|Fireworks & Illumination|
Gaiety, fi reworks and illuminations go hand in hand. A festival or an important happy occasion is identifi ed by fun, laughter, display of affection, and a rainbow of colors In India, as is the case all around the world, we celebrate many festivals in variety of ways. ‘Diwali’ or ‘Deepavali’– the festival of lights, depicting victory of good over evil– is one of those occasions when, besides other things, we light up small oil lamps and display them around the home. This is also the season of fi reworks, when we, along with the accompanying noise, light up the heavens with a myriad of colors streaming across the skies
But how do you frame ﬁ reworks? How do you meter the subject? The burst is often so small that there is no time to meter the scene. And even if you could, the almost black night skies would fool the exposure meter and terribly overexpose the ﬁ reworks. So, here are some tips to shoot ﬁ reworks successfully. (By the way, the technical term for ﬁ reworks is ‘pyrotechnics’).
1. The Location: The ﬁ rst thing is to ﬁ nd out where the ﬁ reworks are expected. Newspapers generally inform the readers the exact location (more or less) and the time the display would be. It is beneﬁ cial to go there early and scout for a suitable space. Check out if there is any likelihood of a disturbing background (generally, there won’t be, since the ﬁ reworks would be high up in the sky), but still, it is possible.
2. Camera Support: It goes without saying that a sturdy tripod is essential. If you can add a remote triggering device, so much the better, as tripping the shutter release, even when a tripod is used, could also cause camera movement. Of course, as an experiment, you can also hand-hold the camera during the exposure for some creative effects.
The buildings appear tilted because the camera was not levelled
|Use the buildings as a reference to keep the verticals straight
3. Horizon: When you are shooting from ground level, looking up to the sky, the horizon may not be in the frame, but when shooting from an elevation, looking down, check that the horizon is level.
4. Landmark: If a prominent landmark is included in the frame, it can make the picture more interesting.
5. Verticals: If your composition includes man-made structures, ensure that the verticals run parallel to the frame. If there is no reference point, then it matters not if the camera is straight or angled. 6. Horizontal or Vertical: When photographing ﬁ reworks, vertical shots may look better if it is a close-up, but again, this is not a hard and fast rule. An horizontal expanse, showing well-known landmarks with the ﬁ reworks can make an exciting picture (see image above).
7. Focal Length: Primes or Zooms? For ﬁ reworks, a zoom can provide better framing. Start at the wide-angle end and after you ascertain the proper direction and size of the display, you can zoom towards the telephoto end for close-ups.
8. Switch Off Autofocus: Autofocus will mostly not work; it may keep ‘hunting’. Switch it off. Also switch off the ﬂash.