Fireworks Outtakes

My recent blog post was about one of last year's fireworks in front of my home. Today I want to share some photos of that fireworks that demonstrate the difficulties with this kind of scene.

Smog can completely ruin your shot. One major rule for shooting fireworks is to take care of wind and wind direction. Fireworks produce a lot of smog. The heavier the explosions are the thicker the smog becomes. If there is only little wind, the smog is not blown away and gets even thicker. I take all my fireworks photos at the higher elevation of my balcony. That's why I'm quite helpless regarding wind. The following scene would have been really nice with the overall shape of the fireworks and all these tiny sparkles. But the heavy and thick smog in front of it completely destroyed the scene.

55mm  f/5.6  1sec  ISO100  -2EV

Another difficulty with fireworks scenes is getting the right focal length. The fireworks that are shot here in front of my home are composed of series of different scenes. Some parts look like fire fountains and they go not very high above the ground. Other scenes are huge explosions that were shot high into the sky. If you want to get all the scenes well framed you have to change focal length from time to time. The difficulty  here is that you cannot predict how high the next scene will go. Here is one example what can happen if the fireworks changes from lower action to higher explosions. It would have been again an amazing scene with all the golden sparkling twirls, but my focal length was too long.

41mm  f/7.1  5sec  -2EV

The third challenge is similar too the focal length. Fireworks consisting of various different scene do not only change their height, they do also differ in brightness. This requires a constant adaptation of aperture and/or shutter speed. To make my life easier I shoot fireworks in semi-automatic mode, either aperture priority or with with fixed shutter speed. The camera calculates the other parameter automatically depending on the current light conditions. This has the advantage that all the photos are taken with various exposure durations and therefor the fire lines of the explosion differ in length. But, the disadvantage can be completely misexposed photos. Like this one. It is the start of a new scene. The scene was initially dark when suddenly the action started. Due to the overexposure the scene looks like an heavy and dangerous explosion.

23mm  f/3.5  0.6sec  -2EV

The next fireworks here at the river bank in front of my home are coming soon. I'm sure there will be a lot of outtakes again but, if I get at least a few good shots I will be happy.

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