I had the great pleasure of celebrating the 4th of July on a sailboat on Lake Superior.A calm morning led to a light wind and pleasant sailing into the harbor at La Pointe, Wisconsin. We slid into the harbor in mid-afternoon, giving us plenty of time to settle in and wait for the evening fireworks display. I spent much of that time sitting on deck enjoying the activity around me as the boat bobbed and turned in the breeze and the wake from the other boats moving around the harbor. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but it also gave me plenty of time to wonder how to photograph those fireworks.
For those of you who aren’t photographers, firework photos are usually shot using a tripod. This keeps the camera still during the longer exposures necessary for good pictures of fireworks.
While I had my tripod with me, I didn’t see how it would help if I set it up on a boat that was continually moving. In the end, I didn’t even take it out, because I was pretty sure that even with a tripod all of my photos would look like something these:
Although I actually like a couple of those because they convey the FEELING of watching fireworks, I also was able to get some marginally acceptable (although really grainy) standard fireworks shots. They generally looked like this:
What do you think? Does a little blur better capture the feel of watching a fireworks display?