Jessica Holden Photography » My Photo Journal

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Fireworks!

One of the things on my photography bucket list has been get a good image of fireworks. And thanks to a good friend, we got to see some fireworks for a couple of weekends in a row, but each time was pretty much a flop on the part of the photographer. The first time I didn’t have a tripod (naïvely, I thought I might be able to shoot them without a tripod if I could find something to brace my camera on, like the hood of a car. I tried the arm of my chair with limited success, but overall the day was a fail photography-wise (but still we had FUN—thanks, Tony!!!!)). The second time my ever-patient husband took me: I got myself all set up with my tripod, but 15 minutes past the time they were supposed to begin, I gave up and decided they weren’t happening that night, and packed it all back into the car. Four minutes after that, the very short show began, and, flustered and rushing, I tried to get all set up but only got a couple half-way good images.

But they say the third time’s a charm, so this last weekend, we tried a new spot altogether (with no trees in the way and with a really good tripod–thanks, Ralph!), and SUCCESS!!!! We were super close (in fact, so close it was hard to zoom out enough with my lens!), with a completely unobstructed view. The show was spectacular (and the last show of the season!), and I got some shots I absolutely love!

(For the photography geeks reading this, I discovered that you can’t be lazy and forego the tripod, because the shutterspeed will be at least 5 seconds (and sometimes 10!) long. I set my ISO down to 100, and then closed up my aperture to between 16 and 22, depending on my SS. Then I took a shot and chimped, adjusting as needed. A zoom lens was helpful the first two times (I used my Tamron 28-300) because we were so far away, but the third day even 24mm was a bit closer than I’d have liked, but it still worked out all right. I used the 2-second timer to eliminate even the slight camera shake that might be caused by my pushing the shutter button, but a remote would have been even better so I could actually control when the shutter was tripped, depending on what I wanted to capture. And that was about it!)

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This one isn’t the most colorful, but I think it’s cool because to me it looks like a bit like a dandelion:
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And this one makes me think of Animal from the Muppets, which cracks me up!
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Someday I’d love to find a place where I can get shots similar to this, but with water in the foreground that reflects the fireworks. Think that might be too tall an order? I hope not!

  • Anita C - September 6, 2012 - 11:54 am

    These are gorgeous! So lucky that you have off season fireworks. I can’t wait to see what’s next on your bucket list.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Jacobs - September 6, 2012 - 7:08 pm

    These are AMAZING!!! I have tried to capture fireworks without a tripod too….with no luck! Fireworks are on my bucket list for sure. Your tips are super helpful too so I pinned your post so I can find it when I hear of some good fireworks!!!ReplyCancel