花火 (Fire Works)

花火 (Fire Works)

The Japanese word for fireworks is 花火 (hanabi).  It literally means "flower fire."  My students always think of this and mistakenly say "fire flower" instead of "fireworks" in class 😛

These are two old photos from a large fireworks festival that I went to this past summer.  I was going through some old photos and really liked the first one because of the smoke and various planes of explosion all taking place at the same time in the picture.  I think in some cases "fire flower" as my students mistakenly say is quite appropriate.

I enjoy fireworks but am going to go against the image and say that in general they are boring to photograph.  You can only take a few photos before they all start to look the same.  Since they are quite luminous and the sparks are small and detail-less themselves, there is little technique variation you can do to give the photos different looks or styles.  Also, being up in the air, it’s difficult to capture them with anything to give a sense of scale or any kind of point of reference.  If you can include the landscape below, the land is often so dark compared to the fireworks that any exposure long enough to illuminate the landscape below would cause the fireworks to be bright and detail-less … maybe unless using a split ND filter.

They are nonetheless very enjoyable and often linked with many wonderful memories of summer.

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