Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Psychological inkblots or fireworks? You decide

So. I have decided it was wise not to kill my boys over the basement flood, even though they might have deserved it. I also forgave them when, a mere day later, my boys were wrestling in the basement and my oldest child put a giant hole in the wall with his knee. (Yay, Dad! Another hole for you to fix on your next visit!)

I have not ruled out selling them to gypsies, however.

But for fun, I thought I'd show you some of my favorite fireworks pictures from this year and tell you how to make some of your own for next year.

I know, it might have been nice to have this information on, say, July 3rd. But what can I say? This is the best you can expect from me this week.

I love taking pictures of fireworks - it's like distorted, colorful works of art that come out gloriously different every time you click the shutter. You never know what you're going to get. Someday I may mount a few of these on canvas and find someplace cool to hang them.

First, your camera must be set to manual for this. For those of you who waste a perfectly good SLR camera by keeping it on the auto setting, turn the knob to the giant "M."

Also, if the previous paragraph applies to you, stop what you are doing immediately. Log on to Amazon, send away for this book, and pray I forgive you for your ignorance.

For those of you who actually know how to use your camera properly, you will be allowed to move on to step two.

Lower your shutter speed until it says "bulb." This is the slowest shutter speed setting and will allow you to manually hold the shutter open for as long as your little heart desires.

You can put your f-stop (or aperture) at whatever you'd like - I played around with mine and found that the wider apertures (or smaller f-stop numbers) worked better as it allowed more light in. I also had my ISO set to 100.

Then, just point at the fireworks and shoot, holding down on the shutter release for as long as you like.

I didn't take my tripod this year, and I wish I would have. Balancing the camera on my knees while shooting in the rain wasn't ideal.

But they turned out pretty cool - each one more different than the last.

And afterwards, it's totally fun to study each picture and find something in the lines, squiggles, and colors. Kind of like a homemade inkblot test of sorts. You can give them to your family for an enlightening night of psycho-analysis. (Get it, en-LIGHT-ening? Okay. Bad pun).

For the record, my children saw food in nearly every picture. What does that say about us?

Is it just me or does that last one look slightly like Daniel Craig? A little? No?

Fine. Party poopers.


Jen said...

I wish I had these tips when I shot my fireworks...they didn't turn out like I'd hoped. Now I'm hungry for some pasta.

Alissa said...

next year try: ISO 100, F14, and an exposure time of 3-4 seconds.

i really like that last one.

Robyn said...

I wish I had a camera to do that! I'm hoping my mom is reading this post and going over to amazon to buy that book. If she doesn't, I'm going to steal her camera the next time I see her. I saw food in all the pictures, too...pretty cool!

Paige said...

Or, you could just set your camera to the "fireworks" setting (really) and get some good ones. I know, I'm annoying.

Michelle said...

Awesome! Thanks for the info. I'll try it out on the 24th.

I need to email you-- I do. xoxo, m

calibosmom said...

I'm proud to say I understood everything you wrote-I just finished my photo classes. I still don't know what I'm doing but practice makes perfect.

Woman Interrupted said...

ISO's....F's all like a fuzzy blur of high school photo journalism class.

I'll just appreciate the *VERY* cool pictures and buy them from your etsy shop.

Your photography, by the way, is beautiful. Great perspective.

queenieweenie said...

Wow. Freakin wow.

the wrath of khandrea said...

i did that last year. and this year. and they look exactly the same as each other, so i probably won't do it again next year. i mean really, how many of these shots do i need?

and honey, if that is daniel craig, i am sorely disappointed at the squiggles. i imagined far more.

Anna said...

great pics, especially the last one of Daniel Craig. I have to say that he needs to start working out again, man he looks all wiggily, jiggily. Maybe you took it from his bad side?

Aubrey said...

Those pictures are cool. Now I need to beg, plead and maybe steal to get myself an SLR and that book so I don't waste all it's features.

Cindy said...

We were hoping to go see fireworks on the 4th... I had the tripod and camera ready. I was hoping to take some pictures similar to yours. We didn't go, however. A little boy got sick... so here's hoping that we can get some cool shots like yours next year!

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Lauren in GA said...

Stie, you are so hilarious. I always think that...even when you are posting about baking you make me laugh. This post was no different. You are funny, lady.

And I happened to enjoy your pun.

We have some dents in our walls from hand to hand combat. I count myself lucky that my house is still standing.

Lauren in GA said...

Although, I do think it is just a question of time before my house is not standing.

Joy & Casey said...

Awesome pics are so amazing! Seriously! Why didn't I turn out as cool as you? Whatever.

Linsey said...

I want to take better photos, but I'm lazy. I'll probably buy the book though because I am easily manipulated. Gorgeous pics and helpful tips, thanks.

Rosie said...

I love your fireworks pictures. You are amazing! Talented! Beautiful! Happy Birthday, America.

Bill said...

When we come to see you next time, we'll probably drive--so, should I get a trailer to carry my tools?

The sick little boy mentioned by Cindy, deposited all his "sick" on our kitchen floor (that beats the carpet in the living room). Luckily for me, his dad was quick enough at cleaning it up that I didn't have much to do to help.