Wednesday, July 4, 2012

happy 4th

Have a happy 4th of July!

Fireworks are always intriguing to photograph.  Each year, I see more people trying to photograph them on their i-phones.  This is possible but the problem is that people are NOT using a tripod (or any other stable platform.)  You really need to have something to rest your camera on because you want a long shutter speed to capture the trails of the fireworks (5-20 seconds, depending on your taste.)  In the photo below, the shutter opened just before the launch (you see it going up) and stayed open until after the firework had completely exploded (you see the entire length of the stream.)

It is actually a lot easier to do this on smaller shows (like this one I photographed last night) because large shows have a lot of fireworks going off at the same time, so the fireworks start to overlap and it becomes messy, like the photo below.  Similarly, I should just stop trying to take photos of the finally, it is really hard because it get to become a mess of light with indistinguishable fireworks.  This is the resulting photo of last nights finally.  (I wasn't going to show anyone this but it makes my point.)

You also know that I love context, so for me, adding more "scene" to the fireworks creates a more compelling image.

So, if your town has fireworks tonight, take a tripod or something to prop your camera on for a long shutter speed.  Also, before you head out, learn how to shoot with a long shutter speed with your particular camera, take it into the dark bathroom if you have to.  

Then when the finally comes, enjoy it without your camera.


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