Pyro Photo Blaster…Failure PA?


I’m wondering if I looked like a “pretty cool photog” last night. *laughing* No, I was lugging around a fair amount of gear–and at least a couple of things highly visible that were unmistakable!

Yesterday was Victoria Day (as in, we have a holiday to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday…because Canada and Britain…) Well, I’ll spare you the history that many of you probably know already.  Nonetheless, we always have fireworks! W00t! PA loves fireworks!

I didn’t want to go out, though.  Something happened that made me sad.  Although, when you realize you have no control over life…

You have no control over life. *PA simultaneously sighs and rolls eyes*

However, plans had already been made, so, best to carry on with them.  Said plans were to have dinner and then shoot the fireworks with J. and his friend B.  They came down around 1700hrs or so and really, pointless to lug around “the gear,” so leave it at my place (and theirs in B.’s car) until it got dark.

I told the boys exactly where we going to set up, shoot and why.  They wanted to go directly to the site and I said, “No!” There will be way too many people (almost like everyone wants a “front row seat”) there will be massive foliage in the way…other things I didn’t bother to mention is that your angle will be ridiculous, lenses won’t be wide enough…

I live near water.  I said we are going to go directly down to the beach, right beside the lake where we have a perfect sightline.  The distance is just fine for all of the lens variations we have and yes, we are going to just shove our tripods damn, hard into the sand!

NOTE: If anyone out there is considering buying a tripod, look closely at the “feet” at the bottom of the legs.  There should be some “twisty” knobs.  Twist them and make sure there are little, “pointy” things there.  Any good tripod should have them.  This is exactly for said purpose above or any other soft surface! You need them for stability!

So, we get there and then begin the shenanigans of PA! I brought both my Digital SLR and my Film SLR–thus, requiring my two tripods! Well, it was beginning to get dark so I was trying to move pretty fast.  I always forget this! For attachment to the tripod mount, a Canadian dime (10 cent piece) is needed! I’m scrounging around in my pockets and whew! I had one!

Tripod “sand slamming” and balance! Keep slamming! Okay.  Visual acuity or focus (I’ll get to that as you are shooting on a Manual Setting) lens distance, composure (I can’t see! It’s getting dark!) Not to mention, trying to gauge just where the fireworks would end up in the sky so the angle of positioning! While I was still setting up, I noticed J. having a cigarette.  I thought, ‘Oh, good idea! Let’s have one before all of this gets going!’ OMG.  I just about set myself on fire while still setting up and turned myself into some Pyrotechnical Explosion! Hey, guys! Take a picture of me! KABOOM!

Done? It looks like I’m all ready to go.

I mentioned above about focussing and shooting on a Manual Setting.  When you shoot “in the black of night” and you don’t generally know what the hell you’re getting in terms of light, there is a setting on SLR cameras called: “bulb.”  It is only used with a Manual Setting (as opposed to Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority–they give the camera the option to compensate for either of the two that you do not select.)

“bulb” will just let the lens stay open for as long as needed to capture enough light required to expose your image.  Then, voila! As dark as it is, just wait for enough light from your subject to gather while the shutter is open and you have your picture–theoretically. *laughing*

Now, I haven’t done this in a very long time and I haven’t done much of it, either.  Not to mention, I lost my cable release for my Film SLR to make life easier (be careful about touching anything–camera shake!) I also don’t have a cable release for my Digital SLR! As a result, I was bouncing back and forth between both cameras on tripods, manually pressing the shutter release buttons in a complete frenzy! *PA laughing again*

I don’t think my Digital SLR liked: “bulb.”  In retrospect, I probably should have gone Aperture Priority and just kept it wide open? Perhaps that may have worked out better? Or maybe some definite camera shake in “bouncing” back and forth? Cable release needed?

Oh, the images from my Digital SLR! J. and I were just killing ourselves! There may be a few that are alright but I am a very precise and persnickety photographer! I mean, a lot of them just look like these wild and crazy “hairy things!” Fireworks on acid? There is one that, to me, visually looked like a bunch of sperm swimming away from an ova.  I was like: “NO! You two people should not procreate!”

My Film SLR? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see about those ones, yes?

Still, another holiday involving fireworks is coming up: Canada Day.  Another chance, there? And some time to purchase cable releases!

I shot fireworks from basically the exact location many years ago and I know I got some pretty decent ones.  Again, though, it was years ago.  I should still have them and the negatives.  I’m going to have to dig them out.  Take a look at what on earth came out before!

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