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Tips for Taking Photos at the 2007 World Pyro Olympics

World Pyro Olympics 2007 184 (Custom).jpgLast night, Anton, Ka Edong, Abraham, myself and a bunch of other folk went to see the second day of the World Pyro Olympics.

I decided to post some tips I got from Anton as well as some of my personal thoughts if you decide to make your way to the other days. Click on the images for a larger version.

Logistics and where to park

  • The best place to park would be in the Blue Wave area because of the abundance of parking space with the new field parking. Blue Wave is located at the Petron Gas Station at the corner that leads straight to Mall of Asia.
  • There are many reasons why you would want to park there: it makes for a good meeting place for your other friends because of the many restaurants available, it has clean restrooms so you can do your business before going to the venue (the Esplanade has portalets – I doubt you would want to trust your ass sitting on a very dirty portalet in the venue area), and the place is walking distance from all the hubub that will be caused in the MOA area.

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  • If you want to bring water, you can buy it from the grocery store at the Petron Station.
  • Right after the second country finishes, it would be best to grab your things and leave the venue area as quickly as possible. This means that before the second country begins their show, have all your bags on you already. As soon as they finish, grab your tripod, camera and leave the area because the sheer volume of people exiting a very small niche can be scary. Head back to Blue Wave and use the restrooms there. Sit down, relax and show off your photos.

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Photography of Fireworks

    Now for the fun part. Most of these tips were given to me by Anton so credit goes to him. (Please note that I am not a professional photographer so pardon the shots. Hehe.)

  • If you have a DSLR camera, make sure you bring a wide lens, a tripod, a flashlight and a jacket. I found my 18-55 kit lens (Canon) to be very adequate for the situation. And please do not forget the tripod.
  • The general viewing area is IMHO the best place to view the fireworks. You get a good view of the night sky, an interesting foreground, an area that isn’t crowded, and a cheap price to pay — P100.00 or $2.00.
  • Here are the manual settings we used: ISO 100, Bulb mode, and set your Aperture to f8. Use your widest lens – so in my case the kit lens at full zoom out There will be no announcements made during the event so do not be surprised if the fireworks start to go off without warning. However, do not be too pressured to start shooting as soon as the fireworks go off. Each presentation lasts for 20 minutes which means that you will have a lot of time to frame and focus. We were told to use auto focus first and then compensate with manual.
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  • When shooting, try covering the lens with your dark jacket or any dark cloth. Press and hold the shutter and “paint” what you want to see (I must reiterate to thank Anton for this tip). This means that when you see something you want to capture (the full bloom of the fireworks) remove the cloth and cover it once more, quickly. The objective is not to overexpose the fireworks. You know it has been overexposed once you see a lot of white in lets say, a blue or yellow color fireworks. If you have a remote shutter like this one then I suggest you use it to avoid camera shake
  • As to whether to shoot with portrait or landscape mode, it really depends on how the fireworks per country go off. I was lucky enough that Spain’s fireworks were all concentrated in one area which meant that portrait mode would be the best way to capture.
  • There is a one hour break between countries. This time actually goes by very fast. You can use this time to shoot the crowd wearing their pretty “glowing devil horns” and glow stocks which are being sold by the vendors. We were pretty much spread out as a group, leaving our tripods in one general area. Just make sure someone is watching at all times.
  • Don’t be disappointed if you get crappy shots. As Anton said, even if you just get one god shot out of the 200 photos you take, then that’s already good!

I’ll be uploading the other pictures soon at the gallery. Again, lots of thanks to Anton’s impromptu photography workshop. They will be shooting again soon so feel free to join!

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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