As it turns out, where I live, today is Canada Day, so I will be heading out tonight to photograph this annual pyrotechnics display from a different vantage point.
I should mention, if you are a real fireworks fanatic (like me) the City of Montreal hosts the annual International Fireworks Competition, the largest of its kind in the world, on Isle St Helen, on the site of the former Expo 67. It started last Saturday, June 30 with a magnificent show by China and runs every weekend and some Wednesdays through July. Countries competing include the USA, Australia, England, France and others. More info here:
And just to add a bit of colour to this thread, here's one of my pics from the Boston Fireworks event from a few years ago!
Independence Day Fireworks taken from the Harvard Street Bridge, Boston, Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-70 f2.8D AFS @ 56mm, ISO 200 Exposure 1.7 sec @ f/22
After more than 21 years shooting pyrotechnics displays in cities around the world, including New York, Washington, Montreal, Sydney Australia, Nice in France and more; and also teaching photo workshop participants on how to expose for these unique displays, here are my own personal tips for shooting fireworks, available as a downloadable word doc or PDF - the choice is yours!
#3. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA and Canada Day - July1st!" In response to Reply # 2
Thank you for your gracious compliments
As to the baseball parlance, it was quite popular here when the NBL Montreal Expos played at the Olympic Stadium during the 70s to 90's. Unfortunately since their demise, the term is less used here in the media. Rusty Staub - "Le Grande Orange", where are you...
#6. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA and Canada Day - July1st!" In response to Reply # 1
Thank you for the advice and for sharing your vision (great web site). I live in Montreal and I was wondering whether you would share your favorite vantage points for the Fireworks Festival which just started. I would like to try my hand at it. Thanks for you help.
#7. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA and Canada Day - July1st!" In response to Reply # 6 Sun 03-Jul-11 01:38 PM by voyageurfred
Bonjour Christian - and for others who might visit Montreal this July,
My number one site to view the Montreal International Fireworks is on South shore city of Longueuil, directly across from the launch site on Isle St Helen - at the end of Boul Taschereau (Exit 8 on Autoroute 20). Located on the site of a former steel plant which was demolished to create a huge parking lot - you have great views with reflections in the St Lawrence River, with the city lights, Mount Royal, and Jacques Cartier Bridge in the background.
Parking costs just $7, or you can take the Metro (the underground subway station is marked as M on the map) from many points in Montreal to Longueuil, and walk less than ten minutes along the bike path that runs next to the river, and choose your vantage point. If you are driving, get there no later than 7pm, or you won't be able to park, though earlier is better!
People set up tents and tables, and in typical Quebecois "joie de vivre" fashion (the love of life), party heartily before the main event. Lots of photographers and families here.
You can of course go directly to La Ronde, the amusement park on Isle St Helen run by Five Flags, and shoot from the bleachers, however the tickets are costly, and you might have obstructed views, and if the wind is blowing towards you... smoke in your eyes!
Even those with press passes will find they are restricted in where they can setup. The Longueuil location has none of these problems.
Here's a map of where I like to set-up - X being the shoot location and F denoting where the fireworks are launched from.
If you want to get really close to the action, you can walk up onto the Jacques Cartier Bridge, which is closed about two hours before the fireworks start, creating a six-lane wide footbridge. You will be almost directly above the launch point! Bring ear plugs, water and get their as early as you can - its a popular place, and the views along the walkway fill up quickly.
As mentioned in my first post above, yesterday was Canada Day. As fireworks displays goes, it was a big disappointment - it lasted all of 9 minutes! I came away with maybe three images that I really liked. I think the REAL show was in our nations capital of Ottawa, where a really big event was put on for the visiting Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Here's one from last night, photographed from the Concorde Bridge that links to Isle Notre Dame (see the google map link)
In the photo above, due to the short exposure of just 2 seconds, I raised the ISO to 800, to get more of the background. Initially I set the WB to Incandescent, to achieve a better rendition of the city lights. Later in PS-CS4, in the Adobe Raw Converter, I altered the colour temp slightly to achieve the look I saw at time of exposure.
I should mention, I always shoot in RAW mode to allow easy changes and adjustments later in post production. For more information on how I like to process fireworks images, look for my post in the link I provided in Post 1 above.
#8. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA and Canada Day - July1st!" In response to Reply # 7
Merci infiniment Frédéric,
Your reply is indeed very generous. I will try both the Concorde bridge and the Longueuil locations. Having the cityscape as a back drop is a great plus in my opinion. However living in a city that hosts an iternational fireworks festival is an opportunity not to be missed. Your guidance should make this even more enjoyable.
#9. "RE: Happy 4 th from the Mohave desert." In response to Reply # 0
Nikon D300 Bulb at F8 ISO 100 as suggested by feloow Nikonian .. though i showed up with too wide a lens 24mm f 2.8 and so had to crop a bit. It made a nice 5x7 print on the Epson 2880. Shooting in RAW 14 bit. Boosted colors a bit and chroma. Used color control point in Nikon Capture NX2.
Thanks for the tips !!
AKA : Sal Ficarrotta in some parts of the universe.
#10. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA" In response to Reply # 0
Mira Loma, US
Here are my best shots out of a couple hundred shots. Not bad for my first time if I do say so myself...and I do say so myself! I used the guidlines that Ned provided the link to. I am very pleased with how they turned out and everyone I have shown them to says they are great. If I'm not careful all their praise is going to go to my head and I'll start thinking I'm a professional photographer or something! Anyway, it was a great fireworks show here in GTMO, one of the best I've seen in years although a little shorter than I would have liked. Then again I could sit and watch fireworks for hours and not get tired of them.
#12. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA" In response to Reply # 0
Union City, US
Excellent article Frederick. I would like to add one thing - if taking fireworks photos with a subject in the background, decide if you want that subject to be included and manually focus on that and be sure to check the length of time that the shutter is open to expose it properly to include that background in the image. How much is a matter of choice. Here is the link to photos of the Macy fireworks in NY/NJ full size.
#15. "RE: 4th of July Fireworks - USA and Canada Day - July1st!" In response to Reply # 14
St. Augustine, US
A couple weeks too late to the party but here goes. These were taken at the World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine, FL. D3, 24mm, ISO 200, 5 seconds exposure. The second one I like to call "The Rockets' Red Glare".
Graham From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs