0 Fourth of July Fireworks
- by Frank Fantini
It's been several months since I started my treatment for my colon cancer, but I managed to enjoy July 4th. After being cooped up in the house just staring at my newly purchased Nikon D850, it was time to try it out. July 4th rolled by, and I received a call from my friend Phil, who lives in East Rockaway. He had invited me to his house to check out the fireworks and relax on his boat. This was the perfect opportunity to take the photography beast on a test run.
Unfortunately, the widest lens I had in my arsenal was the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4Di; this would have to do. Among the other items I purchased earlier this year was the Sirui p-424SR monopod. I usually don't use a monopod often, but after the 4th, I'll probably will. A few things about the Sirui p-424SR its maximum height is 63" and its minimum is 29". It can separate into two different uses. The smaller version is known as a "stand spider." It's a short stand in case you need to put it on a table or desk. The monopod comes with two types of feet, a removable rubber foot, and a removable aluminum foot. The monopod has three legs that fold out at the bottom and are sturdy enough to hold up 26.5 lbs. Just remember there are two types of the same monopod. The differences are in the material they are made from, one is made from carbon fiber, and the other is from aluminum.
The night was starting to surround us, and I could hear the loud bangs from the fireworks. These folks were anxious to get the action started. I never understood why some people would even light fireworks before sunset. Wouldn't you want to see it in its full glory? Around 9 PM, we decided we should take a walk and find an excellent spot to view the show. Fireworks surrounded us, but I was looking for a good composition. A good photographer is a master of composition and lighting. Finally found my spot near the start of the canal and quickly set up.
I swiftly extended my monopod and mounted my camera onto the monopod. I also attached a cheap but effective third-party shutter release cable to the ten-pin port in front of the camera. At the end of the canal was a white house where you could view the fireworks bursting above. That was my composition; I could capture the burst in the reflection off the water and still view the night sky. Before doing this, I had minimal experience; it's not like I live at Disney World, where I can take a photo shot of fireworks every night.
You can view all the images of that evening in my gallery here. All the photos were shot at f/11, ISO 100, and the shutter was open for four seconds using the shutter release device. Timing is the one key thing to remember when shooting these types of images. You must press the shutter button when you witness the projectile reaching a certain point in the sky where you know it will explode. Also, try never to use the shutter button on the camera because you will cause the camera to shake and show movement in the photo. It took a few takes to get in the groove of the timing of the fireworks. Release the shutter before the fireworks disappear and disperse from the sky.
Luckily with the Nikon D850 and its dynamic range, we regain many details from the dark. The images were taken in RAW, and I was able to do all the work in Adobe Lightroom. In Lightroom what I did with one image I did to all images. I corrected the white balance to around 8900 kelvin. The exposure was increased between 1.00 to 1.40 on average depending on the image. I also increased the contrast since I prefer my images to have that high-contrast look to them. There were a few images in which a lady was standing by the sidewalk so I just removed her in Adobe photoshop. And that's it hopefully I can do this again next year in a different spot. I'll have more opportunities with this camera before the Summer is up.