Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Firework Pictures

Whilst on a roll with my off-line Blog editor (Zoundry) back working properly again I thought I'd post a few of the firework pictures I took on Saturday night. Here in Cambridge the City firework display was held on Friday, which is of course the proper day for such celebrations. Apparently twenty-two companies sponsored the fireworks with each contributing £1,000 each. But much as I like fireworks I am not such a big fan of standing in a large crowd on soggy ground and have not been to an organised display for some time. When the kids were small we used to go to the Primary School, but small organised displays are getting rarer and many are no more.

I guess the problem is that fireworks are spectacular and dangerous at the same time, which is perhaps why I like them. They need to be treated with respect, but things can still go wrong. Twenty people were hit at a Leighton Buzzard display and more seriously a man was hit in the chest at Lewes Bonfire celebrations. There are apparently six bonfire societies and 40,000 people attended along with over 400 police officers. The issues associated with large crowds probably over shadowed the issues of fireworks. Although the article doesn't say it I wondered whether the injured man was one of the teams letting off fireworks? I won't go on about how dangerous motor vehicles can be this time.

We had our fireworks on the 6th, I know not traditional, but the weather was ideal, damp from the rain the day before, but clear and no wind - ideal for pyrotechnics. The Halloween pumpkin was also brought out and lit - we want to get as much use out of it as possible. Apparently it was getting a bit slimy having rotted a bit since we carved it - but it still looked good at night and gave me an opportunity to try out some night photography.


For the firework pictures I set the camera up on a tripod and pre-focused it to the point I though the fireworks were going to be. Then I took a few pictures with different night settings. I should have RTFMed (read the flippin' manual) for the camera but didn't. A friend brought his camera that had a specific firework setting. I then let off the fireworks whilst my daughter took the pictures.

Don't worry I have only put a few pictures into the Post - we only had a small number of fireworks, mainly multi-shot and we were not too sure what effect we were going to see. The best ones were bursts up in the sky - like this one. I think it was a bunch of whistlers - which is why they have a zig-zag motion in the sky. I think we were lucky with the exposure setting - long enough to get some movement, but not too long to whiten things out.


For the first few attempts we had not quite got the height right. The tree behind the pillar of flame is a beech and pretty tall - around 20-25m with the firework getting to around 40m. I do like the pillar of fire effect though - as if a spaceship is blasting the ground below it with some sort of laser/plasma weapon.


This is almost the sort of picture I like The really good photographs are probably of more powerful Category 4 fireworks. You require a licence to let them off I believe. Here are some nice firework pictures. The website belongs to Cambridge Fireworks and they started off putting on displays at Hemmingford Abotts. I like this picture of one of their fireworks.


We also had a play taking pictures of sparklers being waved around - can you make out what this says? even if you flip it to account for the mirror effect it still does not look like "hello".


I hand-held the camera when taking the sparkler pictures with auto-focus enabled - some the camera managed to focus on some it didn't.


The odd thing is that we all really enjoyed our few fireworks and sparklers and then checking out the pictures afterwards. We also enjoyed our bangers for supper as well.

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