A Pyrotechnic Wonderland (part 1)

So this past Sunday evening, I stopped by Disneyland to meet up with a group of photographers with a similar passion for Disney parks and photography.  This was a departure from my usual habits, for though I'll go shooting with a friend every once in a while, I'm usually on my own when I'm photographing around the park.

What sparked my interest about this event, though, was its focus on taking fireworks.  I'd like to think that my photography is generally good (though there are many photographers much better than I), but for some reason or another, I've never been able to consistently take good fireworks photos.  It's just something I've never bothered to figure out.  But on this night, though, I would have the opportunity to pick the brains of other photographers, including some esteemed photogs--like Michael Greening and Gregg Cooper--whose names I'd always heard of but never really met or interacted with.  Plus, it would be a cool chance to meet new friends with similar interests!

Well, I definitely got some decent pointers, and coupled with a wonderful location next to the Partners Statue (from which I had never watched the fireworks before), did manage to churn out some shots that I'm actually happy with.  Of course, I have a long ways to go before I reach the talent of the Disney park fireworks masters out there, but it's a nice goal to strive toward and a fun subject to work on.  And it's nice to have found a community full of other passionate photographer who can push me to improve.

Anyway, here are the first few shots I've processed. I hope you like them!

A not-so-hidden Mickey reveals itself in the nighttime sky at the start of Remember... Dreams Come True.
One trick I learned was to put the camera in bulb mode, trigger the shutter to open the camera up for exposure, then wait for a pyro stream to reach its full extent before closing the shutter.
When coupled with an ISO of 100 and an aperture of f/8, it provided some nice balance.
Of course, some shots were still over-exposed.  It takes a while to get the hang of.
But the benefit of the baseline ISO shooting at a not-so-wide aperture was that I wouldn't have to worry about the ambient scene being over exposed and could simply let the fireworks paint the scene for me.
Effectively, this became an exercise in light painting, except that I wasn't manipulating the brush!


  1. D'aww! Albert's first Capturing the Magic meet up! Memories for sure. (I'm totally not going through your entire website and feeling homesick. Nope. Not at all.)


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