Joshua Davis Photography

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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

Capturing the Fourth

festival of fireworks displayAmerica’s Independence Day is almost here. With it comes hot dogs on the grill, fireworks, family, and friends. Maybe you don’t live in the US, if so these tips can still be used for any summer holiday. If you’re like most, there will be some memories you want to keep on film.

As a photographer, surely you’ll want to capture the fireworks. The shots you see in the chemistry book of multiple fireworks exploding are achieved using long exposures. Some are in excess of 5 seconds. With long exposures comes camera shake. So invest $15 in a tripod. If you’re broke use an improvised tripod device like a car roof, or tree stump.

Every year the place where I watch the firework has some incident, a stabbing, a literal mob… So my family always goes to a park near the show. If you want to take pictures, try getting away from the crowds, so you can have ample space to capture the show. And make sure to be away from obstructions such as trees and power lines.

Family, friends, and food, how do you capture it all? Try shooting in the late afternoon, and under a shady spot. This will lead to softer colors, and less chance of someones face being blown out from the harsh sunlight.

Food is the hardest subject to photograph. For a more flattering angle capture the food from the side, not from the top. If your camera has optical zoom, stand back, and zoom into the food, this increases depth of field*. Most of all have a great time, don’t spend so much time getting the perfect photo you have no fun.

*Depth of field is how blurry the background (and sometimes foreground) of an image is.

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Filed under: Guides and Howtos

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