Dec 29

Independence Day

by in Photography, Postcard Valet

Independence Day

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Six months ago, I took my fancy-schmacy 8 MegaPixel digital SLR out to take pictures of the Independence Day fireworks show.  Except for leaving my cable release at home, I was completely prepared.  The weather was clear, I had a tripod, and thanks to a friend, we established ourselves in the perfect vantage point: The top floor balcony of the Juneau Public Library.  We had an unhindered view of the channel and I had more than enough time before the show to test out different exposure settings. The above picture is not from that night.  The half-assed snapshots I took in 2004 came out far better. After looking at them, I think it’s because I was exposing for what I saw that night rather than exposing for an aesthetically pleasing fireworks photograph.  It never gets truly dark during the summer in Alaska, so the sky was still bright when the fireworks started at midnight.  I thought the cold blue of the sky was great and exposed my pictures to keep it intact.  Unfortunately, the fireworks were brighter and when the blue of the background sky was kept, the fireworks themselves couldn’t avoid being overexposed. The photo above was taken with a 3-MegaPixel point-and-shoot.  Of course, I didn’t just point and shoot with it; I know how to use the PowerShot s30’s manual controls.  But the shooting conditions were less than ideal, that night.  It was a drizzly and my “tripod” was a staircase railing up on the hillside.  My pivot head was a quarter.  And yet… so many of the pictures turned out that it was difficult to choose a favorite from a directory full of 4th of July photos. Because of the rain, it was dark enough that night that I didn’t even notice the tree on the left until after the first picture was displayed on the LCD screen.  Even choosing my focus point was difficult — I had to wait for the light from the next explosion before my camera could auto-focus again.   Despite all that I got good pictures!  The sky is nice and dark (but still with a tinge of blue), which accentuates the colors of the fireworks.  The silhouette of the tree definitely adds to the composition.  Even the smoke trails seem to align within the rule of thirds.  Lucky, I guess. Canon Powershot s30 Date: 4 July 2002 Focal Length: 12.3mm Shutter: 6 seconds Aperture: F/3.5 Photoshop: Cropped from 4:3 to 3:2, Minor color correction

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Welcome to Postcard Valet

Postcard Valet is a travel blog and video podcast by Arlo and Oksana Midgett. They just returned to Juneau, Alaska, after almost three full years of travel and living abroad. Many of their stories, photos, and videos have yet to be shared...

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