Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shooting Fireworks

Last night to celebrate Independence Day, we went to dinner in the small country town of Hempstead at the home of some friends from church.  We and another family from church had a great dinner, some really fun conversation and the kids had a - dare I say it - legendary time playing in mud and water in the back yard.

Then sunset came and time for the fireworks.  I've been reading a lot of tutorials this week about how to shoot fireworks, so I decided to give it a shot.  I've never tried to shoot fireworks before (well, not since I've had any kind of clue about photography, anyway), so I was pretty excited about it.

We headed to the outskirts of town to a hill where we would have a good view of the show.  And we waited for the fun to start.

The scene was picturesque.  I opened the shutter at f/1.8 at 8 seconds and got a pretty decent shot of what we were looking at.  It was a beautiful night  - the bugs weren't bad, it had cooled off from the day and a light breeze was blowing.  The perfect evening for fireworks in the country!

When the show started, it turned out that there was a large oak tree that was blocking a lot of the fireworks that were lower to the ground, but the larger ones would burst perfectly over the tree.  Our friends lamented that the tree was blocking some of the fireworks, but I loved it because it gave me a foreground element to add some interest to the frame.  A black frame full of fireworks isn't as interesting as a frame with other elements to set the scene.

Then something cool happened.  The full moon started rising behind the very same clump of trees that were framing the fireworks.  Because I was shooting long exposures, I knew that the moon would be blown out in the shots, but I thought it looked awesome anyway.

Anyway, these are my first attempts at shooting fireworks.  These are pretty much straight out of thre camera - no processing, except for a little crop.  It was a lot of fun, and definitely something I'm going to do again.

And this was a 33 second exposure of the grand finale:

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