FIREWORKS OVER NEW YORK CITY! - Karl Tepfer Photography
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Brooklyn Bridge: 125th Birthday Celebration!
May 22, 2008. 8"x10" print size.
I've dedicated about 5 years attempting to enhance my skills in capturing the ever elusive fireworks image. Images of this kind are made much more difficult when one includes details that define the location along with the fireworks. This means one must incorporate foreground elements, buildings, reflective water, etc. Capturing "only" fireworks is less of a challenge and ultimately less satisfying. My goal has also, as with July 4th, always been to include the context of the celebration.
I knew this particular shoot would present some significant challenges: Very large crowds (Mayor Bloomberg giving a speech and the Brooklyn Philaharmonic Orchestra were playing about 400 yards from me). Although most people gathered near the music, I knew that the ideal photo location was a bit further North in a location I had previously used to capture the Light Tribute on 9/11. The ground was more "solid" and therefore less prone to camera shake and resulting blurry images during the very long (2-8 second) exposures necessary for these shots.
So, I rushed out of work, zoomed to Fulton Ferry Park and arrived at 4:45....knowing that the fireworks didn't begin until 8:55 pm! Upon arrival I saw one tripod chained to the fence right next to my location: it had a business card from the N.Y. Times Photographer attached to I knew I had chosen the right spot.
Now I just had two challenges: I had to "protect" my chosen location...especially from those who decided to arrive at about 8:45 and felt they could simply set up their tripods directly in front of mine, totally blocking my view. Fortunately, the other dedicated (?nutty) photographers such as myself who also arrived hours earlier immediately "invited" (in true New York Style) these late arriver's to re-locate. The tone and format of the suggestions that they leave made it clear that no R.S.V.P was required and we all therefore maintained our earned view of the event.
The only remaining problem, for me, was the 24 ounce large diet Coke I drank upon arriving at the location.
As the hours rolled by, the call from Nature was growing louder and louder along with the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background. Fortunately, I had become somewhat friendly with my fellow photographers and we all agreed to watch each other's equipment (photographic, that is) so liquid assets could be properly dispensed in the portable bathrooms that were set up for the event (about 200 yards away).

Of all the fireworks images I have attempted to capture over the years, I am most proud of this series. Sometimes the weather, your selected camera settings, and your bladder all cooperate and the end result is hopefully, worthy of display.
Comments are welcome. Feel free to give images in any of my galleries a "thumbs-up" rating. It is good for my ego and provides encouragement, as well as positive feedback. You can also leave a comment if you so desire.

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