Fireworks photography has become somewhat of an obsession to me. Unfortunately I never had much luck with the Freedom Over Texas show in downtown Houston. The biggest reason for that I think is the show starts too late and twilight has ended rendering the sky a boring yellow tinted black with little detail on the buildings. It was so bad that I even wrote a blog called Bad 4th of July Photography- an Expert Guide that kind of mocked myself a little but had some nice tidbits of useful information too.
Up till then, the best I could do was something like this on the left. Sure, it’s still better than the average smart phone camera, but there was nothing really that interesting about it. The buildings are too dark, the sky is too boring, and the worst crime of all – I chose the wrong spot. With the sky and the quality of the picture, I didn’t have much choice because my camera at the time was the D90 which has limited dynamic range. My lens also didn’t have Vibration Reduction so the bouncing bridge full of people made the picture be less sharp. On top of that, the show starts way too late as was the case this year.
Never the less, I wanted to try and get better fireworks pictures and at least work on things that were within my control. Since 4th of July only comes once a year (weird how that works), I took my new Nikon D600 to the Thanksgiving Day Uptown Holiday Lighting and practiced there for a couple of years.
For the 4th of July last year however, I decided to skip the Downtown show and go the Hermann Park Show where I took one of my favorite pictures of all time you see on the link.
This year, I really wanted to try and redeem myself at the downtown show and got there about 4 hours early which turned out to be 4 1/2 hours early due to a rain delay. I could rant about why they would delay a show when it stopped raining and start it up again once the rain started again, but I’ll just stick to the pictures. I had control over the location and thought the Police Memorial grounds would have a good view and as an alternative spot, I was going to go behind the new pedestrian bridge there where I had scouted a month earlier. MyNikon D610 camera was also better this year so I thought despite the late start, I had a fighting chance of at least doing a little better.
There was a lot of waiting
It became obvious that I was not in the BEST spot I could be in and so I grabbed all my stuff and made a run for the Plan B behind the bridge
The Bayou was really dark so it was hard to get things to show up. If I still had my old D90, I doubt I could have gotten anything worthwhile, but again, I have no control over when the show starts. It should have started at 8:35 for my taste.
I feel a little redeemed but this is a tough show to photograph. Freedom Over Texas people! If you’re reading this, start the show an hour earlier and I can give you much better pictures!