Well, 2nd actually.
Rucht & McKenna had their annual fireworks party last weekend, and, as usual, I brought my camera along. I'd been wanting to try to get some interesting shots of fireworks for some time, and their house is located in a fairly ideal spot for attempting this: right beneath them. Actually, I'm surprised it's not more of a fire hazard.
The day was fun, of course. Got to see some friends we don't see often, and I took some photos of the Kubb game we played. Robb & I actually made a point to play that weekends since we didn't get to the previous weekend at the meetup.
When it got to be time for the JC fireworks display, I hiked up to the top of the hill where I would have a clear, ubobstructed view of the sky. You can actually see a lot of them from the street in front of their house, but I wanted a wider view with no other objects.
I found a decent place in the grass, took a guess as to where the fireworks would ignite, set up my tripod and hooked up my cable release. Even at the widest angle on my zoom lens (28mm - approx 45mm with my cropped sensor), I still had nothing but black sky in the viewfinder. Perfect.
I closed down the aperture as far as it would go (f22), set the ISO as low as my camera supports (100), and set the shutter speed at 'bulb'. I'd never really done bulb exposure before, so this was interesting. My cable release actually has a button lock on it too, which is nice.
During the fireworks show itself, I simply watched the sky, guessed when the fireworks 'blooms' would happen, opening the shutter just before this and holding it open until the blooms I wanted to capture had faded - generally between 5 and 20 seconds - so that the shooting points of light would imprint bright streaks on the camera's sensor.
Then I waited.
This was perhaps one complaint I have with my camera. For some reason, bulb exposure pictures take a long time to write to the card - the time might actually be the length of the exposure, in fact - and the buffer will not hold more than one such exposure (meaning you have to wait for it to write before you can take another shot). I'm not entirely sure why this is so. Perhaps I simply lack a complete understanding of how the photo sensor and image processor function. The upshot here was that I was only shooting about 1/2 the time - the other 1/2 of the time I was waiting for the buffer to clear. Had I been shooting at 1/200 or something, it could have been constant.
Anyway, it was a great experiement and I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting the shots turned out. I have them up in my "4th" of July facebook album here.
I have some ideas on how I might play some more with bulb exposure...