Fireworks and the Eiffel Tower on the 14th July 2010. HDR of the Parisian panorama taken from Chatillon.
As I promised on many blogs and forums, I was going to go shoot the 14th July fireworks by the Eiffel Tower. I scouted out a spot in Chatillon, near my home and came 1 hour early, as I was the only one present there was obviously something odd. I realized afterwards what it was, when we’re close to fireworks we think they are so huge it is impressive. But when we’re a little further away we realize it is hardly that big – to my astonishment these “huge” fireworks definitely aren’t that “huge” from a few kilometers away.
To make this shot I combined a few photos. One HDR that I took about 10 minutes before the fireworks started (as the Eiffel Tower was still lit) and then the same shot a few minutes later when the tower wasn’t lit and the fireworks had begun.
A few tips on shooting fireworks:
1. Fireworks are not as large as they seem. So get spot that isn’t too far away – I would estimate 1km is good (4km is too much).
2. Put the camera in Bulb mode, and when you see the rocket fire, press the trigger (remote is imperative for this) as soon as the explosion is done release the trigger. You need to be quick as the next explosion is coming up and if you don’t watch out it will become one large blur of light.
3. Smaller fireworks in villages are probably better to shoot since the rockets will be fired off with a few seconds between each. Large fireworks like this one in Paris are almost continuous so trying to get some single explosions is nearly impossible – and you end up with a large ball of light.
4. Shoot an HDR image just before the night is totally dark so you get a nice dark blue sky. Once the fireworks start you’ll have smoke everywhere and a pretty messy looking sky which is quite ugly. Then mask in the fireworks into your HDR.
5. Avoid shooting from a wooden bridge (like me) where anybody walking by shakes the entire bridge.
Well promise delivered – I did my fireworks shot and next time I will try it from somewhere else. I took this photo from the same bridge as this one: http://martinsoler.com/2009/10/26/panorama-view-of-the-eiffel-tower-and-la-defense/