July 4th (ok, 3rd and 4th) Fireworks


Finale from the Altamonte Springs Fireworks

The night didn’t start well

I love photographing fireworks.  They are fairly straightforward to shoot and hardly require any editing – providing you’ve had time to scout out your location, are in a good spot, and all your equipment is functioning properly.  None of which was true Wednesday night in Altamonte Springs.

I got to Altamonte fairly late due to traffic (about 10 minutes before the show was to start) and had the toughest time finding a parking spot. After finally finding a spot (a dark unlit area surrounded by trees I’m sure was from a Hitchcock movie), I decided to make up time by getting the camera on the tripod while I walked).  That worked out great for 17 seconds (give or take) when the sky opened up and every angel in heaven poured water down on Altamonte Springs.

Ok, I got wet, but I had an umbrella and someone lent me a hand as I put the rain cover on my bag.  After I got situated, I ran out in the rain to find a place plant the tripod and setup.  The rain was really a blessing: the fireworks were  now delayed and I had time to try to find a place to park my tripod.

I decided to go up high on the amphitheater behind the crowd.  The spot was decent: high up  and roughly centered to the middle of the lake.   To my left was a palm tree, to my right was an arch.  I thought perhaps I can incorporate the palm tree into my photos as I like to have elements in the foreground.  I got the tripod down, hooked up the wireless remote and tried to fire an exposure…nothing…another attempt: nothing.  It worked sporadically, but not reliably (1 out of 20 attempts).  Great: wireless is out, but I was able to use it as a wired remote so no worries: not as convenient and a bit disconcerting, but ok.

And then things got worse before they got better

I framed up, focused and waited.  It was another 30 minutes or so of people bumping into the tripod and saying sorry before the show started- it happens and you can’t get upset about that kind of thing.  It’s tough for folks to see a tripod especially at night with a lot of people.  If you get mad, it’s because you’re impatient.

After several good jostles the show started and….the fireworks were just behind the palm tree!  Sigh..  Now it’s a mad scramble to move the camera, reframe and refocus.  I ended up moving twice during the show, but things worked out. Here are a few shots from the night.  You can see more of them at the end of the post.

Altamonte Springs Fireworks

One of my favorite bursts from the night at Red, Hot & Boom


I love the red-green christmas colors here

After the show, I managed to forget where my car parked (arrgh), but I found it eventually (I’m so glad I had a flashlight as it was no fun navigating around in the dark).  All’s well that ends well eh?  It’s tough to have shoots like this.  But, I got the shots and that’s what I went there for.  No one sees any of my troubles in the images.

Then Came Winter Garden

Altamonte was July 3rd.  July 4th was in Winter Garden and that night was awesome! I got there a bit earlier and had the perfect spot.  I didn’t have to worry about the remote because I knew it was dead and, I didn’t have to worry about parking as I got dropped-off.

Plus, I ran into some good friends, it was just awesome awesome.  Here are a few shots from that night:

Bouquet burst from Winter Garden's Fireworks at Lake Apopka

Bouquet burst from Winter Garden’s Fireworks at Lake Apopka

I call this one "The Flag Burst" because of the Red White & Blue

I call this one “The Flag Burst” because of the Red White & Blue

I laughed my way through this show (some would say giggle, but no.  I laughed heartily and manly like).  It was just awesome getting shot-after-useable-shot this night without having to scramble to a different spot and reframe.

Below are the rest of the shots form the two nights.  Hope you had a great 4th of July!