Tokyobling's Blog

Obaiba Winter Fireworks

Posted in Places by tokyobling on December 29, 2013

Winter fireworks festivals are not very common in Japan but throughout November and December there has been mini-festivals every Saturday evening in Tokyo’s oceanfront Odaiba district and I thought I should go see the last one for the year. I am terrible at taking photos of fireworks, I have absolutely no idea how other photographers do it. Maybe some of my readers can give me a few hints? The only thing I have figured out is that you are supposed to use a tripod. I own one but I haven’t touched it in 5-6 years. The fireworks festival was a great excuse to go out and the the Rainbow bridge in all its colorful glory once again. I was going to shoot from the bridge initially but the bridge closes for foot-traffic at 1800 in winter. Just a few days left of this year now, better make the best of them!

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10 Responses

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  1. C said, on December 29, 2013 at 5:27 am

    I was supposed to go to one of those before leaving, but it got too cold and I didn’t have the right clothing. Yes, I’m a wuss!

    I think this is one instance where you just have to take a ton and crop for what you want. I’ve been told over and over: tripod, wide-angle (18-22mm), manual exposure, 3-5 sec at f/5.6 or f/8, focus to infinity, low ISO, shoot RAW so you can fix any blowouts from the highlights. If you shot those without a tripod, that’s pretty amazing — really black skies!

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    • tokyobling said, on December 29, 2013 at 7:45 am

      It was very cold indeed, even with the right clothing!

      Thanks! The skies were black thanks to the absence of clouds I think. (^-^) I had my shutter set for 1 to 3 seconds, I wanted to try going longer but freehand it is not really an option… (^-^;)

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  2. Jonelle Patrick said, on December 29, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Seriously! What are you talking about? These are fantastic! It was brilliant of you to shoot them over water, because the reflections are to die for.

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    • tokyobling said, on December 29, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Thank you Jonelle! You are much too kind! I see tons of really nice fireworks photography every where I look online, always wondered how to do it. I need someone to teach me! (^-^)

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  3. Hangaku Gozen said, on December 29, 2013 at 8:23 am

    These are beautiful! I don’t know why you think you’re “terrible” at taking photographs of fireworks. Frankly, I think a number of photos I’ve seen, say, on Flickr and other photo uploading websites, look like they’ve been Photoshopped to death. Your photos are well-composed and capture the contrast between the colored sparks and the night sky.

    I have a “Fireworks” setting on my point-and-shoot little camera, but it doesn’t work unless I use a tripod. The only time I’ve had any success at capturing fireworks/lights at night was when I used a fire hydrant to steady my camera: very crude, but it worked for the moment. I’ve been told if I’m serious about capturing similar shots, I have to bring a tripod with me. Which is a pain in the butt when you’re traveling, especially by public transportation.

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    • tokyobling said, on December 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you! You are much too kind. Maybe I have been looking too much at other’s photos and not reading enough manuals. (^-^;) I totally agree with you about the tripod. Maybe if I had a personal assistant. Some day when I am rich! (^-^)

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      • C said, on December 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        One year I had a real tripod and my friend’s son’s 1960-something convertible during Fourth of July. Way too many of us packed in the car, looking for the right vantage point for fireworks. I’d jump out with camera attached to tripod, pop it open, take a shot, and move on. Everyone else in the car thought it was funny — until they got poked in the head or side with the tripod!

        I’ve also used a Gorillapod and other keychain tripods. And stuff just like fire hydrants too. Or someone’s shoulder! If I had a remote timer, that would probably be ideal. I think Scott Kelby’s article(s) on shooting fireworks are the polar opposite of other advice — zoom in close to get the tails of light.

        You captured a rainbow in pic #2 — never saw that before, very cool. So even if you don’t think the photos are technically perfect, they hold a lot of value (and “learning experiences” 😉

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        • tokyobling said, on December 31, 2013 at 4:33 am

          You are much too kind! (^-^) I will bring a tripod on my next fireworks adventure. (^-^)

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  4. celia knox said, on December 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Stunning photos!

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