If you follow any photography blogs, they probably have a post of ‘Fireworks Photo Tips’ this week. Obviously, this site is focused on photos, so here is my take! Firstly, I enjoy watching fireworks shows. Since it is both an audio, and visual experience, I do not want to spend the entire night concentrating on photos. Thus, I make my setup flexible for me to both capture images while enjoying the show live. As can be seen in the following photo, this is my setup:
At this time, I mounted the camera on a tripod with a 24mm wide-angle lens. Additionally, I installed a remote release so that I could open the shutter without having my hand on the camera. This is the small cord coming out of the left of the camera body. For camera settings, I have the shutter speed set on ‘bulb’. When you have the camera in this mode, you can control when the shutter opens and closes by pressing on the remote release.
With this in mind, I point the camera in the direction of where I think the fireworks will be exploding overhead. With the wide angle lens, there is a good chance that I will get the fireworks in the frame. Moreover, in your post-processing application, you can crop to a nice composition later. Since the backgrounds are dark and the subjects are just streaks of light, these files can handle a lot of cropping.
When I see the firework shot into the sky, I press the remote to open the shutter. Soon after the brightest flash, I close the shutter again to capture the full explosion. You will likely have to spot check during the show to see a result. However, don’t take too long! Adjust your timing quickly so you can go back to watching the show at the same time. Happy 4th!
The cherry blossom have been in full bloom around the DC
Area. This year, they have been particularly beautiful! They have the light
puff ball look with very light colored blooms that really stands out against
the bark of the surrounding trees.
During this time of quarantine, I have been productive in my
home studio. But keeping inside means I have not been going out of the house to
make many photos. I know there are many projects that you can do while staying
at home, but this was the first really purpose-driven photos I have done in a week.
I was inspired do these first by the beautiful cherry tree of our neighbor that
was in full bloom!
Next, I wanted to try the Hi Speed Sync options of the Profoto A1 flashes. This is a new piece of gear that I am still learning. I may be replacing all of my lighting gear to Profoto I the near future. If this does in fact come true, I will be sure to make a post about the reasons for it. But for this quick test shoot, I mounted one of the A1 flashes firing into a Westcott Rapid Box Octa with the outer diffusion panel installed. I did not use the deflector plate as the A1 does not completely fit the cut out for the speedlight on the back of the Octabox. The A1 has a circular face at its output and most speedlights are rectangular.
I used another Profoto A1 as a remote controller for the off-camera light, and it worked right away! The flash could keep up at 1/1000th to 1/8000th of a second, and it was still filling the entire frame with an even exposure. I am anxious to try this setup again as I really like the results. The resulting images were much more in balance with the background compared to an exposure without the flash. I was impressed with this first high speed sync experiment with this gear!
In January, I photographed a project with Kyle McKay from MXK Productions. Mehr and Kyle had a styled shoot based around the song, Speed of Life by David Bowie. In light of his recent death, the shoot was styled with inspiration from his song. Being that I was not available to go to the studio with the production, I did a behind-the-scenes look at them getting ready. However, I was able to setup a small headshot lighting setup to get a quick preview for what was to come later.
Mehr Bano was the primary make up artist that worked on the production. Since there were so many models that had to be done before leaving for the studio, there was a tight schedule to finish. In that case, I photographed as much of the action as it happened. The hair styling, makeup, henna, clothing – there was a lot going on in particular after the basics were done.
Small Headshot Lighting Studio
Whenever a model was ready for the camera, I brought them to a mobile lighting setup that I brought with me. With the limited space, it was one light only. With a black background, I love how these turned out. This shoot was produced in the hope that they would be published. Best of luck to everyone that helped to make it happen!