We spent the weekend of July 4 in Bluffton, SC visiting Nancy and Fred, and while we had a wonderful time visiting family (Nancy, Fred, Philip, Geneva, Levon, Ben, and Lucy), one of the highlights of the visit had to be the fireworks show on the evening of July 4.  The show began after dusk when the evening sky got dark, and I had decided that I would photograph the fireworks this year.  We scouted out a good location where we could view the sky and possibly have some reflections in one of the small lakes in Sun City, and I set up the camera and tripod with a full view of the sky toward the fireworks launching area.  I used a wide angle lens (16-85mm Nikkor zoom lens) on the Nikon D300 camera, with ISO of 200 and shutter speed of 3 sec, aperture at f/8.

The show was a good one, with lots of nice color bursts, and the reflection in the lake proved to be a nice color display.  The wind was blowing just enough to ripple the surface of the lake so that the surface reflection was not mirror-like, and the result was an abstract of color that was generally pleasing.  Most of my shots, however, did not include the lake in the foreground because of the ripples on the water.

I took lots of shots, always at 3 sec exposure at f/8, and I developed the raw files in Lightroom 3.4.1 to correct for a slight overexposure.  Were I to do this again I would use an exposure time of 2 sec because the bursts don’t last longer than that and I would set the aperture at f/11 to correct for the overexposure I experienced.  This was a fun exercise and I’m pleased with the images I captured.  I’ll post more in the next few days to illustrate the range of color bursts included in this excellent fireworks show.  By the way, one of the hazards of this kind of work is the inevitable mosquito attack, and it is essential that some kind of mosquito repellant be used in order to allow full coverage of the show.


About Tom

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Appalachian State University.
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