Chinese Firecracker

January 11, 2015  •  2 Comments

 

 

 

Chinese CrackerChinese CrackerCopyrighted Digital Photograph

 

Seeing The Unseeable

 

Irrespective of the technical means needed to “freeze” this event, I am fascinated by the aesthetic of a frozen moment when thousands of shards from the casings of many firecrackers flew into surrounding space, a space suffused with smoke and flame. Its look and clours remind me of a supernova event, where an end-of-life sun collapses on itself and blasts out its matter into the void of space.

 

The image preserves innumerable scraps and particles of the red paper which had contained the explosives, now in shattered shapes creating an abstract, tan-coloured, mass flying away from the central glow. The spokes of the tree grille at the base of the image give them direction and a sense of three-dimensional volume,which I find satisfying.

 

The whole effect is, for me, one of power, excitement, discovery and curiosity. 

 

Ready For Anything

 

I had been enjoying the noise, colour and bustle of the 2014 Paris Chinese New Year parade and my camera was set to my default camera settings for general photography in Winter, which is: Aperture Priority; ISO 800; single shot image capture and – if light is low, such that the shutter speed is below 1/500s – with Vibration Reduction activated on my zoom lens. I choose these, since I want to prioritise aperture adjustment as a means to adjust depth of field, particularly in order to blur out unwanted background detail. If I need to use a faster shutter speed, I tend to achieve this, more or less instinctively, by using one finger to spin a dial whih increases aperture, making the camera shoot at a faster speed to maintain correct exposure by compensating for the increased light.

 

When confronted by a Dragon Guardian about to set off a long band of firecrackers at the foot of a tree, I needed to adapt immediately to the need for speed.

 

Faster than a Speeding Bullet

 

Well, not exactly. Capturing something moving at 100 feet per second is achieved via synchronised flash photography, using cameras whose technology can “fire” at hundreds of frames per second and is being operated by a technically experienced, and hopefully lucky, operator. This was not my situation.

 

I therefore changed from aperture to shutter priority mode, set a speed of one thousandth of a second and the shooting rate from single to highest speed. Then I mentally crossed my fingers and started to shoot, because the long, multi-element firecracker was already starting to explode.

 

Luckily for me and surprisingly too, an exploding firecracker moves much slower than a bullet, so that I was able to capture several rapid-fire shots of the event, in one of which the outward-flying fragments were mainly in focus. This one.

 

Settings

 

Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G

Focal Length: 70 mm

Vibration reduction: Off

Focus Mode: AF-C

Autofocus Area Mode: Single

Aperture: f/4.5

Shutter Speed: 1/1000s

Exposure Mode: Shutter Priority

Continuous High (maximum frames per second shooting)

Exposure Compensation : 0

Metering: Matrix

ISO Sensitivity: 800

Hand Held

 

Chinese New Year is on Thursday February 19 in 2015. Chinese communities worldwide will be putting on a traditional “son et lumiere” to celebrate it, on or around that date. Why not make plans to try to capture your own impression of one of these celebrations?

 

Copyright Paul Grayson 2015


Comments

Karie(non-registered)
Amazing Paul! Impeccable timing.
Eric(non-registered)
Très belle maîtrise de la lumière et de la vitesse, ce qui dans ce cas n'est pas du tout évident. Chaque nouvelle photo est une surprise pour moi et la révélation d'une nouvelle facette de ton talent. Encore bravo !
No comments posted.
Loading...
Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February (4) March (1) April May (1) June July August September October (1) November December
January (3) February (3) March (5) April (2) May June (1) July August September October November December
January (4) February (4) March (3) April May June July August September October November December
January (4) February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April (1) May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December (1)
January (4) February (4) March (4) April (5) May (4) June (3) July (2) August September October November December