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Friday, 16 November 2018

Lindfield Fireworks 2018

Having had some success with fireworks photos at the Wivelsfield Bonfire Society event mid October I took advantage of the good weather and went with Alex to Lindfield for their annual firework display on 5th November.

Not coming from too far away and realising how busy the event would be we did park suitably close to the main event whilst being sufficiently far away that getting away would be no problem (top tip, turn your car in your escape direction before parking up, we saw plenty of people trying to turn around in the heavy traffic after getting very little sympathy).

I think for really good positioning a recky in daylight hours would be in order but I was still in experimental mode so not too concerned.

The plan for the evening was to test different F-stops to see at what point the fireworks looks their best.

everyone was in good spirits and the evening's events started with a torch lit parade leading a massive guy to the bonfire and a youth marching band playing followed by the fireworks.

My favourite of the evening because of the range of colours present is :

Olympus E-M10 mkii, 14mm, iso200, f10, .5s

I took around 100 shots in total and the display was long enough to ensure plenty of changes to settings, although unlike the Wivelsfield fireworks, which were set to music with a movies theme this year, Lindfield felt very much like "we've got a pile of fireworks and we're going to make some noise" kind of organisation. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, fireworks are always great to watch and there were plenty.

My final conclusion is that around F8 - F10 and 1/3rd to 1/2 a second exposure time is about right. Higher F-stops do work and whilst there is scope for more capturing more fireworks there is a danger of losing that punch that fireworks deliver by being so bright and whilst tweaking in Lightroom assists, nothing replaces a good initial shot and there is an element of pot luck as to which colour fireworks happen to fire off, so this picture just doesn't cut it :

Olympus E-M10 mk11, 14mm, iso200, f10, .5s

But that isn't universal truth as this shot at F16 demonstrates :

Olympus E-M10 mk II, 14mm, iso200, F16, .5s

The complete set of pictures can be seen here.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Review: Aftermath

Aftermath Aftermath by Devon C. Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still shaping up into a good tale with a good focus on the interplay of people causing themselves so many problems with the zombies being just zombies.

View all my reviews

Review: Apocalypse

Apocalypse Apocalypse by Devon C. Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it, British zombie romp, a dated setting but spot on for my age although younger readers may be confused by an absence of mobile phones :-)

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Saturday, 27 October 2018

Review: Dust to Dust: Deconstruction Book One

Dust to Dust: Deconstruction Book One Dust to Dust: Deconstruction Book One by Rashad Freeman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Another post apocalyptic romp, this time failing to build connection with the characters, yes it does make a change to have an ineffective hero but it just doesn't work well in the light of the competition out there. More importantly, no zombies.

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Friday, 26 October 2018

Wivelsfield Big Bang, part 2

As a second post about the Wivelsfield Bonfire Society fireworks, Wivelsfield Big Bang at the school on the 19th October, 2018, I will include the fireworks pictures themselves.

I feel these photos "come out well" and certainly display on screen with some impact. 

The picture above is my personal favourite, the bursts of light almost look like dandelions on a sunny day.

There was a small amount of processing, a couple of pictures were cropped, having set the camera up and made minor adjustments at the beginning to try to frame the shots correctly I had to go with what I had set and hope; best will in the world the rear LCD, located somewhere near my knees, is only an indication at best and fireworks do their thing at various heights. You will the top of a small tree in a lot of shots, I had no idea that was there until loading up on the PC.

With regards positioning, I need a better position but whilst I was attending and taking photos I was also dressed in a hi-viz jacket (and I can tell you batman looked cooler in a hi-viz that I did, not something you see everyday) and manning the boundary to ensure no one strayed close to the fireworks.

With regards processing the changes I made were solely about making the pictures stand out.

I changed the colour temperature, not 100% consistently but most started at around 3000k on auto, I saw an online suggestion of using Daylight (5500k) but I found that over the top for the strength of colour (let's call the predominant theme tango orange) and generally was using 4000-5000 (my skills are truly amateur here, so I mean it was 4000 or 4500 or 5000).

I did have to tweak the tint a couple of times, it seems fireworks are predominantly orange so orange and red fireworks together become too dominant so I have tried to bring back a better range of colour, for some reason my pictures tended to be around +7 towards the pink end of the scale (I need to experiment with the camera, I am not sure whether that is a feature of my raw files or Lightroom).

Blacks were increased to make the sky blacker, the background actually looks across Burgess Hill to the West which the usual orange glow of street lamps so making the sky a little blacker makes the fireworks stand out better.

Highlights were reduced a little, recovering all of the pixels tends to make for a flat picture so some burn out of pixels, the centre of the firework explosion, seems acceptable to me but a reduction outside of that brings colours away from just white.

Clarity was increased, generally around +40 to really make the streams of sparks stand out.

I increased vibrance to somewhere around +3- which brings the colours out.

And a small increase, around +10, for Saturation gives strong colours, online advice was suggesting +20 but that just went straight to hurting my eyes.

The final alteration was sharpening, some of the pictures, indeed the majority are untouched but with such a lot of movement some needed a little sharpening to add some punch.

A couple I did also adjust the luminance setting for Noise reduction, around +10, just to reduce the noise I was seeing. Interestingly inspite of using the same settings throughout once the show was underway the amount of sharpening and consequent luminance adjustment varied but in practical terms I am not sure that shows on the final output one way or another; so that is something else I need to work on, improving my appreciation of what the final picture will look like at each stage of change.

The bonfire society will be back next year, to keep up to date visit their Facebook page.