Your 3-day weekend is over. BUT! The explosions. Those live on.
Winner: 15th Floor
I live on the 15th floor of an apartment building, and I am lucky that the fireworks are set off in the field across the street! I am able to set my camera on a tripod while in my own home. This is only my second 4th of July with a camera so I’m really excited with how this shot came out! Nikon 1 v1 camera, 1 Nikkor 18.4 mm lens (50 mm equivalent), I set my camera on the tripod and set it for a 15 second exposure. f/16, ISO 100
Shot on a tripod mounted Sony a6000 with Sony 70-200 F4 lens at 125mm, F10.0, ISO 125, 3.2 second exposure. Cropped and corrected for color and lens distortion in Lightroom. I have owned the a6000 for a week and bought 70-200 lens on the 3rd. It was my first time shooting with the Sony in any low light setting, so I wasn’t optimistic. Just sat with my wife and kids, munching popcorn and pounding the shutter remote. But I ended up with a couple of pretty vivid explosions. I’m looking forward to next year when I’ve had some time to grow into the new gear.
Behind the Scenes
I’ve been friends with, and defacto embedded photographer for, the pyro crew at the local AA baseball club for the last seven years. This has afforded me the opportunity to watch shows from a perspective most never see. And while the bright colors and effects once the shell breaks draws the ooohs and aaahs of the crowd, for me nothing matches the raw ferocity of the lift charge igniting and catching the concussive blast full on in the chest.
It’s that time of the year, this is the my first time shooting fireworks. The contest really made me commit to getting the best shot that I can. I used my Olympus E-PL5 with the kit 40-150mm lens. I zoomed in as closed as I could. Lucky for me the camera has a fireworks shooting mode in the settings.
A tripod was used and it’s a must. I also use a Pixel RW-221/UC1 wireless remote. Did not want to touch the camera. The photo was edited in Adobe Lightroom. I really wanted a dark black sky, I adjusted the contrast and the blacks to really make the colors pop.
This was my first public fireworks show in years, and my first time shooting fireworks with a dslr. The location was on a beach and temperature was a cool 65 degrees with little wind. Fireworks show was slated for 9pm but was delayed until 9:45pm. Sadly, i didn’t stay for the entire show, I wanted to beat the traffic at the end. i thought this picture came out pretty neat and was worth braving the night bugs on the beach! Canon T5i, 18-55mm MF, iso 100, F16, 5 second shutter speed, no tripod.
The fireworks show is provided annually by a golf course near the house. The image was captured with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS9, and resized in Paint.net 4.0.5.
Out of over 50 images taken, this one filled the frame the best.
Fireworks In Space
I recently got into photography and really wanted to get some cool shots of the fireworks on the 4th. So I read a bunch of stuff on the internet about it and then the 4th finally rolled around. My husband, two toddlers and I were at a free city event where I sat up my tripod and took some pics. I was pleasantly surprised by the results. This one looks like an exploding star in space or something. Those aren’t stars even though they look like it. Just sparks. Also, my baby slept through the show. Canon Rebel EOS T1i, Old metal Tripod from father-in-law, F/14 ISO: 100, Shutter speed: Bulb 3 seconds, 35-80 mm kit lens
The Fireworks over the national mall in Washington, DC as shot from the Netherlands Carillon near Arlington National Cemetery. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 70-200mm/f2.8 lens. f8.0, 135mm, 2.5s, ISO 200.
It was hot, with a slight breeze, which is kind of weird for Wisconsin...lol. Anyway, they canceled fireworks in my city, something about the people were too old. Well my three kids aren’t too old so we heard these fireworks were decent. Went to the beach (about a 45 minute drive), went for a swim, watched the youngest son dump someone chips out on the sand (they weren’t mad). Well when the fireworks were ready to start, already had my camera and tripod set. Fiddled with the settings a bit and used some fill flash to add some people in the foreground, thoughts this was the best. Nikon D7000 w/ 18-105mm lens, Manfrotto tripod, Wireless shutter release, 4sec., ISO-100, f/7.1, 48mm focal length
This photo was taken in Arlington, TX on July 3, 2015. It was an excellent fireworks display. This particular photo was an 8 second exposure a f/11 at a focal length of 55mm, ISO 100 on a Canon T3i.
Cleared For Takeoff
I’m still fairly new to photography as an art form, so I naturally began the evening by taking a series of uninspired photos with a single firework per shot, zoomed out to include lots of dead space. After a while, I got to thinking. Fireworks, in my opinion, are best when you are close enough to feel the concussive blast in your chest. So if I like getting my body close, why not get the photo close? I zoomed in and immediately started getting shots that were much more interesting.
My favorite shot from the night is “Cleared For Takeoff”. The arching lines radiating from central points reminded me of a map of airline routes tracing over the white dots of cities at night. Shot at ISO 200, f/14, 1 second (manual bulb)
Elitch Gardens in Denver had fireworks scheduled for 10pm on the 4th. I figured I could do some nice shots with downtown Denver in the background, so I decided to drive to the Highlands area of the town with my family, enjoy the fireworks and take a few photos. I did some fireworks in Vail last year, and while I loved them, lack of any interesting background made the photos boring. This year, I decided to change that.
I used my Canon 6D, Canon 16-35L IS f4, Manfrotto 190XL tripod, and a cheap remote trigger. I timed my photos anywhere from 4 to 15 seconds. I had ISO at 400 for some, 640 for others.
This particular photo was done at 35mm, 11 seconds, F13, ISO 400 in bulb mode- full specs here.
Its always fun to mess around with the length of the exposure for this stuff, thats when you get a shot that you don’t actually see in front of you. One of the downsides to long exposures with fire works is that the light is cumulative, the more explosions in the same part of the frame just adds more light to that area and everything gets brighter and brighter until its too bright, so a good long exposure is luck, where several areas of the frame get just enough of an explosion and you get a good exposure. This photo worked out nicely, I like the way you can see the barge everything is coming from as well as the smoke from the launch. The fireworks were launched from a barge on the water, you can see the tug boat with blue lights on the left. The whole thing arrives less then an hour before it starts to go off. I have a lot of close up shots of the explosions but this framing kind of shows the mechanism of the show, a little Brecht in the evening. I used no photoshop because photoshop is immoral, this is how it came off the camera. Nikon D5100, 18-200mm zoom. ISO 100, F29, 25 second exposure.
Fireworks On The Lake
Private show over Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, NH. Canon T3, EFS 18-55mm, f/4, ISO 800, Exposure Time: 2 sec.
For the 4th of July, the better-half suggested we watch Tampa’s fireworks from the SS American Victory which is a Victory class Merchant Marine ship that was put into service towards the end of World War II. The American Victory, now docked in Tampa, serves as museum and is one of just three such ships that are still fully operational and seaworthy.This is, arguably, the most patriotic place to watch Independence Day fireworks from. It is certainly the most patriotic place I’ve ever watched them from, even better than seeing the fireworks over the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Being Florida in the summer, it can rain at any time. Sure enough, two hours before the fireworks were to begin, a thunderstorm formed right overhead. As the storm started to pass, we made our way up to the flying bridge, the highest publicly accessible point of the ship. We braved rain and a spectacular lightning display outside on the bridge while the fireworks were delayed for 45 minutes due to the storm. The barge that the fireworks were being launched from was just off the bow of our ship; we were about as close as you could legal be to the launch area. For those of us who foolishly rode out the storm high up on the bridge, we were rewarded with the best seats in the city for the fireworks.
This shot is from the start of the finale. I framed it so that the foremast, it’s masthouse, and some of the ship’s cargo rigging in the foreground obscured the fireworks just a bit to add some depth to the lights lining the waters of the Port of Tampa. I took the picture with our Nikon D3100 with it’s 18-55mm lens. It was set at ISO 800 with a 1/60 second shutter at f/3.5 and focal length on 18mm. I ran the RAW file through Photoshop CS6 to make some minor tweaks to the exposure, contrast, and white balance. I then cropped out part of the empty night sky as I was shooting in portrait format at the time and needed to make it more concise.
Here’s a shot from Front Street on Maui. They have a big celebration that shuts down the street for 4th of July. There’s basically a boat between Lanai and Maui that shoots off fireworks for a good 30 minutes. Twas awesome. Shot with my Sony RX100.
I was walking home along Alki Beach in West Seattle on the Fourth of July when I noticed a pair of bright “stars”. I searched online and found the io9 article about the Venus and Jupiter conjunction. Everyone on the beach was looking east toward the big fireworks show in Seattle, but I kept looking back west at the planets. The firework in the photo is from the Bainbridge Island show across the Puget Sound from Seattle.
I’m in NC on Lake Norman for the week to be Best Man in my friend’s wedding. I’ve done this shooting challenge in the past and instantly knew how I wanted to get my shot this year. The angle I wanted required me to be so low that a tripod was out. After a few failed attempts, I finally nailed it while laying down in the grass with my arm supporting my head and my camera. When the fireworks started, I framed it, squeezed the shutter and held my breath. After the first few fails, I didn’t think I would land the shot. I’m having the picture blown and framed for the couple. Congrats Brandon and Vindhya!!! Shot with a Canon 7D Mk. I, 28-135 f3.5-5.6 USM
Well, looks like there’s no fireworks around here this year. Taken with a Canon 60D, fully automatic.
Brian C Hall
There are some amazing photos in this batch. It was superbly difficult to be forced to pick a winner. Thanks for everyone for participating. Look out for a new challenge tomorrow.