Monday, November 14, 2011

What more fireworks?

Saturday 12th November: I don’t go to Ely for ages and then I turn up there two days in a row and what’s worse I end up driving both times.

One thing I did notice was that convoys of cars travel much more closely than the two-second rule. Try it the next time out are out driving. It is further than you might thing  - and yet that was one of the things that was drummed into me when I took my driving test – stopping distances. The trouble is it was really just a set of numbers without necessarily any feel what what was an appropriate gap when driving. Which is why I like the two-second rule.

What we also noticed was that some cars seemed to try to hop/overtake there way up the convoys of car – for minimal gain and yet probably significantly increasing the danger to themselves and the other motorists around them. More of that in another post.

I haven’t been to an organised firework display for some time. It was quite a few years ago when the primary school my kids attended used to run something – but that petered out. I am not sure whether it was the insurance risk or the hassle for the PTA in terms of getting suitably qualified volunteers to marshal the even and to let the fireworks off.

I have been to the Cambridge fireworks display once, but there were hoards of people and being flat the hassle was just to much. Quite a while ago I used to live in Northampton and they used to have an even in Beckett’s Park. Which is on a slope with the River Nene along the back and was a natural amphitheatre.

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This time around some friends had recommended the Ely XT firework display and so we had arranged to meet up and then go on for a curry afterwards. The even in held on Cherry Hill, just by the Cathedral. Although looking at the OS map is is called The Park and the OSM map suggests one side is Cherry Hill and the other is the Dean’s meadow. There is a small entrance charge – but I felt it was pretty reasonable

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We had arranged to meet near the Arch on Back Hill but we parked down the bottom end of Broad Street and given in our tickets at the bottom of The Park and so then we resorted to mobile phones. Which also failed us – for some reason we were unable to contact them. Either my wife has a problem with her phone or perhaps the cell basestation couldn't support so many users. So we perched ourselves partially up the hill, not really knowing where would be the best place to stand and waited.

I On the way from the car park to The Park there were various vendors selling gimmicks, which appealed to my wife!  When we got home I pointed out the advice in the link – not to buy from unlicensed vendors.

First they lit the fire at around 6.15pm with the plan being to light the fireworks at 6.45pm. Did I mention I took my camera – I was going to take my tripod as well – but that would have been a bit too geeky so I was hoping to find a fence or tree to steady the camera. I didn’t and so had to rely on standing very still.

Here is the bonfire.

As you can just about see in this wide-angle picture there were trees around the park and loads of people.

We were some distance away 50-100m I would guess and we could still feel the warmth of the flames.

Whatever they put on the fire is must have been pretty dry as it burnt quickly.

After a slight delay to allow people to get into The Park the display started. At first I was worried it was going to be rather tame – with short fountains being used to start things off. It quickly got better.


It also turned out we were in a good place to see the fireworks and I started clicking away.

There were several problems, keeping the camera steady, focusing and getting the right shutter speed. One of the advantages of a digital camera is you can see the results when you try different approaches. I was also hoping to get more of the Cathedral Tower into the the pictures as well – maybe next time.

The Cathedral has a wooden Octagon, the original stone tower was too heavy and collapsed. It is apparently covered in lead though.

The hardest bit was framing the fireworks and then holding steady.

t times the amount of light was tremendous – and quite a few pictures were more of smoke than fireworks.

I am happier with these than the ones I took at home though.

Here is one that shows just how bright some fireworks can get.

Quite a few were also way out of focus as I experimented.

I do like the ball of spikes effect in the sky. As luck would have it the trees around the edge also help to give some sense of scale.

The colours weren’t quite as vibrant in the pictures – the white trails tend to bleach out the colours I think.

As you can see there was a plentiful supply of fireworks – it was really good and nicely positioned for the crowd to see.

Two must have exploded together, or maybe three.

There were a few like this that exploded and then there were lots of small clusters in the sky.

Towards the end it was difficult getting one type of explosion in the frame so many were going off.

The crescendo grew and with each explosion there was an echo in the distance.

Another of those cluster.

And another.

As I type this I wonder perhaps I should have been a little more selective with the pictures I put into the Post.

Perhaps the ones that didn’t quite fit into the frame should have been left out.

This one was just in though.

As one dies away several others fire up into the sky.

Afterwards we had an excellent curry, although I was a little surprised to see an ambulance tending to a drunk girl, although it might have been food-poisoning. Not from our restaurant though.

There were around 12 of us eating and we had a guess as to the cost – my guess was much too high – eating out in the sticks is noticeable cheaper you know.


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