Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Photo A Day For 6 Months: Day 52~Fireworks Photography

"Everything is created moment to moment, always new. Like fireworks, this universe is a celebration and you are the spectator contemplating the eternal fourth of July and your absolute splendor."

~Francis Lucille

Generally speaking, I have had pretty good luck photographing fireworks. The very first time I did so, came about as a bit of a surprise. Alan and I had spent the day in San Francisco and were on our way home by way of Marin County, when we decided to stop at the vista point on the Marin side of the Golden Gate. All of a sudden the sky lit up from the area around AT&T Park, which is south of the Bay Bridge. Apparently the Giants had a fireworks show after the game that night, and I got a great opportunity to do some photography on instinct. The photo above was the first one I took, and while I think I did okay with it, I still wish I would have zoomed in tighter as to not has so much black in the foreground. I have considered doing some cropping, but I always seem to go with the photo as it is. Over all I kinda like the balance of the bright city lights, and the solid forefront. 

With the Fourth of July only a few days away, I am spending a lot of time in my fireworks folders from previous events, to see what I did right, and what didn't work at all. Lets face it, Photoshop is a good tool to have for events like fireworks, if for nothing else, to eliminate the noise and small odd reflection, but my goal is to not have to rely on the editing tool. It takes some work to compose a successful fireworks photo, you have to know your camera and your general surroundings. To tripod, or not to tripod? Relaxation is a good thing to practice, as to not make mistakes by getting anxious or feeling rushed. The two photos below were taken on July 4th, 2007, as Alan and I drove along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. It was the best shot out of about 200 or so photos taken that night. I was happy that at least 1 came out well. It was a difficult shot to achieve, in that every few feet, as we inched along, completely changed the scene and conditions. 

I did have to do a small amount of editing, mostly to tone down glare and noise. The natural lighting had an orange cast to it, so I kept that and did a small amount of back light enhancing. Over all, it was pretty much what I hoped to get from that moment. It had taken me longer than I thought it would to get my focusing set, so it felt good see something good come from the work I put into it. I have tried displaying the photo in both color and black/white and I am not sure which I prefer. So, that's where you come in. I would love some feedback about the three photos in this post. Help me be a better fireworks photographer. Give it to me straight... okay? If you have some fireworks photos, please post some on Monday, and tell me about your experiences with photography in that type of lighting. 

Natural Lighting...

Black and White Editing...

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

~Me :)

1 comment:

jr cline said...

I like the light/dark balance in the first picture too.
I'm terrible at fireworks so I don't have any useful advice. The only thing I would have tired differently on the middle shot is setting the white balance to incandescent to see what that did to the orange light.
Of the last two, I like the black and white version most.

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