July 4th photography on the Pend O’reille, Idaho

I have been spending some quality time with my son, Scott and his wife, Tonya in North Idaho. Part of the reason being here is to take some photos.   Last night we walked down to Tonya’s parent’s house on the river to watch the fireworks set off by the neighbors.  I have taken photos of fireworks in the past and always followed the rules such as using a tripod and shutter release.  Since we flew here in an airplane, I didn’t bring my tripod or cable release. They were left in Wyoming.  My challenge was how do get some fireworks pictures without a tripod or a cable release.   As it became darker, I kept thinking I should try someway to photograph these fireworks just so I could say I tried. The neighbors were creating a spectacular display which was almost as good as some cities do.  The colors were bright and would drift down in their beautiful burst. I could feel my photo excitement building.

I took out my 35mm digital  Pentax and set the camera for manual exposure and manual focus.  Focusing for infinity usually is good for these long distance pictures.   For those of you not familiar with the B setting, that allows the photographer to keep the shutter open as long as he/s wants.  Usually at this point I’d set the camera on the tripod, screw a cable release in the the shutter and aim and shoot through several burst of color.  A cable release would help to keep the camera steady on the tripod and help reduce camera shake.  Using the shutter release and keeping the shutter open through  few burst  can result in some nice fireworks pictures.

With neither a tripod nor a cable release I knew I’d probably not get any good shots,  so the challenge would be to try anyway and see what happens.  As the night sky darkened, and the fireworks began to be less  I thought I’d better get with it or lose my chance. I just sat there, hand held the camera and clicked the shutter open for several seconds and waited through several bursts.  I tried to hold the camera steady while bracing it in my hands and arms.  I used this method for several different bursts of fireworks while realizing I’d just be lucky to end up with anything I liked.

After many failures and some not much better than failures, the picture below seemed to be the best one.  This is not bad for hand holding using the B setting and holding the shutter open  for several seconds.

This is my first blog post so please forgive me if I was not clear in what I wrote.  Ask questions and comment.


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1 Response to July 4th photography on the Pend O’reille, Idaho

  1. Carol Groecar says:

    Great blog! I took fireworks pictures without a tripod for the same reason. 🙂 Some turned out fairly well, mostly because I took so many. Ha. I set the ISO at 1600 and did continuous shooting. Luckily, my camera is smarter than I am. Ha.

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