Last week I talked about long exposures and mentioned that I was going to photograph some fireworks on Guy Fawkes night. Given all the comments I received (mainly through emails and on google+) I started to feel a little under pressure to produce something spectacular. Never a good thing to be nervous about making a complete plonker of yourself.
Anyway, as the sun set I was happy the rain had stopped and it felt a lot warmer than expected. I slung my tripod over my shoulder and headed off. I’d not been to this display before so didn’t really have much of an idea what to expect. Oh I thought there would be a safety area, and lots of kiddies running around with sparklers, but not really much more than that.
This is my favourite shot of the evening. I’ve nicknamed it ‘The Firework Chicken’
ISO100, f 5.6, 1 second, focal length 18mm
I arrived fairly early and tried to work out the best place to stand, initially by watching to see where people were congregating to claim a spot. Then I used the tripod (‘Are you ok with this here? It’s not in your way is it?’ – even though I knew full well I wasn’t in anyone’s way) to strike up conversations and pump people for some info on what had happened previous years. Kids were the best for this, delighting in telling me all sorts of stories. You’ve got to be a bit careful when speaking to kids though, so I always make a point of including their accompanying adults in the conversation as well. Everyone was friendly and a few people asked about settings (all blokes I might add, who then nodded sagely when I explained as if they knew what I was talking about).
The bonfire was lit first and at this point I was wishing I’d brought a longer lens. I wanted to zoom in more for the shots. I knew, however, that I would need the wider lens for the fireworks and hadn’t wanted the additional worry of taking my camera bag. I’ve heard it said by a few pro’s that you should always carry x, y, z, and to hear them talk they must lug huge bags about everywhere. However, I’m on the weedy girlie side of butch, add a sprained ankle into the mix and I definitely needed to travel light!
Fortunately my gut feeling on which lens to take was confirmed when the display started. All of these images are single shots, not composites. I have nothing against composite images but given the subject I don’t really feel it’s appropriate here. All the images were taken on ISO 100 and my f stops ranges between 2.8 and 5.6 with shutter speeds between 0.5 and 3 seconds.
Unfortunately this shoot seems to have been the swan song for my beloved Canon 10D as earlier this week I had it out again, and it looks like it’s come to the end of it’s long life. Now every time I take a shot I receive an error code, ‘error 99’, which according to the internet is a general something has gone wrong message. I’ve tried a few things but none have worked, so it looks like I’m going to be looking for a new DSLR. However, following my own advice I’ll be looking for a second hand one, but, I’ll be staying with Canon as there is nothing wrong with my lenses. That said I still have a load of images to process from earlier in the year, not to mention more fireworks shots) so I won’t be getting bored photographically.