I have always been interested in photography and especially capturing fireworks but until recently all I ever really used was a point and shoot style camera. Normally, this type of camera doesn’t give you the best shots. I say normally because, on July 4th I set up to capture the show using my new Cannon T3i and @ihearttampa used her iPhone and captured some pretty good shots of her own.
I attached my EFS 55-200mm (kit) lens to my Cannon T31 and set 55mm (I really don’t know why I chose this length). I set the focus to manual and focused to infinity. I learned this from several YouTube videos I watched in the morning and quickly learned I should’ve watched more videos. It was at this point I thought I was really setting the camera. I moved the selector to Manual and begin to tinker with the shutter and aperture, all I can really say for sure is, I set the ISO to 100. Everything else is a blur and once again I realized, should’ve watched more videos.
Once the first fireworks burst into the air I quickly positioned the SLR in the direction I felt would give me the best frame and composition. I briefly looked into the viewfinder and felt I had the right angle but after reviewing the shots I should’ve spent more time in the framing and composition part of being a photographer. Oh well, live and learn and even with all of the errors I made I still think a few of the over 100 shots I took came out pretty good.
The interesting part of the whole process was that I really thought I set the shutter speed to 2 seconds but when I started capturing the image the SLR just did whatever it wanted to. Sometimes it would shoot less than a second and sometimes it would take almost 30 seconds to capture the image. While it would be nice to know, I really can’t remember if I left the selector in Manual or moved it to some other position. When the show was over I just automatically moved the selector back to [A] Auto, big mistake.
Anyway, below are some of the best images captured during the night. I am pretty pleased with some of them but what is weird to me, some that I felt came out decent have exposure settings all over the place. Anywhere, from less than a second to up to 20 seconds, why?
Prior to the fireworks show I was trying to capture the downtown skyline at dusk. This was my favorite shot of the evening. A view from the USS American Victory looking SW across the channel to Harbor Island, Tampa. Notice the fireworks in the background on each side of the photo.