British Musical Fireworks – Southport

It’s an annual event that I always really look forward to – The British Musical Fireworks Championships in Southport is a 3 night fireworks spectacular with 7 competitors all showing their skill to compete for the title.

A few months back we started our blog with a post about shooting fireworks at Disney, and the same principles apply for any fireworks display when the goal is to get lots of light trails with long exposures.

This year we went to the Sunday display with 2 shows, both of which were absolutely brilliant. Entry to the event is a little over £5 which is great value and each display lasts around 15-20 minutes, so plenty of opportunity to get some long exposure shots.

Luckily it was a dry but chilly evening so I took a simple setup, a Canon 5d Mk III with 24-70 lens attached, a sturdy tripod, a shutter release cable and an ND 0.9 filter.

I kept my camera settings pretty simple in Bulb mode, with an aperture of f16 and ISO set at 100, I then used the shutter release to trip the shutter and keep it open for varying times depending on what I wanted to capture. It can be very hit and miss and there is no one size fits all rule to these types of pictures. You may come out with only a handful of “keepers” but the effects can be pretty cool when you get it right.

I particularly like the silhouettes of the crowd in the bottom of the first picture. There isn’t much processing involved other than to add just a touch of clarity and increase the vibrance of the colours in the light trails using Lightroom.


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