bulb mode

Fireworks 2019 Balloon Fiesta Park Albuquerque New Mexico

Fireworks 2019 Balloon Fiesta Park Albuquerque New Mexico

Fireworks Photography in Albuquerque 2019

For the first 4th of July in a long time I had my camera out on a tripod using bulb mode and an index card to capture multiple fireworks burst in one exposure. Setup in a wide open field at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico I had a clear view with little wind to blow smoke into the frame, but on the other hand not much of a foreground to set the fireworks in. My step-by-step guide for making fireworks photos goes into even more detail about how and why I like to photograph fireworks. Still, I was pleased with the images I was able to make even from a good distance away.

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Lightning Fine Art Photography St. Petersburg Florida Snell Isle Composite

Lightning over Smacks Bayou, Snell Isle, St. Petersburg Florida fine art photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 17.1 secMy after dinner twilight walk with Kiki was thwarted this evening by rain and lightning.  So after going back inside I mounted my Nikon to my tripod to see if I could get lucky and capture a few bolts.  Of course the lightning was striking much more frequently when I was out with Kiki than when I was actually out with my camera, but with some patience I finally got enough lightning in a shot to fill the frame.  The image above is a slight composite of two images to add just a bit more lightning.  

Heat Lightning in the Cloud Heavens over Florida

Space Stars Earth Cloud Lightning Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 20.4 sec bulb mode tripod mounted with cable release

As Kiki and I were returning from our customary after dinner walk, before us in the deep twilight sky was a large cloud flashing from within.  I went out onto my back patio with Nikkor 80-200mm mounted to my Nikon D300 mounted to my Induro CT214 tripod having set the shutter speed to bulb mode.  I put the focus on infinity, the focal length to 80mm, locked the ballhead, connected the cable release and began making long exposures noting the flashes of light.

Heat lightning is a common sight in the Florida night sky, but rarely do you see distinct bolts of lightning creep horizontally across an isolated cloud.  Usually the sky just flashes in general, and unfocused giant flash bulb.  Tonight this cloud formation appeared as a witch's cauldron brewing a silent power.

Clouds illuminated from within before the night sky - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 14.7 sec bulb mode tripod mounted with cable releaseStill, the lightning was very elusive and most of my shots turned out like the one above, revealing only the flash, not the bolt.  

The St. Petersburg Pier Night Light Reflection Florida fine art images

Click for larger version of The Pier night light reflections available for fine art print or commercial license - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 4.3 sec tripod mounted with cable release 

The Pier of St. Petersburg, Florida presents at this time a unique opportunity for local photographers.  It is by far the city's most recognizable landmark, but it is scheduled for demolition in one year's time.  A part of me does not necessarily believe in the end it will be razed because what is slated to replace it, a structure called "The Lens," is so preposterously fantastic I cannot imagine such a thing existing just off the modest St. Pete waterfront.

The odd shutter time of 4.3 seconds for this shot is due to shooting in bulb mode.  I took a test shot and then based on feel kept the shutter open how long I thought it would need.  A more scientific way would have been to use a stopwatch, but for exposures of only about 4 seconds a rough estimate counting in your head is good enough.