Welcome to Through the Lens!

Especially in the Philippines, what do Christmas, New Year, and Sinulog have in common? It’s usually the highlight of the celebration and it starts with the letter “F”.

Aside from Food, we all love Fireworks!!


Here are some quick tips I’ve scoured all over the web that you can use to photograph fireworks.

1. Bring a tripod. You’ll be doing a lot of long exposures. You’re going to need a sturdy tripod to properly capture good firework photos.

2. Bring extra batteries and memory cards. There aren’t many occasions to take photos of fireworks throughout the rest of the year. We might as well take lots of pictures while you practice and experiment. Just remember to save space for the Finale.

3. Find a location ahead of time. In other countries they have a designated area for fireworks. Here in the Philippines, every neighbor likes to partake in the celebration. You don’t need to go far from your backyard especially if it’s your first try.

For Cebu, I bet the best place to watch fireworks on Christmas and New Year’s Eve is at Tops or similar places up that mountain.

4. Use a wide-angle lens. Using a wide-angle lens ensures that you capture the entire fireworks scene and not just a part of it. Make sure to leave enough room in your frame and anticipate the height of the bursts. Adjust when necessary. If you’re shooting from a higher vantage point like a building, try to include the surrounding area. Experiment with horizontal and vertical compositions. For abstract shots, experiment with zooming in.

5. Long Exposure Noise Reduction. To turn On or Off? The problem with this setting is that it will usually take several seconds after your first shot to eliminate the noise, preventing you from taking another photo immediately. While it’s a good feature in digital cameras, I don’t think it’s practical to use in photographing fireworks, especially when everything happens so fast and at a limited time.

6. Set your ISO to 50 or 100. Normally you will want to use a higher ISO in dark settings. However, when doing long exposures you will want your ISO in the lowest possible setting. Long exposures tend to increase noise because of long shutter speeds.

7. Turn your flash off.

8. Set your Aperture to f5.6 or f8. You can’t go wrong with these apertures. It’s the optimal setting for this kind of photography. But everyone loves bokeh right? Experiment and set it to 2.8 to 1.4 and put them out-of-focus. You’ll get wide colorful streaks for an abstract effect.

9. Use long shutter speeds: 2-10 seconds or longer. Always take a test shot whenever you change a setting. See if the sky is too bright or too dark and adjust when necessary. Experiment with the “bulb” setting where you’ll be the one to manually open and close the shutter.

10. Set your focus on Infinity and turn off your Auto Focus or AF. When you leave your AF on, your camera will always refocus and you will end up missing shots.

11. For our point-and-shoot and mobile photography friends. Try to take photos using the “fireworks” scene mode in your cameras and apps. Try setting it on and off. See which you prefer.

12. Don’t get caught up with the technicalities. Enjoy the show.


These will be the last batch for this year. On January we will announce the December Photo of the Month (POTM) winner, as well as the 2015 Photo of the Year (POTY) winner.



Here are this week’s featured artists:


Paikot-ikot na lang ba?

A photo posted by Krystal Eve Roque (@talarookie) on



Hey Guys ❤️

A photo posted by Nikko (@niiccoohh) on



Of triangles and smiles. #streetphotography #fujifilm #fujifilmph #fujifilmX100T #buhaykalye #cebu #032igers #igerscebu

A photo posted by Lord Allen Hernandez (@filipino_backpacker) on


Oh Wonder – Without You

A photo posted by Croix Gimena (@darthcroix) on




"I see beauty in the bent, the rotten, the decayed, the shattered…" – Jordan Sarah Weatherhead

A photo posted by Kim Aubrey (@kimyerbuamik) on





What do you think of this week’s selections? Have something to add to the tips? Tell us in the comment box below! 🙂


Get featured by tagging your photos #032igers on Instagram or Tumblr. If you know someone who deserves a spot above, leave their usernames on the comment box below. We’ll check out their feed or you can tell them about Through the Lens. Best Photo of the Month wins Zerothreetwo merchandise. 


Scott Pacaldo

Create & Curate.

Follow at @eeskaatt.

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