Fourth of July 2020

Fourth of July 2020

Catching up with fireworks photos

Since the fourth of July looks a little different this year, I decided to go all out with sharing my work from previous firework shows. It has been a lot of fun going through my older photos to see the mistakes and lessons I’ve learned along the way.

2016

I was not sure if I would actually ever share these. But, these are my first attempts, and I am taking the opportunity to reflect and see where I was and where I am now. That helps when I’m being too critical of myself.

First row settings:

  • ISO 200
  • 49mm
  • f/11
  • 6s

Second row settings:

  • ISO 100
  • 16mm
  • f/16
  • 1.6s
2017

I already wrote a comprehensive post about this year –> 2017 4th of July

Learning little by little to get the photos I want. Here are some of my favorites:

2018

At the second ever Bremerton Bridge Blast I felt like I was finally fully prepared to master these fireworks shots. I had my trusty Sony A6000, 18-105mm f/4 lens, and a solid tripod. 

  • ISO 100
  • 37mm
  • f/18
  • 4s
2019

Now, 2019 meant I had a few years of 4th of July photos under my belt, so I should know what I’m doing right? Right?!? Well, this was also my first year with the Sony A7Riii. Anyone who has changed their camera setup will tell you there is a break in period. I was not comfortable using the kit lens, so I grabbed my reliable 18-105, fully charged battery, tripod, and gave it a go with these settings:

  • ISO 100
  • 18mm
  • f/16
  • 4s

2020

What a ride 2020 has been. I graduated with my masters degree in June and I was ready to get back into taking photos. Our friends live on the water and invited us over for a physically distanced viewing of their neighbors annual fireworks show.
Something I really missed last year when I moved from the A6000 to the a7RIII was an intervalometer. Sony released an update a bit ago that added this internally to my camera so I was able to program exactly what I needed the camera to do. The best part of firework shows is that they usually last at least 15 minutes, leaving plenty of time to make any changes. I ended up using two different sets of settings to explore what I could get.

The first, blue background settings:

  • ISO 100
  • 20mm
  • f/2.8
  • 5s

Black background settings:

  • ISO 100
  • 20mm
  • f/16-f/20
  • 5s

Probably the coolest part of the night was when the full moon appeared through the clouds about halfway through the fireworks show! I still see aspects I want to improve, but I am pretty excited with how many photos turned out well this year! Firework photos are so much fun because you have to adapt to any unforeseen challenges. I’m looking forward to the next show! 

Sydney Opera House dressed in Vivid Sydney colors

Sydney Opera House dressed in Vivid Sydney colors

Our trip coincided with the very beginning of the Vivid Sydney Light Festival that occurs every winter. This was it’s 10th year, and there was so much to see! There is a good list on the official Vivid Sydney website.

I wrote up a quick entry about our visit to the Taronga Zoo as well.

We were there for opening night, and it seems like everyone else was too! Foot traffic became so congested that by the time we got back from the Taronga Zoo police officers were directing people to move in one direction to keep the flow of people going. Fortunately, our hosts had access to the Amex viewing platform and that is where I was able to get some shots of the Sydney Opera House dressed in Vivid colors!

It is difficult to pick my favorite so I included all those that I think turned out decent.

Getting fireworks shots honed in – 4th of July

Getting fireworks shots honed in – 4th of July

This year I made it a goal to get better fireworks photos! I planned two fireworks photo ops to get the best chance of getting some good shots (It didn’t hurt that they were both a lot of fun!)

To kick off the fourth of July weekend, we went to the 1st annual Bremerton Beat Blast. At 10:15 fireworks were set off the Manette Bridge. I took these from the Port Orchard waterfront with these settings: 100 ISO f/4 2-5 seconds

Of course we had to attend the Tacoma Freedom Fair! I set up my tripod at Point Ruston this year to avoid some of the crowds and give us a better chance of getting home sooner, and utilized my zoom lens. I used these settings: 100 ISO f/16 4-6 seconds

Overall some little areas to improve but I am pretty happy with how the second batch turned out! Using f/16 definitely helped darken the background and brighten the bursts. Let me know if you have a favorite. Cheers!

P.S, I took a timelapse of the sun setting on Mount Rainier as we waited for the fireworks show!

Sunset on Mount Rainier from Kristie on Vimeo.

Seafair 2016

Seafair 2016

An overcast day makes for perfect photography weather! We braved the traffic and made the trip to Lake Washington to see what Seafair in Seattle was all about. The US Navy Blue Angels did not disappoint; as we walked onto the closed I-90 bridge we could hear the roar of their engines! The show lasted about 45 mins so then we made our way to Genesee Park to catch the hydroplanes and grab a bite to eat. We had a surprise fly-by from a couple of US Air Force A10s! The big hydroplanes rival the Blue Angles when it comes to loud engines fyi. Needless to say I’m thankful for the somewhat cloudy weather that kept the heat at bay and made for a great day by the lake.

Lake Washington panorama during Seafair 2016
US Navy Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington during Seafair 2016
US Navy Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington during Seafair 2016
US Navy Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington during Seafair 2016
US Navy Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington during Seafair 2016
US Navy Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington during Seafair 2016
Air Force A10s flying over Lake Washington during Seafair 2016
Seafair 2016 Hydroplanes on Lake Washington
Seafair 2016 Hydroplanes on Lake Washington
Seafair 2016 Hydroplanes on Lake Washington
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2016

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2016

Tulip Town and Roozengaarde Gardens

For Easter Sunday we drove up to Mount Vernon, Washington in Skagit county to see the annual Tulip Festival. It was a little early so some of the tulips were not blooming yet, but it’s hard to say we missed out. The weather in the South Sound was gorgeous, but of course once we drove up I-5 through Seattle and past Marysville the weather deteriorated into a cold rain shower. It still being lunch time we stopped and enjoyed some delicious pizza at Skagit River Brewery.

Fortunately during the time it took for us to eat the rain stopped and the sun came out! We got in the car and followed the signs to the tulip fields. We discovered Tulip Town first, and enjoyed the many rows of tulips in their fields. We are no strangers to the Tulip Festival, however we had never been to Tulip Town and it was a nice change to see more established buildings and more offerings from vendors. No pets allowed but very kid friendly. Here we bought our yearly potted tulips, this year they are a gorgeous pink frilly variety. I get new ones each year to add to our garden.

The arrangement and variety of tulips at Roozengaarde however, is unparalleled. We headed there next and were able to get in right away because of only a small crowd of people. We took our time, enjoyed some fudge, and took advantage of the moody skies effect on the colorful tulips. Eventually we got too cold and as the rain started to fall again we headed home. We have gone every year for several years now and each experience is different. I hope you’re able to make it there this spring! If not, here are some of the images I was able to capture. Enjoy!

(Click the photos to see them larger)

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