That’s the way life goes sometimes…

I know I’ve been tardy and downright spotty with reading and commenting on your posts and it’s not going to get any better for awhile you see because…  The microwave and washer both gave up the ghost on the same week.  Microwave is fixed (took two weeks) new washer is coming this week.  I have been having some terrible allergy issues and was bit/stung/attacked by some little beastie which has left a very ugly, red and uncomfortable mark on the back of my leg and ankle – sigh.  While changing the ink in my printer I went all fumbled fingers and now the wall behind the printer is polka dotted; time to paint.  I have to get started on a couple of costumes for Dragon Con and I will be going to visit the kids in a few weeks.  There have been so many fun festivals and events (and movies) that have been occurring each weekend that we’ve been busy having fun as you can see from this photo of me and Frankenstein the motorcycle (from a bike and car show we stumbled upon yesterday) while wearing my Spiderman shirt – movie was great!

And then there’s the matter of learning a new camera – phew!  You can see more up to date things if you follow me on Instagram but other than that I will try and pop into the land of blog here as often as I can until things slow down.  Ignore the DH sized shadow at the bottom of the photo; probably should’ve cloned that out  😉

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Variety is the food truck of life

Amazing how food trucks and the variety of foods they offer are multiplying.  The difficulty is finding the one you want when you want it.  They have a tendency to move around what with those wheels and all 😉

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It’s all about the form

From the looks of these two, I’d say it’s all in the footwork and the wrists.  Photos taken at the Olentangy Summer Blast.

 

 

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Happy 4th

These photos were taken at the Olentangy Summer Blast, a local high school annual event.  I’ve learned a couple of other things from photographing fireworks at the OSB (see my tip post here)  firework displays are erratic.  You never know how high, low, wide or what shape a blast will be.  It helps to have a vantage point that will allow you to capture the entirety of the exploding rockets if at all possible.  In my case, I had nowhere to back up to in order to get a better spot to capture a wider range of the fireworks without being on someones private property… and they had warning tape stretched across their yard.

Have a happy 4th of July and be considerate of pets and people that don’t take well to fireworks.

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Whoa Nelly!

No idea why it was on their shirts but these ladies were making sure that those with a beer ticket got their whistles whetted.

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How to photograph fireworks – Some tips

(The majority of the information in this post was first published in July of 2016 here.  I am repeating it with just a few additional tips based upon photographing this years fireworks. )

Fireworks displays are to be found around the globe as are photographers out there capturing those colorful bursts of light against a dark sky. Here are a few tips that have worked for me for photographing these events.

EQUIPMENT

You will need your camera (of course) and a zoom lens. If you don’t have a zoom lens then a long prime lens will work.  As stability is paramount, a study tripod is needed because you will be working with long shutter speeds.  A monopod will work too providing you can hold fairly still and they do work better when in crowds. A shutter release cable is useful in order to prevent any further camera shake and remember to set out with media cards and a charged battery in camera as well as a backup one.  Bring along a flashlight or a cell phone for lighting because you will be in the dark and need to not only see where you are going but to be able to see the settings on your camera that don’t have a light function.  Having a chair or blanket to sit on while you wait is a good idea and depending on the time of year, insect repellent; you are shooting outdoors.

LOCATION

If at all possible, scout out where you will want to be for taking the photos ahead of time. Fireworks are pretty big so it’s not necessary to get up close and personal with them but you will be competing with other people who want a good view of the display so claiming your spot early might be advisable.  It also helps to know which direction they will be launching the fireworks from… there’s nothing like having your camera pointed towards the left and the fireworks go off to your right.

READY TO SHOOT

  1. You will be shooting in manual so set your camera to manual mode and turn off any image stabilization if your lens has it.
  2. Don’t try auto focus!  Instead, set your focus ring to infinity and point your camera to an area in the sky where you will get the images you want.  This may or may not include trees, buildings and crowds depending on where you are located and what you want your composition to be; you can always adjust this later in Photoshop or whatever editor you use.
  3. Use a slow shutter speed of between 1 to 30 seconds.  After a shot or two you will figure out what works but I found I had to adjust mine for the final display because there was a lot more light going on then which pretty much washed out color and form. Using your cameras bulb setting is another option.
  4. Set your ISO to between 100 and 200 and experiment with your aperture; between f/8 and f/16 is usually suggested.  I varied between f/11 and f/14 for my shots.  I read that someone set their white balance to tungsten while shooting; I left mine at auto white balance and as I shoot in RAW (I strongly recommend shooting in RAW) and adjust later in Photoshop.
  5.  Remember, stability is important so use that tripod, monopod or if you have neither try to find something sturdy like a wall, fence or a post to lean on or against.
  6.  Timing is important when shooting fireworks.  You ultimately want that trail and then the big burst so it’s best to trigger the shutter as soon as you see a rocket going up.

So did I do anything different this year? Yes!  I used my tripod this year instead of a monopod and if I ever find where I put my remote for my camera I will use it next time.  I also brought a flashlight this year so no tripping in the dark.  As with last year, setting my 70-200mm lens to 70mm worked best (I got a pretty good spot fairly close again) with my settings starting at f/11, ISO 125, auto white balance and shutter speeds that ranged from 3 seconds to 4; eventually I went for 10 seconds.  Last year because I used a monopod I didn’t go any longer than 2 seconds; that’s about as long as I could hold still.  What I learned this year from shooting at longer shutter speeds was that sometimes I would get a wonderful overlay of explosions and then there would be shots that because of the combination of my shutter speed and how fast or slow they decided to launch the rockets, I’d miss the full effect of an explosion.  This would end up as an image that captured nothing but the residual smoke or the very tail end of a burst.  And then there was the multi blast finale.  What I  learned from that was it would’ve best to have an F stop somewhere around f/16 because of all of the light.

 

Shot at 4 seconds – good but no trail and barely a multiple burst.

 

 

Shot at 8 seconds – better with multiple bursts and trails.

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Playing with my food

This wasn’t quite what you were envisioning when reading the post title, was it? Today was the annual Olentangy Summer Bash – food trucks, bands, bounce houses and fireworks.  The ice cream cone and I had a nice laugh together and I wished her a melt free day.  I just got back a mere half hour ago and I am tired!

There’s nothing quite like getting bopped in the head a few times by flying June bugs while trying to take fireworks photos.  More photos from the OSB coming shortly.

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