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Photography Question 
Cindy Zimbelman

Photographing Christmas Lights

Help! I want to take pictures of outside Christmas lights. However, when I put it on the fireworks setting, the pictures turn out blurry. Carrying a tripod with me is not an option. I know I will probably need to set it to manual and set everything, but I don't even know what aperture, shutter speed or ISO to even start with. Thanks!

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12/4/2007 2:04:45 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  You can start with ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/60, f/2.8 ... Re-consider the tripod.

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12/4/2007 2:19:16 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  A smaller aperture setting will expand the Depth of Field and create little starbursts of light off the most vibrant, brighter features of those displays. Set the aperture (in aperture-priority AE) and be prepared for a multi-second exposure time. This, of course, means that you WILL need that tripod.

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12/4/2007 4:10:31 PM

Angie Ray
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/24/2006
  Consider taking one of's online courses to get you more familiar with your camera and make you feel more confident when having to take pictures with a manual setting.
Don't be afraid to leave those auto settings behind, you will be glad you did, I promise. I, too, started with a camera specific course here at BetterPhoto and I can't even imagine what I would've done without it. Now, three courses later, I literally know my camera inside out and I don't feel overwhelmed anymore by all the terms and numbers and settings.You can do it! Good luck!

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12/11/2007 4:21:42 AM

Sherry King   If you don't have a tripod, try taking a bag of rice and set the bag and camera on something stable at the appropriate height ... for instance a car (turn the car off if you do this). This reduces the vibrations, which caused the blurry photos.
Also, as others stated, a higher ISO, reasonable shutter speed, and watch your depth of field.
Or you could get a tripod: They come in a wide range of prices, with some fairly inexpensive ones.
Good luck!

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12/31/2008 6:24:03 PM

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