We have a little challenge photographing fireworks at Lake Grapevine this year. As of today, August 4th, the lake is still 17.47 feet above the "Conservation Pool Elevation". The good news is the level is down 27 feet from a month ago and 2.3 feet from last week. The bad news is the parks will not reopen until September or October at the earliest. Meeting on the dam was not a good choice.
Fireworks exposure considerations were covered last year. It was definitely worthwhile re reading it. I'm used a 3 stop hard grad filter last week to better expose the reflections and the fireworks. It worked! The exposure was ISO 100, f / 5.6 for the reflections. The added 3 stops for the fireworks got the exposure 1100pxup to f / 16. The times ranged from 1 to 6 seconds.
The prevailing wisdom is ISO 100 @ F / 11. I think that blows out the color too much. The F / 16 does a better job keeping the color.
- Head lamp (best) or a flash light
- Remote Shutter Release
- Full Frame: 50mm - 200mm
- APS-c: 30mm - 125mm
- Bring head lamp or flashlight! It will be dark at 9:30 on the way back to the car.
- Arrive at the parking lot about 8:15 PM early enough before the fireworks to scope out the best location for shooting the images that you would like.
- Check for distractions that might become part of your images and adjust accordingly - move the object or yourself somewhere else. Think about the foreground and background elements of the scene and how you might want to incorporate them.
- Set up your tripod, camera and cable release.
- Level the camera so the horizon is HORIZONTAL.
- Pre-focus on the expected position of the fireworks. Manually focus! You don't want the camera to make decisions. After that is done, leave the focus alone until all your shots are taken. With the fireworks a 1-1/4 miles away the focus will not need to be changed even if relocated around the lot.
- TURN OFF THE FLASH!
- Turn off the image stabilazation feature.
- Try varying your shots. The focal length REQUIRED depends on your distance from the burst and what you’re trying to capture. If you want a tight shot that shows detail, you will NEED a zoom lens that goes to at least 200mm. Keep in mind that changing focal length will require refocusing in most zoom lenses. Check for this attribute before the show begins, while it is still light.
- Ron Marabito recommends setting the camera to f8 or f11 with an ISO of 100 and then set the camera in the B or bulb position for exposures. I think f / 16 is best.
- When the fireworks begin, press and hold your shutter open at the firing time of the shot and hold till the explosion is complete. This is typically anywhere from 3 to 6 seconds in length. My times last year varied from 1 to 11 seconds.
Grapevine Fireworks displays start at 9:30 p.m. and last less than fifteen minutes. The time to get your camera setup and aligned is before 9:30 p.m. We have several experienced photographers on this shoot to to help with any questions.
Depart Sams Parking Lot @ Coit & Bush at 7:00 PM.
Arrive Grapevine Grapevine Mills Parking 7:45 PM
32° 57' 53.37"N 97° 2' 44.12"W.
Car Pool Leaves Grapevine MIlls for Gaylord at 8:00 PM
Beaucoup Boom Boom at 9:30.
This week we are going to the top of the Gaylord parking garage. Parking is$18 per vehicle. It is 0.75 miles from the fireworks launch location, a good distance for photography. The route to the location is outlined in red below.