HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks 2009

Posted by HelenEdith on November 8, 2009

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks through a telephoto lens

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks through a telephoto lens

This evening, Stephen and I went to our local fireworks display at the Chislehurst Recreation Ground. It’s run very efficiently by the local Rotary Club and was very well attended this year.

The gates were open from 6pm and there was a funfair for entertainment until the bonfire was lit at 7pm. To get a good view of the bonfire, you need to gravitate towards it soon after 6:30pm. I left it a fraction late and didn’t have quite the angle of view I wanted, but it worked out fine in the end as I got some interesting smoke pictures which I might put up later.

The fireworks were about 10 minutes late starting as there were still people coming in through the gates at 7:30pm and the stewards correctly decided to get them all in before allowing the display to go ahead. This year’s display was accompanied by music, and lasted a little over 20 minutes.

I usually photograph the fireworks with an extreme wide angle lens. It allows me to capture the flower-like patterns made by the light trails from their launching point to where they explode; but I decided that I’ve done that several years running and I wanted a change, so I used a telephoto lens this year. The success rate with a telephoto lens isn’t as good as it doesn’t cover as great an area, so you’re more liable to miss some of the fireworks, but the images are quite different from those captured with a shorter lens. I decided that I didn’t trust my Sigma 28-300 as the zoom on it is loose and it won’t stay where you zoom it if you point it up in the air. So I got out my old Tamron 85-210 lens for the occasion. I’ve had that lens for over 30 years and it fits right onto my digital SLR. It only works in manual mode, but as I was shooting by holding the shutter release open as long as I felt like, that hardly mattered. I just set the aperture on the aperture ring and got on with it!

Once the fireworks were over, Stephen said I owed him a burger and that he was cold. His hands were certainly cold. We patronised the burger van, but in the end, he paid! Then we walked home, and got wet. Somehow, between the fireworks display and finishing our burgers, the stars we could see in the sky had all disappeared, and rain had crept up on us!

At least our pussy-cat boys have been growing up to the sound of external bangs and have learnt to pay them no attention, so we came home to two nice relaxed cats. In fact, Rolo actually spent an extended spell on my lap! That’s usually Monty’s perch!

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