Friday, November 16, 2012

POTW: 'Birthday Girl' by Aaron M Photo

"Birthday Girl" ~ © Aaron Meyers (Aaron M Photo). Click on photo for a larger view.
This 75th Birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge is our featured Photo of the Week. Aaron Meyers photographed it with a Nikon D700, using a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S @ 40mm, f/9, 3.3 sec, ISO 200. Aaron set the camera on bulb mode so he could control how long the shutter was open. It was shot just below "Slacker Hill" in the Marin Headlands. There was no manipulation of this image other than Lightroom and Photoshop for standard clean up.

Challenges: Fog was predicted for this evening so there was worry that the entire thing would be skunked and the fireworks wouldn't be visible. The location Aaron wanted to use, Hawk Hill, is lower in elevation than Slacker Hill and he feared if he went to the lower spot it might be in the fog. Meyers decided to go to a higher elevation and hope that if there was fog he might get fireworks coming out of it. As it turned out, there wasn't any fog at all and any location he would have picked would have worked.

Another obstacle to overcome was that fireworks can be blown out if you keep the shutter open too long. Depending on how long the fireworks lasted, Aaron knew he would have to quickly raise or lower the ISO. If he wanted to capture a lot of fireworks he would lower the ISO to let more of the fireworks be captured without clipping. If he just wanted to highlight a quick section of the fireworks, he would increase the ISO so he could get the color and details. He also wanted to keep the ISO fairly high because the lights on the bridge had been turned off and the bridge just looked black if the ISO was too low. "It was a constant struggle the entire night to get enough exposed without over-exposing," says Aaron!

Satisfaction: Aaron knew this was going to be a special event and he was excited to photograph it. Once he saw the weather was going to hold out and there wouldn't be any fog he started to get even more excited. Choosing the "best" spot to photograph became a tough decision.

"I was running all over, back and forth between places trying to decide," says Aaron. "Once the fireworks started I knew this was going to be a special day. The committee that organized the fireworks did a beautiful job and this was the best fireworks show I had ever seen -- complete with lasers, sparklers, fireworks, and more. It was truly a breathtaking experience. I know everyone around me, myself included, left in awe."

More of Aaron's night photography can be seen at his website.

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