Category Archives: Photo Tips & Techniques

Photo Post – Fireworks

The fireworks this year had some rockets with streamers that zig-zagged in unpredictable ways. I caught one of them here along the the purple trails possibly remaining from a previous shell.

Click to Enlarge Images

It’s that time of year: barbecues, burgers and beer, hotdogs and a trip out to see the local fireworks display. I always look forward to photographing fireworks because “it’s like a box of chocolates… you never know what you are going to get.”

I cropped this image from a larger one placing the white spot of an exploding rocket near one of the “power points” of the frame. Have you heard of the rule of thirds?

In this post I’m including four shots I like best out of about 100 I shot during one of the area’s smaller shows. I think three of them are a little less typical than most fireworks photos I’ve seen. I think that’s why I like them so much.

Here, I kept the shutter open only momentarily capturing a small part of the rocket’s stars.

Getting cool fireworks photos is surprisingly easy. I could tell you how, but then I’d have to kill you… hahah. Kidding!

For this shot I opened the shutter after a single rocket was launched and just before it exploded. Then I closed the shutter a few moments after the white streamers appeared.

For how-to tips on photographing fireworks see my how-to post titled… drum roll… How to Photograph Fireworks. Well, what did you expect? LOL.

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Photo Lesson: Mysteries of the Histogram Unraveled

What secrets are hidden in the digital histogram?
What secrets are hidden in the digital histogram?

One of the pillars upon which good photography rests is proper or optimum exposure. Without it, an otherwise outstanding photograph falls short or may be completely ruined.

If you don’t know much about histograms, and don’t want to know much about them but want to improve your digital photography here’s the condensed version of this post: Histograms show the distribution of brightness values in a photo. Check the histograms after every shot and adjust your exposure to keep the graph within the left and right borders like the histogram above. If you want a better of understanding of histograms then read on…

How to Photograph Fireworks

I often like fireworks photos where they spill out of the frame.
I often like fireworks photos where they spill out of the frame.

I wish I had posted this a week or so ago in order to give you a little more of an opportunity to soak it all in, but better a little late than never. Right? There’s still a day till the 4th.

Fireworks are intensely hot explosions but photos of fireworks can be pretty cool. How’s that for some clever word play? OK, forget that… I’ve had a glass of wine…

I probably didn't leave the shutter open very long for this shot.
I probably didn’t leave the shutter open very long for this shot.

Seriously, getting good photos of fireworks requires both knowing how as well as good luck. I can help with the first part. READ MORE…

Photo Lesson: HDR… What’s That About?

You may have heard of it. Possibly seen the letters on your camera or smart phone screen: HDR. What does that mean? What does it do? Why should you care? Glad you asked. What follows is a simplified, lay explanation of HDR but it should suffice for our purposes. I’m also including some photos so you can see for yourself. READ MORE…

The HDR image at the bottom right combines the best of the other three.
The HDR image at the bottom right combines the best of the other three. Click to enlarge into a new web browser window.

Shoot the Moon and Miss Completely

Full moon
The exposure for this moon shot was calculated using the Sunny f-16 Rule. See article text.

Have you heard the song? Shoot the Moon by Norah Jones? How does any man listen to her sing and play her piano and not fall hopelessly in love with the woman? And it’s not just Shoot the Moon. I’ve got her album Come Away With Me in my music library and it’s the most listened to of all the albums I own.

In Shoot the Moon there’s a line, part of which is title of this Photo Tip. Have you ever seen a big, beautiful full moon in the dark night sky that you wanted to photograph but when you tried it came out over-exposed, all white with little or no detail? You may have a camera that makes terrific exposures most of the time but when you shoot the moon it misses completely, giving you disappointing exposures.

Here’s what’s going on… READ MORE


Last night I published a post titled “Making Better Photographs: Which Camera To Buy”. It was supposed to include some photographs, but apparently it did not, at least for some people. Whether it was a breakdown in technology or operator error I don’t know. Either way, I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience . I will attempt to include the photos below. Cross your fingers! If you don’t see them below, and even if you do, HERE is a link to the full article on the blog.

The photos above were all created on the iPhone. Most if not all the post-processing was also done on the iPhone.