Guy Fawkes Day 2018

Every November my village hosts a bonfire and fireworks party on the green to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. There is a small fun-fare, the pub sells hog roast baps and a couple sell their own home made mulled wine.  For the last few years I’ve been taking my camera up to capture the atmosphere of the event and the spectacular fireworks display. After preperation and research this year, I’m still not thrilled with the photos I’ve come away with (sigh). I have a few photos I like but I haven’t found a technique  to really capture the beauty of the light or magnitude of the explosions lighting up the darkness.

The first year I took photos with my Nikon D40 and tripod, I set the shutter speed incorrectly and ended up shooting a very fast exposure as opposed to a long one. I have now learnt about which direction I want to turn the shutter dial to capture at a part of a second and the graphic showing whole seconds. (Thought I had this down already but hey ho, I do now!)

This year I have my new camera a Nikon D7200, which is fantastic. This camera has many more options than my other DSLR, however I’m yet to become confident in adjusting all these settings for each situation. For example, the basic exposure method is the same of course but I now have ISO sensitivity settings to be aware of as well.

Here are a few of the photographs I took this year that I’m pleased with. These weren’t what I was looking for but the effects are cool.

A fiery mound. Unfortunately health and safety is such that we couldn’t get close enough to the fire to feel it’s immense heat.
This one and the one below make me feel like the coloured light is a wave of sparks. The sharp red darts are accompanied by many tiny shards below giving the firework depth in the sky. (ISO 200, F 9, S 1/4)
(ISO 200, F 9, S 1/3)
(ISO 280, F 9, S 1″)
I really like this one and the next one because you can see the spot where the fireworks are leaping up from the ground. This photo slows down the explosive colour.                     (ISO 100, F 11, S 1″)
(ISO 1100, F 11, S 1″)
I like the way this one is very clean, no smoke from previous explosions and the red streaks all emanate from a central focus point of bright light. (ISO 1600, F 11, S 1″)
In this one, it’s the colourful  light streams that’s interesting. (ISO 4000, F 11, S 2″)
This one is the beginning of my favourite firework. it is very quiet and then after you think it’s coming a BANG and little showers of gold sparkles appear in a huge array. There is a similar one which makes a cracking sound as it does this but my favourite one is silent and looks like individual bundles of golden rain which burst and then slowly fade from the sky. ( ISO 25600, F 11, S 1/160)
I don’t know how this happened. It was only looking back through my photos at home I found this and I like it. I’m drawn to the bright colours on a completely dark background. (ISO 360, F 11, S 1.3″)

The tips I read about for photographing fireworks suggested using a low ISO and manual mode. I’d appreciate any advice for taking photos of firework displays from DSLR camera users. Of course It’s tricky to practice photographing this sort of light when I only see fireworks once a year. But hopefully this time next year I’ll see an improvement.

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