Possum Kingdom Fireworks © Ben Jacobi
I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day, and if you were off long weekend. My girlfriend Ashlee, my roommate Jaden, and myself took a trip down to Possum Kingdom Lake for their annual fireworks show. Normally, I don't photograph the 4th of July fireworks anymore. After you've done it for so many years it gets kinda old. But this year I was planning on driving down to see the spectacular show put on by Possum Kingdom.
I had always heard about this show, but never experienced it myself. So the 4th of July came and passed, but that Saturday on the 6th was the fireworks show at Possum Kingdom Lake. They fire them off from the cliff of Hell's Gate and I thought it would make for a cool time-stack composite/blend. We arrived in time to get in line for the entrance to YMCA camp Grady Spruce located on a peninsula across from Hell's Gate. The vantage point would give us a nice clean view of the cliffs and the fireworks and maybe some reflections in the lake.
After scouting around we found what we thought was the best area to shoot the fireworks. Hopefully no boats would move right in front of our composition. We stood there on location waiting for it to get dark enough for the fireworks show. We waited and waited and waited until around 10:45pm when the first artillery shell launched off Devil's Island. The boom echoed throughout the canyon and lake causing everyone to catch their breath as they waited for the fireworks show to start.
The show began and we watched the fireworks dazzle about the hazy night sky. The humidity was so strong and the winds so weak that the smoke from the fireworks lingered on the cliffs and illuminated in this eerie reddish glow. The bright flashes and loud booms was resembled a battlefield and really helped bring the whole experience together. The show--while very impressive--did only last for about fifteen minutes which was just enough time to get everything right and figured out in camera.
I knew what my settings were going to be, but I was unsure about the composition. After all, this was my first time attending this show and I didn't know how high up the fireworks would be in my frame. I opted for my Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC lens and shot at the 30mm focal length. This gave me the option to go wider if I needed. I estimated where the fireworks would land in my frame and hoped my guess was accurate. Turns out I wasn't too far off, in fact, I had tilted my camera a little too high, but after some adjusting during the show I found the composition that worked.
I decided to go with a time-stack blend composite to show mainly the highlights of the fireworks show. It took a total of 14 images to create the final version and it was tricky lining up all the boats in the water. But all in all I think the image came out as best as it could and now that I've had the experience I feel like I will capture it even better the next time I visit.