Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer adventures: Celebration of Light 2014

Although the weather is still gorgeous here in Vancouver, I can't help but feel that summer is already over. This year, I was able to have a lot of new experiences and create great memories with people I love-- though I wish I had more time/opportunities to cram even more stuff in! Anyway, I'll be sharing my summer adventures with you guys through a few posts over the next 1-2 weeks. My first "summer adventure" post happened over a series of nights during Vancouver's annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival.

After buying the Sony NEX-6 (our first kinda-serious/non-point-and-shoot camera together), bf and I have always wanted to try photographing fireworks since this camera allows you to set long exposure times (up to 30 seconds). We didn't get a chance to do it last year, but took full advantage this year and went to all three shows.

July 26 - USA
Sorry for the obnoxious-ass watermarks! I've had my photos stolen before and I'm especially proud of these, so I'm extra protective of them.

Celebration of Light is apparently "the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world" and is a huge event in Vancouver, drawing thousands and thousands of people to Vancouver's shorelines. The three competing countries vary from year to year, but the fireworks displays, which are set to music, are always dazzling.

USA was the first night, so we were still figuring things out and learned a lot that night through experimenting. The photo above is pretty neat because we caught a firework flying up and getting ready to go off (the small orange ball).

July 26 - USA
I don't know what this type of crackly firework is called and usually describe it by wiggling my fingers furiously, but it sure photographed cool.

July 30 - France
We just barely made it in time to catch France's show. This time, we went to the Granville Bridge, which is a bit far away but provides the opportunity to snap very picturesque photos with the Burrard Bridge in the foreground. There were tons of people with super pro photography gear lined up along here. They must have some amazing stabilization equipment, because many of our pictures turned out blurry due to the vibration of the cars speeding along the bridge. As a result, we don't have many pictures I love, but this one is one of my favourites--the bridge is blurry but the fireworks are curiously crisp.

Next is my favourite display of all--

August 2 - Japan
Japan's night was pretty amazing because (1) we had already gotten some practice from the two previous nights; (2) we were in a great location and closer than the two other nights; and (3) Japan seriously had the best show. Their fireworks seemed to go higher than either of the other countries. See the small white dot on the right? That's the moon.

August 2 - Japan
This was one of my favourites. A huge firework went off high in the sky and left long, long trails that reached all the way down to the water. It felt like being in the middle of star shower.

We had so many great photos from the three nights that we had serious trouble choosing which to print and put into photo frames and our scrapbook. There are one or two that we like so much, we'll probably do a huge print and hang in our future home someday :>

I could give some general tips based on my (limited) experience, but I think the most important thing when photographing fireworks is to remember to enjoy them. At times, I caught myself being so focused on checking how each of the photos came out, making adjustments, etc, that I was basically watching the show through the LCD monitor/viewfinder! I had to remind myself to enjoy what's in front of me and experience the moment with bf.

Have you photographed fireworks before/have any tips for me? What's a big summer event in your city?

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