In a funk: Fireworks on July 3rd

There’s nothing like fireworks and photo buddies to get you out of a funk. We’ve all been there. You know, you feel blah. It was a 2-week funk for me. I went shooting and tried to process the pictures. I was almost caught up!

During the summer, our local minor league team, the River Cats, shoots off fireworks after every Friday night home game. I probably would have skipped the fireworks so close to July 4th, (especially since there would be other evenings of fireworks) but my All About Photography Toastmasters Club was going, and so was I. We met many photographers from the Sacramento Photographers Facebook group too. Actually it ended up being a fun evening.

I was going to try shooting with two cameras. One would be set up on bulb and the other to shoot regular. But, at the last minute I decided to shoot with one. I tried putting it on bulb with a remote trigger, but didn’t like the results. I took it off of bulb and took out the trigger, shooting individually.

I have some of those shots to show you today. Yesterday on July 4th, we had our usual block party, and I was wearing my camera. One of the guests asked me if I was a photographer, and I said, “Yes, I finally feel I can say I’m a photographer.” That was a defining moment for me. I’ll show you some of those too, but they are not super since we were losing light, I didn’t have a tripod, etc. Also, I didn’t shoot the small fireworks because my dog is totally afraid of the sounds. So we watched TV while the others watched the fireworks show.

And, I’m out of the funk!

 

The waiting game: Fireworks after the River Cats Game

While the minor league baseball team, the River Cats, play baseball, we photographers play the waiting game outside the field. We’re waiting for the game to be over so we can capture the fireworks show. How long do we wait? It depends on how great the game is!

Once a month, the River Cats shoot off firework after a home game. I did this last year, with better success; however, I had help. This evening I was on my own, testing various settings. I wasn’t alone though, there were photo buddies along from the Sacramento Photographers. 

What did I learn? I learned that once you set up and have a great composition, don’t move the camera. When the fireworks started, I saw that the second grouping was further away from the main group of fireworks than I remembered from last year. So I quickly turned my tripod. MISTAKE! I would have done better to edit the smaller grouping out of the pictures and had a good composition. I lost the bottom of the bridge. So I cut in close during processing. If I didn’t mention it, you’d probably think that’s the way I meant it to be.

But, you’re reading this and joining me in my photographic journey. Maybe you’ll be able to learn from my mistake. I’ll be down there again to play that waiting game. It’s all a learning process.

 

Happy Birthday USA

I missed the fireworks at our neighborhood block party yesterday. I was inside holding my Schnoodle, Gem, who was wrapped in his favorite throw. It was the only way to calm him down and stop him from shaking. This is one of the by products of legal fireworks. The noise scares animals.

But, I did get to shoot some fireworks the night before. Linda and I went to the Sun City Roseville fireworks show. We were a little disappointed because most of the beauty was at the tree line with only a few above them. But, this did give us an opportunity to get some light trails along with the bursts.

This was my first time shooting without an expert helping with exposure, shutter speed, etc. I began experimenting with different shutter speeds, leaving my aperture at F/ 14. Also we were closer than I’ve been before, so shooting at 18 mm was a must to gain focus.

The next day, our block party started at 7 p.m. with games. We have more kids on the block now and former residents came to visit. There were more people than I expected. We haven’t been home the last 2 holidays and things have changed.

It was fun, and it was good to see the block full of young kids again. By the time the car race (Each car was powered by Piccolo Pete fireworks.) was over it was almost too dark to shoot the rest of the games, so I put my camera away and just enjoyed–until the fireworks started! Next year, Gem is getting a tranquilizer!

 

Happy Birthday USA: My July 4th

The day before July 4, I was Toastmaster at Skillbuilders Toastmasters. My theme was July 4. Well, it had to be given it was July 3. I didn’t mean to become so emotional, but when I started talking about how I thought we were losing sight of what the holiday was really about and that to many it has become an opportunity for a three-day weekend, I did. I urged our membership to look back and remember the holiday for it’s early reasons, appreciate the country that we have the good fortune to be citizens of, and do what we could to make it better. The look on their faces told me that I was reaching them.

So, on July 4 my photo buddy Marlene and I caught the second half of the Roseville July 4 parade. It was great to see a small town celebrating. When we were in Bridgeport, California, the weekend before, (my next post) the streets of this tiny town were already decorated and waiting for the celebration. I can imagine they also had a parade.

Street photography was next after the parade. The water fountain was on (recycled so it’s okay during this drought) and the kids were having water fun.

Later in the evening we went to a block party in my son’s neighborhood. It was a great party and the beginning of a tradition. This was a chance for neighbor to meet neighbor. That’s sort of keeping with the spirit of the holiday. As if to complete the scene, the sun put on a show as it set. Then came nightfall and tons of fireworks. I discovered that these little fireworks are more difficult to shoot than the large aerial blasts. When I say a ton of fireworks I meant it. There must have been at least $1,500 to $2,000 on the table. This made me wonder about how that investment could have been put to better use.

For those of you who are U.S. citizens, i hope this blog spurs you on to think about our country, it’s founding and why we truly celebrate Independence day.

Shooting in the dark: Fireworks and light trails

I love it when I learn, and I did learn when we went to shoot fireworks. I had good luck when using my old point and shoot by putting it on a special setting. It did all the thinking. When I tried to shoot fireworks with my D3100 it was a mess. I just didn’t know how to set the camera and I didn’t have a tripod.

Fast forward a year and a half, Shoot Or Go Home Meetup group is going the shoot fireworks–A chance to learn. Our local minor league baseball team, the River Cats, have fireworks after their home games. We used the Tower Bridge to set the stage and waited. During that time, Mary, the group’s organizer, gave us a lesson on how to get the best images.

And then they started. We were all anxiously pressing down the shutter button. The show was short and we did our best. I was happy with what I got. What I was not happy with was my camera’s processing length. With a short show, every second of processing time seemed like minutes.

Afterwards, we went to capture some light trails. Since I’ve done that before, I was able to help two other women succeed. So the student became the teacher!

I do love both teaching and learning.