It was a magic night under the fire in the sky. Last night we watched the fireworks competition of the 2019 Pyronale on the Maifeld at the steps of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. And I took my PEN-F and tried to capture some of its splendor.
I never really photographed firework before, but it was something I always wanted to do. The opportunity came last night, when we visited the Pyronale fireworks competition in Berlin, which takes place annually on the grounds of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. On two days, six professional fireworks companies, each from another country, face off in a competition where each team has to shoot a show consisting of three elements – color display without music, interpretation of a mandatory music element and then a presentation to three pieces from a classical music pool. Each show lasts about 15 minutes. And it was totally awesome.
To capture the glory, I brought my Olympus PEN-F and my mZuiko 12mm f/2. A combo small enough to be allowed inside the shooting grounds (professional cameras and tripods are prohibited). I also brought my little beanbag to put the camera on and aim it up at the sky in a stabilized way.
The PEN-F has a shooting mode called “Live Composite”. I select the aperture (in this case f/6.3) and the ISO (in this case my lowest which is 200). I control the camera via my Olympus iPhone app. Live Composite is a mode where the camera essentially shoots a dark frame and then at .5 second intervals (you can select intervals up to 60 secs but for the fireworks I used .5 and 1 second intervals) adds another frame and blends it over the frames already taken. On my iPhone display (as well as on the camera’s LCD screen, if I use cable release or press the shutter myself) you see the image develop, getting brighter and brighter. When you are satisfied with what you see, you simply press the shutter a second time and the image is saved. A really cool feature, that has it’s strength in night photography.
The trick was not to overdo it! If you kept the shutter open too long, the firework plums overlayed each other too much. This resulted in a muddy, blown out light mix. But 45 minutes of showtime gave me enough time to practice shooting the fire in the sky.
I was really happy with the results of my first ever real attempt at capturing a fireworks. I took plenty photographs last night and still need to sort through them. The images in this post were just some quick edits that caught my eye last night importing into LR.
Post processing in Adobe Lightroom CC Classic
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Have a great Sunday!