Thursday, July 4, 2013

Photographing Fireworks

We kind of did our celebrating yesterday.
We started with a play date/Independence Day Party for the kids and their friends.
Then we went to see the movie Epic. (It was cute but I'm thinking that if you are going to title a movie EPIC that it should be extremely memorable.)
After that I had Mike drive us around town so I could try out some new ideas with photography.
Then we found a great place to watch some fireworks.

There is a family in town that does there own fireworks every year. They have a huge house with a huge pool and they have a huge party with a band and all. When it gets dark they do fireworks. A lot of people sit in my church's parking lot to watch them but I decided to stop by my friend's house who lives super close to where they were setting off the fireworks. I just wanted to park in her driveway and sit in her yard but she's super kind and invited us to join their little get together.

It worked out fantastically because there were a lot of other kids there so Liza and Jason had little people to play with. We were a bit early so we waited... and waited. The kids all got occupied with catching fireflies for a while. I was wondering when the fireworks would start. It was 9:30 and dark.

The kids eventually tired of the fireflies so we got out some sparklers we had. That worked for a while but the fireworks still weren't going. That's when we remembered that we had glow sticks! So we got those out and passed them around to all the kids and that kept them going once again.

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10:30 and still no fireworks. We were starting to wonder what was going on. Someone heard that the company hired to do them forgot the grand finale and had to go back, a half hour away, to get it. Who forgets the grand finale!? We had no idea when they had left and therefore had no idea when they would be going off. I almost talked Mike into leaving. We saw a lot of people leaving the church parking lot.

Shortly after loads of people left they started up! And it was soooo worth the wait! I don't think we could have had a better seat for the show and my camera was super happy. We were practically right under the fireworks. They were loud and bright and fantastic!

We didn't get home till 11:30 and we all slept in until about 9:30 this morning. It was lovely. We've just been having a lazy day today and are planning a cookout just for us this evening. We're hoping the rain holds off so we can watch fireworks again tonight.

I'm going to add a bunch of my photos that I got last night. I'll share my settings and how I do it.

ISO 400
SS 1.6

I do not use a tripod. I find it restricting and never seem to get good results with it. Instead I hold the camera. I stand with my feet apart and the weight mostly on one leg. I follow the trail of the firework being shot up and then when I think the timing is right I hold my breath and click. 

As for focusing... I leave it on auto focus at first and then check to see if it's good. When it is I switch to manual and leave it there. This probably isn't the most proper way to do it but I've been getting great result by doing it this way.

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(This was one that just went up, made a big flash and BOOM!)

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