In our town, every year, on the third of July, a small fireworks display takes place. Of course my mind immediately goes into Photography mode. There is a big plus and a big minus to my point-and-shoot for fireworks…
PRO: It has a fireworks setting! (yay? maybe not…)
CON: The fireworks setting has a really, painfully long exposure time.
For those of you who don’t know, exposure is how long the shutter is open when taking a picture. It controls how much light goes in. Obviously, in perfect daylight, the shutter speed is quick as lightning because the natural lighting is ideal for a clean, crisp photo. However, at night, the exposure is much longer because there is less light. If you look at a photo taken at night and there is no up-front, non-light subject up front and if flash is off, instead of what you want the picture will look like, you’ll get a lot of light streaks.
Now, for someone like me who owns a resource website, light streaks, or light stocks as I call them on my site, are awesome and really quite handy with graphic designing. All I wanted though last night, was a nice, clean shot of a firework. That didn’t happen. But I did get theses:
Now obviously these have been doctored in photoshop so don’t be discouraged if they don’t come out quite as dramatic in their raw, out of camera form. Now, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “what the heck can I do with a blurry firework shot?”
Here’s what. I turned this boring, average backyard shot from January…
Into a beautiful, interesting Fourth of July night over the vineyard…
For this photo, I brought the brightness way down and the contrast way up. Then I added a gradient of light blue to a darker blue for the horizon-like night sky and I set that layer on Overlay. I then set up my fireworks where I wanted them and put both layers on Screen to get rid of the black backgrounds. Finally, I included a Selective Coloring filter to make the bright reds and yellows of the fireworks pinks and golds.
Happy Fourth of July!!!