Last week my family rented a cottage up in Southampton. All told there were 8 adults, 4 children, and 3 dogs. Never a dull moment to say the least. My wife Amy and I only stayed until Thursday so we were still around for the fireworks show downtown on Wednesday night. Originally I didn’t plan on shooting the show, because I’ve never really had much success and thought, for the most part, fireworks photos were overrated. The show itself was very well done, even with the seizure-inducing blasts near the end that may have rendered some of the crowd temporarily blind and deaf.

Once the show started I started shooting anyway. I had my 50mm 1.4 on me and since I didn’t bother with the tripod, I obviously had to shoot handheld. What caught me was the smoke patterns after the explosions. When I’ve tried shooting fireworks before using long exposures, I was always annoyed at the streaks that the smoke would leave behind which I thought kind of left the images muddy and uninteresting. Since I was shooting handheld my exposure time was reduced greatly. I was still able to get a few lights streaks, but the main focus for me—and what made these images work—was the patterns and textures left behind in the smoke.

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