I was about to give up. We had been walking for an hour in the rain trying to find a spot to watch the fireworks. The crowd was unlike anything I've seen in Tokyo.
We finally found a good spot, five minutes after the fireworks had started. Unfortunately, it turned out to be quite underwhelming. I did not want all this walk in the rain to go to waste so I pulled out my camera.
The usual way of photographing fireworks is to use a tripod to make long exposures, which photographers around us thoughtfully brought with them.
To compensate for the lack of stabilisation, I initially tried shooting with a very high shutter speed, freezing the moment. The results were quite bland — just pictures of fireworks.
I thought to myself, what if I embraced this limitation? Instead of keeping the camera stable on a tripod, I can try moving the camera around and see the kind of results I get.
And it was fun! I am glad I did not go home.
The wrist tilt
The method I used here is focusing on the edge of the fireworks and quickly panning away from it. In order to get a straight line, I tilted my wrist rather than my entire arm.
The brush strokes
Not sure how I got those, but they might be my favorites.
The curvy tilt
After trying to get straight lines, I wondered how curving the trajectory during the tilt would look like. I ended up with things that look like wheat crops or confetti ribbons.
These experiments ended up saving the evening for me. It was a good reminder to get out there.
I particulary love the glow between the fireworks. This results in an organic feel that would be hard to get on a computer. Despite being visually simple, there is an organic depth that adds just the right amount of complexity to balance the picture.
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