The photographic explorations of a former film student.

What do You See in Fireworks?

Last week, most Americans spent the evening watching fireworks in one way or another. Most marvel at the colorful bursts that appear and vanish before our eyes. Some of us have a different perspective. Why? We photograph fireworks and therefore become concerned with how the camera records what is constantly blooming and fading before us. When we press the shutter release, we never quite know what we’re going to get.

When I go to a fireworks show, set up my camera on a tripod and wait for the first blasts. After that, I typically pick my final location. Sure I guess when I first arrive, but there’s no way to tell for certain where I need to be untill I see some action. After the adjustments I begin to think about what I’m shooting. Do I want the trails from the launch in this? Maybe I should try to press the button a bit later and get less trail? How much should I let the fireworks drift away? Would a sharper approach give more sparkle? How many blast should I hold the button down for?

It’s hard to guess what to do. Experience helps, but chance is still a major factor in getting a good shot instead of this tropical paradise of chaos, or something worse.



For this one, I’m thinking Mexican fiesta for some odd reason.



Pressing the shutter release just as the fireworks are launched can record a long trail and may result in a flower-like effect.




This combination looks like some weird amoeboid life form or jellyfish.



Ones that come up from the ground in continual streams offer some more predictable possibilities.



Sometimes, I can get a nice patriotic grouping.



Others just come out pretty.





I’m saying goodbye to real fireworks untill next year, but for now I have my unique impressions to enjoy. What do you see when you look at fireworks?


Next Week: Old Playground Equipment  OR Adventures in Stock Photography Part I

I had a brief abstract look at some old playground equipment today, so that might inspire my next post. Otherwise, I may do an informative post on my experience with stock photography so far. I don’t have much information yet, and I’ve not made any money to date, but I can at least share my story and some things I wish I had known from the start (about 3-4 weeks ago?).

10 responses

  1. Nice captures. I love fireworks. With a 4th of July birthday I always thought they were for me! Last year I photographed my family watching the fireworks and just caught their expressions and the glow of reflection in their faces. It was a different perspective for me.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:54 am

    • That certaintly is a good perspective – remembering the time with your family. I have an Uncle and a 3rd cousin born on the 4th of July like you.

      July 13, 2011 at 12:46 am

  2. Neves

    Nice! Stock sound interesting…

    July 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

  3. Gorgeous!!! I love all of them!

    July 13, 2011 at 12:39 am

  4. Your pictures are AMAZING! wow, you are truly talented

    July 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

  5. so pretty!

    July 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

  6. lovely pictures – i have tried shooting firework and gave up – my camera just not as good

    July 20, 2011 at 11:06 am

  7. Tanya

    These photos are stunning!

    August 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

  8. spectacular fireworks shots. I love the ameboid jellyfish! Thanks for the Like, and now I’ve found you.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:39 am

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