Posted Saturday, September 3, 2011
Category: Project365
License: CC-BY-NC-SA (What does this mean?)



New Farm, Brisbane
General location: Australia, South-East Queensland

The Setup:

The fireworks show to kick off Brisbane's River Festival is always a winner. I was going to set up in my normal secret* location along the north bank of the river, but I had no-one to go with this year. Erin, my old m9 from uni and IRC days said there was plenty of room at their perch at New Farm. I had Evelyn for the day as well (Lui had a day off). Dave (Erin's husband) loaned me his Sigma 10-20mm lens (I was going to use my poor man's super-wide-angle but the Sigma is far superior).

The shot I had imagined I would take was of Evelyn's face as the fireworks washed over them. In reality, that would have been far too difficult to do with just me and a tripod so I have deferred that until next year (when Lui can be there to hold Evelyn). For this shot, instead, I lined up the shot so the bridge and fireworks would be in, and then marked up a spot where I would stand with Evelyn and be in the shot, triggering the shutter with the cable release.

* Not especially secret, but there are no toilets there (so not good for mummies and daddies) and no fences (so not good for babies).

The camera & lens:

Camera: Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX-DG @ 10mm
Exposure: 2" @ f/16, ISO 1600 (M + cable release. f/16 for attempted hyperfocal focusing)

Post processing:

Lightroom - I used a curve to highlight fireworks, but darken the sky without darkening myself and Evelyn too much (lights +20, darks +100, shadows -60). I then used recovery bar (100) to bring the highlights under control in the fireworks (this left the centres of the lights at white, but meant the light dropped off earlier, leading to a somewhat more pleasing shape). After all the overall image adjustments, I couldn't get myself and Evelyn to be light enough so I used an adjustment filter to lighten the bottom left corner Above is the end result of the colour processing. On a whim, I thought I'd try B&W processing and loved it straight away. The only further adjustment I made was to make a panoramic crop. I did have to use a fair bit of noise reduction (combination of ISO 1600, a lot of dark area in the photo, and lots of processing). I normally only use luminescence noise reduction (this time at 65), but for this photo I also used contrast noise reduction (100). It helped a lot on the edges of the fireworks.

The wash-up:

I didn't realise until too late that my shot included a palm tree, but I think it is neutralised in the end result. Pedants will pick it up.

What would you do?

You are welcome to have a go at editing this photo yourself. When editing in browser, maximum size is 1600x1200px and edits can be saved as a comment if you want to share your work. Go crazy!

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