sure any iconic structures like bridges or buildings you want to be in the photo are lit the way you want. Buildings always look better if they are lit externally. You might even catch the bug and get into night photography without fireworks.

To see more night photography, you can visit my website for my Burning Man Scenes and or my Structures portfolio which has several night architecture photos.

Photographer Scott R. Kline has been a contributing photographer to InMenlo since 2011.

Where to view Peninsula Fireworks

{ Be the first to comment }

Photographer Scott R. Kline goes annually on a mission trip to Juarez, a time that stays with him heart and mind

“You are going to Juarez? Why? Isn’t it dangerous?” This is a typical response every year when we prepare to head to Ciudad Juarez Mexico to build houses, treat sick people, and work with our sponsored students. I can’t really blame people. One doesn’t hear much positive about Juarez. But it is a great experience […]

Click to read more →

Making the most of that camera in your pocket – an iPhone – using Instagram and Snapseed

The best camera is the one you have with you when you need to create a photograph. Professionally, I am a portrait photographer, but I have always enjoyed graphically strong images without people. Since my iPhone is always in my pocket, I snap these whenever I see something interesting. Using a few apps, I quickly […]

Click to read more →

Photographer Scott R. Kline takes us on a tour of Burning Man 2013

I went to Burning Man with a completely different goal this year, at least from a photographic point-of-view. In the past I created portraits of the participants. This year I only had three days and wanted to do something different. One of the 10 Principals of Burning Man is Radical Self Expression. This year I […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park residents display their creativity at 2013 Maker Faire Bay Area

The 2013 Maker Faire Bay Area came to the San Mateo County Event Center this past weekend. The Faire draws tinkerers, inventors, artists, engineers, Burners — and those who love to see their work. A knot of traffic surrounded the fairgrounds stretching out to the freeway as an estimated 100,000 attended the two-day event. Those […]

Click to read more →

Photographer Scott R. Kline has exhibit at Café Zoë during month of May

In March 2011 Linda Hubbard interviewed me for inMenlo about returning to photography as a profession after many years away from it. We hit it off and a journalistic partnership was born. Since that time Linda and I have collaborated on some 100 articles about people in the Menlo Park Atherton area. As a celebration of […]

Click to read more →

Photographer Scott Kline reflects on the 10 Principles of Burning Man post this year’s event

Of the Ten Principles of Burning Man, my favorite may be Radical Self-Reliance. All the time people who have not attended think that Burning Man is a hippy fest. I think that it is closer to a libertarian fest. There are not handrails, monitors, safety warnings and thought police telling you what to do or […]

Click to read more →

On location at the Cache Creek Lavender Farm, a long time Menlo Park Farmers Market merchant

When Charlie Opper acquired a few acres in the beautiful Capay Valley northwest of Sacramento, he needed to figure out what to do with the place. To the gratitude of hundreds of Menlo Park Farmers Market attendees every Sunday, he chose to create a lavender farm. The Cache Creek Lavender Farm booth is where Charlie […]

Click to read more →

Photographer Scott R. Kline reflects on Burning Man – and shares some of his photos

A lot of friends and acquaintances get that sideways head tilt, like the RCA dog, when the subject of Burning Man comes up. “Isn’t it just drugs and naked people?” “No money, so you have to trade for everything, right?” “It’s very dusty isn’t it?” Yes. No. Yes. But those questions miss the point. Burning […]

Click to read more →