Greetings everyone. I'm back online after a very long absence. It's taken much longer than I originally anticipated going through all of my pictures and getting them ready for online publishing. That pesky real world kept getting in the way. But finally after six months, they are now ready to share.
Having reached the limits of what I felt my old camera system could do for me, I underwent a major upgrade to a new Nikon system. Our February trip to the World was my first significant hands on experience with my new D700 and by the end of the trip, I felt like I was finally getting a grasp of what potential lay within the digital sensor and lenses I brought with me.
As I mentioned in my original thread http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disn...lue-fairy.html, I really am fond of Wishes and firework pictures in general. This trip allowed me seven chances to go after the ever elusive Blue Fairy shot. To track down this wily beast, you to prepare yourself for upcoming battle.
Firstly, you need the correct equipment: a digital camera capable of long exposures, a variety of lenses to capture the perspective you desire, some sort of remote shutter release system to control the camera, and a very tall sturdy tripod to peer over the tops of the large crowds that would otherwise be blocking your view.
Secondly, you need to study your subject. A key to getting good fireworks photos is understanding the different beats to the music to capture the fireworks bursts you desire. With the Disney presentations, it's very easy to get video copies of their shows. Another thing you need to study is an understanding of the perspective relationship between the foreground (Castle) and the background (fireworks). At the Magic Kingdom, you can basically control how big you want Cinderella Castle to be in relation to the fireworks. The closer you are to the Castle, the more of the frame it will fill and the smaller the bursts appear. As you move back down Main Street, the fireworks quickly become the focus of the shot as the Castle becomes smaller and smaller in the frame. You can zoom in to compress the space a bit; but it quickly becomes difficult to get both sufficiently in frame. You also need to identify the different fireworks launch locations and plan accordingly if you want to get side angle perspectives.
The third thing you need to have is a good deal of patience. You need to arrive early and allow sufficient time to set up your equipment. Don't expect to show up five minutes before the show starts and get a good location.
Lastly, you need a bit of luck. There are a lot of things that are beyond your control when attempting to shoot fireworks. Wind speed and direction can blow the bursts off course. Smoke can blow in front of the Castle. Fireworks can misfire or not launch. The wrong shells can be loaded into the launcher. Your camera equipment may malfunction. Ironically, this type of failure was something I thought I prepared for. When I purchased my camera, I needed to buy a remote shutter release for the system. I could purchase one of the several types of Nikon releases that are quite pricey or I could find a third party solution. I located a type of shutter release on eBay that was a simple leaf switch design and didn't have any extra bells and whistles. Since they were so cheap, I thought I'd go ahead and buy two of them and have a spare. On my second night of using it, the first one broke during Illuminations. The next night, the same thing happened to the spare during Illuminations as well (it was cursed I tell you). D'oh! I then had to spend the next morning frantically calling camera stores in Orlando before tracking down one store that had the mid of the line expensive Nikon solution. Several hours wasted, a trip into the city, and missing out on two good opportunities to capture Illuminations was a penance for learning the lesson of trying to save a bit on the up front costs.
Now, on to the fruits of my labor:
*notice the wrong shell being used
The photo above was taken with the very special 14-24mm Nikkor lens, which known for it's edge to edge performance. I had SOOOOO much fun with this lens on this trip, so plan on seeing a lot more of it in the future.
I've got a few ideas for my next trip, so I can't wait to try them out. Happy hunting.