Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fireworks Photography!

It’s time to get ready for Fourth of July celebrations and the amazing fireworks show that accompany the barbeques and other events. Want to get some amazing images? You can capture some spectacular scenes if you take a few tips with you before you begin shooting. Taking photos of fireworks is not very difficult, and you don’t need the nicest gear to create great photos. Really all you need to take photos of fireworks is a camera and a tripod. (Or anything else that is stable to set the camera on) you will want to take long exposures where there is no hope of handholding and getting clear images.fireworks

Scout Your Spot: If at all possible, get the event early and take a look around. See if you can get an unobstructed view or if you can position yourself where other onlookers’ heads won’t be in the way. You should also be deciding on whether your photos are going to have just the fireworks bursts in them, or if you are going to include a foreground or background. Sometimes adding the extra dimension of having the ground, water, trees or buildings can really make your photos spectacular. This is where it’s great to have a zoom lens so you can change your field of view easier. Plan your composition, but be prepared: once the fireworks begin, often times they are higher or larger than you expect and you will need to adjust to accommodate it. I have a pick-up truck and set up my camera/tripod and a folding chair in the back. This way, even if people are standing all around me (which they usually are) I am shooting above their heads!

Focusing: Switch your Lens to Manual Focus. Cameras will rarely be able to find focus on fireworks itself. To focus, use your camera’s live view if it has it, and zoom in to where the fireworks are. You can then manually adjust to see when your focus is correct. If you don’t have live view, just set your lens focus right at infinity and take some test images to make sure they are sharp. After you have the focus set, you shouldn’t have to change it as long as you don’t bump the lens.
Add a Remote Release: A remote release can free you up to focus on your images and keep your eye on the sky. They are inexpensive and many photographers find them to be an invaluable accessory. AND – if your lens was Image Stabilization (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR) – TURN IT OFF!

Exposure:In Manual Mode, Set your camera to f8, and a 5 second shutter speed. Start at ISO 200 and see if the fireworks are exposing correctly. If you need to go brighter or darker, adjust your ISO accordingly. If you expose too bright, the colors of the fireworks will start clipping. You can use your camera’s histogram to make sure the data is not hitting the right side of the graph. Most of the images you see on this post were taken between F/8 and F/16 with a shutter speed of 1 to 2 seconds.
Since Fireworks are a fast light source that is moving, it’s similar to a flash where changing the shutter speed doesn’t change the brightness of the bursts. So here’s where your personal preference comes in a lot- Adjust the shutter speed to match how many bursts you want in the photo. A longer speed, like 10 seconds, will have lots of fireworks, where a shorter speed, like 2-5 seconds will have less. Be careful not to have too many, as they can overlap and be too bright for the sensor to capture causing the colors will blow out. You can also do even shorter speeds for a different look. Shooting under a second will capture less of the bursts, and the fireworks will not trace the same patterns across the photo. Have fun with it and experiment to see what you like!fireworks

Forget the Flash: Your flash can be more of a hindrance in this case because it may signal to your camera that you need a shorter exposure time. The flash only helps when your object is a few feet away, so in this case, even though it’s dark, keep the flash turned off.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
One final note: Don’t get so involved taking photos that you miss the firework show! I was pretty bad with this so now I usually get set up, take some photos for a few minutes, watch for a few minutes, take some more shots.  It is a celebration – Have Fun!


Posted in photography

Water Lilies

Water lilies – or Nymphaea, to scientists – are considered by many to be the jewels of the pond. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they also serve an important purpose in the pond, mainly in aiding its ecosystem. Water lilies spread across the waters surface, filling it with color and vibrancy all the while keeping the pond and the creatures in it safe and healthy. produce.

Besides being pleasing to the eye, water lilies do a great deal to maintain the well-being of the ponds they inhabit. For one, they provide shade to keep the water temperature down during the hot summer months. By blocking out a lot of sunlight, the lilies help to keep the algae growth down. Their shade also gives shelter to any fish that may be in the pond ­– a respite from both the sun and any predators that may be lurking nearby. They also absorb nutrients in the water that would normally feed these undesirable green plants, keeping the water clear and clean-looking.

In the center of all water lilies are golden stamens – the organ of the flowers that bear pollen. When the lilies are young, the stamens stand straight. As the flowers age, they begin folding and curling into the flower.

Here are a few for your viewing pleasure!

Click on image for larger view:

Posted in art and entertainment, flowers

Topaz Simplify

A photog friend, Mike Moats, ran a blog post today about Topaz Simplify 4. This is a plug-in that I like to use too. I find that it helps to give a “painterly” effect to images.  After reading Mikes post this morning, I pulled up an image of a Gerbia Daisy that I recently shot and processed it through Topaz Simplify 4. You can see the result below. 

If you would like to take a look at Mike’s blog, you can see it by clicking here.

Click image for larger view:

Posted in flowers, photography


So yesterday afternoon I took a little stroll along the Marshwalk here in Murrells Inlet.  Not only is the Marshwalk in such a beautiful location, but if you pay attention and really look at your surroundings, you are likely to see all kinds of stuff.

Here are a few things that caught my attention yesterday as I walked along.

Click image for larger view:

Posted in art and entertainment, marshwalk, murrells inlet, photography

Black and White

Why learn about black and white photography in a world that so emphasizes color? There is an excellent chance that you have never even taken a black and white photograph in your entire life. If that’s the case, you’re in for a big treat.

In spite of the incredible popularity of digital photography in general, and creating color images in particular, there will always be room for black and white.

The elegance and timelessness of black and white photography ensures its continual popularity. The fact is that more people are becoming interested in black and white photography for many reasons…

Here are a few that I have recently done. I hope you enjoy them.

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Posted in art and entertainment, Black and White, photography


Did I ever introduce you to a Mandala? I don’t remember for sure. So since I just created a new one, now is a good time to talk about them. Here’s the poop!

The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

The first mandala is one I created this morning. The others I did previously and included for your viewing pleasure.

Click on image for larger view:


Posted in abstract, Digital Art, Fun Stuff, mandala, orbs

Out of Bounds

Playing with Out of Bounds (OOB) technique this afternoon. OOB is commonly known as ‘Out of bound’. Creating illusions of 3D by this technique is not new. It has been around from a long time. You will find many photos of OOB in many magazines and books. When I learnt this photo manipulation technique, believe me I made quite a few. Haven’t done any for a while, so tried my hand at it again today. The result is shown below for your enjoyment.

Click on image for larger view:


Posted in abstract, photography

Inlet Crab House and Raw Bar

The Inlet Crab house and Raw Bar is he only Captain owned and family operated restaurant in Murrells Inlet. Established in 1992 by the Mayes family the Inlet Crab House is located on Business Hwy 17 in the heart of Murrells Inlet directly across from Inlet Apothecary.  Check out their menu online at


Click on image for larger view:


Posted in marshwalk, murrells inlet, photography


Added a new image to the gallery FRACTALS this morning. Here is a sneak preview for you to enjoy!  The entire gallery can be seen at  or just click on “Galleries” above then “Fractals”. Comments welcome!

Click on image for larger view:

Posted in photography

Afternoon Shoot

Did a little afternoon shoot around the ol’ homestead today. Nothing special, mostly florals, mostly macro. Here are a few i cherry-picked to share with you. Hope you enjoy. Click on each image to see larger version.


Posted in art and entertainment, flowers, macro, outdoor