Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 July 4th Fireworks - Tehachapi, California

2015 Independence Day Fireworks #1 - Tehachapi, California
The quaint town of Tehachapi, California, which sits in the mountains of central California, has a fireworks show every July 4th. Last year my family and I skipped the fireworks. The year before we viewed the show from an overlook. Three years ago we saw the fireworks from the municipal airport, which (as it turned out) was a great place to see it because that's where they launch the firecrackers. Our plan this year was to view it from the airport.

We arrived at the airport just as the first firecracker exploded in the sky above us. To our disappointment, the airport wasn't opened up like it had been the last time we came. It used to be that one could go onto the airport grounds (inside the fence) and view the show from a designated spot on the ramp. Not this year.

Unfortunately, having to stay outside of the fence was not good for photography. Not only was the fence blocking the view, but so were power lines that were strung above the fence. However, it was too late to find another spot.
2015 Independence Day Fireworks #2 - Tehachapi, California
Everyone got out of the car and found a place to set up the camping chairs that we had brought. I quickly scoped out a spot--any spot--where I could set up my tripod and photograph the show. I found a small crack in the fence at a closed gate. It was barely enough of a gap to capture through with a telephoto lens (Nikkor 55-200mm AF-S DX f/4-5.6G ED). There was no chance of using anything other than telephoto, so that dictated the compositions.

I put the camera, a Nikon D3300, in manual mode and played around with the exposure to find the sweet spot. It took some experimenting, but ISO 100, f10, and 6 seconds worked well for this show. The focal length was set between 70mm and 90mm, depending on the exposure.

The fireworks show seemed short--it was over in 15 minutes. Maybe it was my imagination, but I think it was longer in previous years. It was decent, though, especially considering that this is a small town. I post-processed these images at home using Alien Skin Exposure 7 software.
2015 Independence Day Fireworks #3 - Tehachapi, California
Fire Palm Tree Monochrome - Tehachapi, California
Monochrome Fireworks #1 - Tehachapi, California
Monochrome Fireworks #2 - Tehachapi, California

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