July 2nd, 2010



With the City set to provide its citizen's a fireworks display, I'm growing nervous wondering if I could push the limits of "The Little Point & Shoot That Could" (TLP&STC) and get even a semblance of a decent shot. The Canon S3 is a lot of things, but "remote shutter" isn't one of them...nor is BULB mode, two important factors of shooting fireworks.

I return to our old friend CHDK, the Canon Hack Development Kit, which allows non-permanent (read non-disruptive) firmware tweaking. While the TLP&STC is already awfully full-featured for a point & shoot, CHDK adds functionality such as RAW mode, among other things.

And while I don't have the time, nor inclination to build a remote from a USB cable, a Chinese door-bell ringer, and a shell script...
@title Remote button
while 1
wait_click 1
if is_key "remote" then shoot

...I am interested in the BULBING, which is done with an intervalometer script without a "dark frame" subtraction followed by image stacking in Photoshop.


What they fail to tell you (and I learned this attempting to manipulate my camera's dizzying array of controls during my failed ISS overflight shots) is that unless you have your settings memorized, its going to be difficult to change them at night. When its dark.

As a silver-halide photographer I often had to uncap and respool undeveloped film in the darkroom, or a light-proof bag which you stuck your arms in. That was easy compared to the back of my camera, and the back of the camera is easy compared to the software menus on the LCD screen. I need a red-light "night mode" for my display so I don't completely burn our my retinas during after dark shots.
EricHowton: Did you know the camera in my blackberry is better than my first two digital cameras?
ProfessorTom: Maybe you should shoot fireworks with your Blackberry instead of TLP&STC
EricHowton: :D
You'll be the first to know if I'm successful, though just like the International Space Station I'll be working with a tight window. I'm going to crash some neighboring cities' displays prior to ours in an attempt to carve out the final solution.

Wish me luck.