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Tue, 05 Jul 2005
Fourth of July photography

Every year on Bainbridge Island there is a parade on the 4th of July. The island is small enough that it's a very local affair, and you are likely to see a few somebody's that you know marching across your path. This year, I tried using the parade as a photography exercise.

Bainbridge Island Fourth of July Parade

The full Flickr set is here. I took quite a few more shots than this, but a lot of them suffered from shutter lag problems, or my waiting just a moment too long to snap the picture. It was a good experience for me because it forced me to try to think quickly about what kind of shots I wanted to take, and the feedback from the digital camera also helped me realize the shots that I wished I had taken.

Later in the day, some friends who live on the water invited us over to watch some fireworks. They also invited a bunch of other friends, many of whom showed up loaded with fireworks. Growing up on the East Coast, there were only a few times that I saw live fireworks, and those were always professional displays. There are always a few folks in our neighborhood that like to shoot off fireworks on the 4th, but the proximity to houses puts a damper on the kinds of fireworks that you can let off. The story is totally different by the water, and many of the island's beaches are the site of amateur displays.

Inspired by some articles from Lifehacker, I set out to try and capture some of what folks were doing.

Fourth of July Fireworks

I didn't use a tripod -- not that it would have helped, since the various fireworks were going off in random parts of the sky (I never would have been able to swing the camera around fast enough to capture anything). There were quite a number of exposures that I didn't get because the camera would try to autofocus and during that delay, the burst came and went. During some of the longer bursts, I also ran into this problem. I belatedly remembered that the camera does have a continuous shooting mode, but I forgot about that while I was shooting. Besides, I was also talking to people, explaining things to the girls, and so forth, so I wasn't totally focused on just photographing the displays. The other thing that I ran into was being unable to control the shutter duration. Lack of a bulb mode made it hard to capture individual bursts. I ended up setting the camera to 1 second delay for most of the shots, and that worked for a decent number.

People who saw what I was doing asked me if I was actually able to catch the fireworks on camera. I was as surprised as they were that I actually caught bursts most of the time. There were a number of scenes of blue or black sky, but I felt lucky that I did catch a decent number of bursts.

The full set of fireworks is here.

[23:41] | [places/us/wa/bainbridge_island] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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