Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Royal 4th

Sometime images fall into your lap, other times you have to trek to get them. Last night was definately on of the "Trekking" nights. Before starting I want to state that I do not condone trespassing on Private Property nor would I suggest that my readers do so. I've wanted to photograph the 4th of July fireworks celebration the last few years but prior engagements have always stopped me from doing so. This year I planned long in advance that I would be shooting the 4th of July display and so an hour before it began at 8:00pm, I closed up the gallery and headed for my envisioned vantage. I wanted an angle that would show not only the fireworks on all thier glory, but also an iconic Kona coastline. This way the images would be unmistakably Hawaii based. Initially I thought of framing the fireworks in between a couple of silhouetted palms trees, but quickly decided that was too generic. I needed something that said not just "Hawaii", but rather "Kona". Finally I settled upon the backdrop being The Royal Kona Resort, an iconic Kona Landmark. The problem with this is that the only vantage of the royal Kona that would give the proper angle is from Thurston's point. On a typical day there is public access right down to the beach, but due to the many multi million dollars homes that in habit the point, there seemed to be heightened security measures. Probably in hopes of keeping enthusiastic patriots from setting a multi million dollar fire. When I arrived at the normal shore accsess the gates were closed and padlocked. With an extra big signed that read something along the lines of no trespassing, do not enter, violators will be shot, or something like that. After a quick visual sweep of the darkened private road on the other side of the fence, I decided the coast was clear. I used the corner of the "no trespassing" sign to hang my camera bag on, and threw my tripod over the head high fence. After hoisting myself to the top, I retrieved my camera bag and slid down to the tripod on the other side. I crossed the street and almost immediately a flashlight shone my direction. A security gaurd yelled something at me meaning something like "hey you can't be here" And I of course took of running. Once around a small bend I jumped into some bushes in an empty lot that sat between two houses. The security gaurd jogged past me and out of sight scanning back and forth with his flashlight in hopes of finding me, to no avail.  Once I decided the coast was clear for the second time that night I began my way to the shoreline. Almost Instantly the motion detecting lights from one of the houses flashed on lighting up my position like a roman candle. Was again I found myself running. Upon making it to the shoreline I realized just how dark it really was. No moon in the sky and without my usual aid of a position indicating flashlight the going became much slower. There was a hug swell for the 4th of July and all the rocks were slippery and wet. After half hiking, and half stumbling for about 10 minutes I came upon the small beach the faces south, and began to setup my tripod. I had cut it pretty close and it was already 7:50 so I didnt have much time to search for an angle. I quickly estimated where I thought the fireworks would be and setup my tripod to include the hotel, fireworks and a tide pool in the foreground hoping to catch the reflection of the explosions. I packed lightly and only had two camera bodies, and one lens for each, A 50mm 1.8 and a 20mm 2.8. Both of the lenses are prime lenses so they do not zoom, but because of that, the optics are very clean and the lenses them self are fairly light. Though the 20mm is spectacular the 50mm is easily the most commonly used lens I own. If you don't have it. get it. Dollar for quality no other lens compares. I sed two camera bodies, one Canon 7D the other a Canon t3i. I set them up on intervalometers to run both simultaneously without having to man each camera. I framed each camera and then set them to take 6 second exposures back to back. As soon as I had the first camera situated the first firework rocked toward the sky and exploded almost exactly where I thought it would. I had to re frame the shot to catch some of the higher altitude explosions. Once framed, I turn on the intervalometer and ran over to my second camera which I framed Landscape so as to compliment the Portrait framing of my first camera. I turned the intervalometer on for that one and then sat back and enjoyed the show. This is what I came out with: