Sydney Fireworks, 2013

It shouldn’t be any surprise that I love watching and photographing fireworks, and over the years of trying to capture them on digital film, I’ve learned something important:

There are two types of fireworks displays — those displays good for viewers, and those good for photography.

The displays that are best for viewers are the ones that link individual fireworks together. Instead of a single firework going up and exploding before another one even begins, they overlap. It provides a full sensory experience where you’re constantly being wowed by the next firework instead of there being a lull between each one.


On the other hand, the displays best for photography are those where maybe a few of them overlap, but in general there’s a lull between each one or between each small group to give the photographer a clear moment to stop the exposure. Too many overlapping (like, say, 10) can put too many fireworks in the image, making the image too cluttered.


At least, that’s how it is with my current setup. Mayyyybe if my camera were faster at processing bulb mode, or mayyyybe if my SD card saved pictures faster, it wouldn’t matter as much. I doubt it, but I’m willing to concede that it’s a possibility.

That being said, photographing the overlapping kind can still produce some interesting results. That’s fancy-speak for “make some awesome photos!”

Some of my favorites from this year’s display at the Sydney waterfront:

(Do yourself a favor and click on them to view them full size!)

And just to give an example of why big, overlapping displays of many fireworks aren’t that great for photography, here’s a photo of the finale. {:


Bonus: Here’s a shot of our terrific fiddle that I took while we waited for the fireworks to start. (I love this photo.)

Sydney Fiddle

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