Yes, I know…I’m finally getting around to posting the last of my fireworks photos. It sure is a good thing I don’t do this for money, because I don’t know that I’d ever get paid on anything like a regular schedule! Okay, okay…to be fair, if I were getting paid, I’d have more incentive to actually get things done on time, so there’s that. Anyways, enjoy the last of the shots. Til next year, that is.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX

Enjoy!

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Yup…more photos of the fireworks show in Lincoln Park.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX

Enjoy!

So, as I mentioned previously, after the official fireworks show at Navy Pier concluded, the neighborhood show in Lincoln Park started up. Since I was sitting at the tip of northern end of the Belmont Harbor breakwater, the Lincoln Park show was much, much closer – just based on what I could see of it, I suspect it was staged somewhere near the Lincoln Park Zoo. Anyways, here are the first of the photos I shot of that show.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX

You’ll have to excuse the people standing in the bottom of the shots; they didn’t know they were being photographed, and I suspect they (like I) were surprised by the startup of the Lincoln Park show…the standing guy had originally gotten up to go, and stayed to watch after the show started. It’s also a bit of my own fault; I didn’t know that the show in Lincoln Park was going to start up, so while I chose my shooting location to have an unobstructed line of sight to the show at Navy Pier, when I turned my camera towards Lincoln Park (which was slightly southwest of where I was sitting), I was facing the backs of some folks who were sitting further south of where I was.

Note also that these photos, unlike the Navy Pier ones, were shot with my 35mm normal lens, not the long telephoto lens I was using to shoot the Navy Pier show. This is a good example of why it’s a good idea to carry a selection of lenses. Not knowing that the Lincoln Park show was going to start up, I could very easily have just carried my 300mm telephoto lens and no other (lord knows that lens alone is very weighty), but then, I would not have been prepared to shoot the Lincoln Park show. As it was, I actually had pretty much my entire lineup of lenses along for the ride (including my wideangle lens – that got no use at all – and two other, shorter telephoto lenses; I was fair sure I’d need the 300mm, but I brought the shorter ones in case I wanted wider shots of the fireworks and Navy Pier)…so, as you can imagine, along with my 2L Camelbak bladder and 10-lb tripod, I had a pretty hefty pack to shoulder…on a night when it was 95 degrees and humid. Yes, I know…I’m crazy. But hey, OTOH…fireworks!

Enjoy.

Yes, I know…my ability to post stuff here on anything resembling a normal schedule really, really, really sucks. Sorry about that, y’all. Anyways, here are photos of the finale of the official Chicago fireworks show on July 4th.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Navy Pier
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4

Impressive show, wasn’t it?

Oddly enough, the fireworks show in Lincoln Park – which started after the official show (and was also much, much closer to where I was sitting) was nearly as impressive. I’ll (hopefully) get around to editing and posting those photos soon.

Enjoy.

Okay, so it appears my plan to post more frequently has gotten slightly derailed. Again. Sorry, folks…unfortunately, the two paying jobs I have are not photography-related, and well. They pay the bills, so I suppose I should focus my efforts there…which leaves my poor blog languishing without my loving attention. If it makes y’all feel any better, I’m not particularly happy about this, but hey…gotta do what ya gotta do, right? Anyways, to make up for it, here are some festive images for your viewing pleasure. That’ll make up for my lack of attention here, right?

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Navy Pier
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4

And yes, for those of y’all who were following the news of the heat wave that hit the Midwest and other areas right around the time, it was a balmy 95 degrees when I shot these photos (around 9pm, mind you). I made sure to bring my 2L Camelbak bladder with me, so I was well hydrated for the show (hey, I’m crazy…not stupid).

As for the photos themselves, I shot these from the northern end of Belmont Harbor (check it out on Google Earth…you’ll be able to figure out where I was sitting). For those of y’all who are familiar with Chicago geography (and those of y’all who, y’know…can check out a map), you’ll note that Belmont Harbor is a few miles north of Navy Pier – hence my decision to lug my 300mm telephoto lens. And my heavy, but dependable, Manfrotto tripod. The result? While I couldn’t hear the fireworks, I sure could see ’em pretty well…much better than the folks who were sitting behind me and spent half the show trying to figure out how to make theirĀ (presumably) point-and-shoot camera 1) autofocus on the fireworks (yes, I know how silly that sounds…but that’s what they were trying to do), and 2) turn off the flash (or turn it on…I’m not sure if I heard that part correctly, since I was paying more attention to what I was shooting).

In case you’re wondering about the proper technique for shooting fireworks, I’ll mention that in a later post (don’t worry…it’ll follow relatively soon…ish – I’ve already edited a number of shots from the show, so I have some to share for the next couple days).

Enjoy!

This year, due to budgetary constraints and such, the City of Chicago hosted not one massive show at Navy Pier (as per the typical year), but three smaller shows at locations along the lakefront – one on the southside, one at the Museum Campus downtown, and one on the northside north of Montrose Harbor. This was rather fortuitous for me, since I’m far too lazy to head downtown to Navy Pier, but Montrose Harbor is a (relatively) convenient hike from my apartment. Hence, it was much easier for me to attend the annual Independence Day festivities; additionally, the separate shows meant that each one drew a less-than-epic crowd, so it was much easier to set up my camera and tripod at a convenient vantage point. The following are some of the results.

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Photo Information:

Camera: Nikon D80
Lens(es): Nikon Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 & Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
ISO Equivalency: 100
Color Setting: Vivid

A note on the exposures: I set the shutter speed to “bulb,” and basically winged it for each one. The average exposure time was roughly 10 seconds, the shortest being 5 seconds, and the longest being just over 15. Due to the vagaries of manual focus at night for an indeterminate range, I set the aperture to the minimum setting for the lens (f/16 for the telephoto lens, and f/22 for the wideangle); this helped to ensure that I had crisp focus, even if I wasn’t spot-on with the focus ring. [1] Obviously, the fact that I had the camera set to ISO 100 [2] and used a small aperture means that I needed to use a slow shutter speed to compensate. [3] I set the white balance to Incandescent, and I think this tended to work well for the color exposures; [4] even so, I found it appealing to increase the saturation just a bit for each photo, since, well, these sorts of photos really are all about the colors. Considering that this is the first time I’ve ever photographed fireworks, I think the results turned out quite well, don’t you?

Enjoy.

Notes:

[1]: As any of y’all who’ve taken photos at night can probably attest, this is a bit harder than it may at first sound. In this case, it was especially so, since I had little to no indication of the range to the “target,” and said targets were constantly appearing and disappearing! When dealing with point light sources at night, I prefer the look that a wide aperture produces, but in this case, the “star” effect from the small aperture is easily lost in the “bloom” from the various explosions, so I wasn’t much concerned by this.

[2]: Oh sure, I could have set this to a higher ISO setting, given that I was using a digital camera, but a) I have an extraordinarily sturdy Manfrotto tripod at my disposal, b) I wanted to capture some motion blurring in the fire trails, and c) I really, really don’t like digital noise, so if I can avoid this effect, I will.

[3]: As mentioned in the previous note, I wanted to capture some motion blurring in the fire trails, so the slow shutter speed was desirable, anyways.

[4]: These are, after all, burning materials that are falling to the ground – seeing as how the word incandescent means “glowing or luminous with intense heat,” this seemed like a good bet for the white balance setting!