Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fireworks Photography

I am in Colorado, the state that is burning to the ground. My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes, and the few that have lost their lives. Fortunately, there is  peace in the storm. Check out this post by Stephanie Hillberry on a really beautiful perspective on the fires.

With the dry weather and concern of starting more fires, most of the cities in Colorado cancelled their fireworks shows. I am so glad, though, that my hometown decided to keep ours up. We tried out a new spot  we have never been to, and I think it was our best view yet. There weren't any trees blocking the view, we had plenty of room, and we actually saw a lot of the low fireworks we normally have missed in our old spots. 

I read this article on shooting fireworks and gathered my gear, determined to capture some beautiful shots of fireworks this year. Most of my shots last year were blurry, out of focus, and just all around not very interesting. This year I really focused on making sure I set up the camera well, adapted my shutter speed accordingly, and made sure my shots were in focus. Here are my favorites:

I love the feel of a photo of a family watching the fireworks.... 

(This was my favorite shot EXCEPT a guy walked past me during the shutter, and to avoid him I moved and bumped the tripod, which is why everyone on the bottom is doubly present. DANGIT! Hence, cropped image below...)

Here are the techniques I used:
-TRIPOD, TRIPOD, TRIPOD. Seriously, you can't hold a camera that steady for that long, no matter what you do.
-"Bulb" mode or 30 second shutter speed. Bulb mode is when the camera opens the shutter when you push the button, and closes the shutter when you let go. This allows several fireworks to be exposed, instead of one at a time. My favorite shots had a 30 second shutter.
-Flash - for the shot of the people watching, I actually used my flash. This actually helped light them up just enough so you knew they were there, and then I left the shutter open to expose the fireworks.

It was a great day! Blessings!

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