Sierra Vista is where I currently live…. for now! It’s a relatively small city adjacent to the US Army Base Ft. Huachuca in southeastern Arizona. Every year the Sierra Vista Rotary Club puts on our annual fireworks show and this year was by far their best. After a year absence, the celebration returned to Domingo Paiz/Stone Sports Complex. They saved fireworks that were intended for last years 4th of July celebration that was cancelled due to the Monument Fire here locally and added to it to make for what was billed as the best display in southern Arizona.
Last year, I was on vacation back home in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for the 4th of July and I shot right off the riverbank of the Mississippi River and got some cool shots of the reflections of the fireworks off the water, two bridges and the crowd sitting at Riverside Park watching the show. You can see my images of last year HERE
Being a small town, Sierra Vista has very little to offer for a scenic cityscape, there are no interesting structures to incorporate into a fireworks shoot. Unlike last year where I could include architecture and water in my fireworks shots, this year, I opted to focus “JUST” on the fireworks and get as close as I could to fill the frame.
Shooting Fireworks is really not that hard, it’s relatively easy if you have the right equipment. All of the images below were shot with my Canon 5D SLR, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L Series lens, Manfrotto Tri Pod and Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote Shutter Controller. When shooting fireworks or lightning, a Tri Pod and shutter release cable is a must; otherwise you’ll never be able to pull of a crisp image due to camera shake due while holding your shutter open for a long exposure. All of the images below were shot at ISO 50, 35mm, f/9.0 and the shutter was open 3-5 seconds. Normally what I do is hold the shutter down as the rocket is shooting up and release just after the blossom reaches it’s largest diameter. When shooting a multi burst or finale shorten your time just a bit otherwise you’ll run the risk of over exposing and losing all color and detail.
I was lucky this year, the ground show provided a weird smoke cloud that stayed just above the staging area. The high humidity from a monsoon storm that blew through earlier in the day and stopped 5 minutes before the show started helped keep the smoke around. This added some additional drama as the fireworks lit up the cloud in different colors and I was glad I chose to stay close because if I had chosen to shoot from a different location or elevation I would have missed that effect.
Thanks to the Sierra Vista Rotary Club, City of Sierra Vista Leisure and Library Services Department, Fort Huachuca and Business Community Members for making this year the best show I have seen here so far.
© 2015 Butterfield Photography All Rights Reserved