2018 summary and huge growth

Another year has gone by and our blog has had more growth than we imagined. A year ago, we wished that we could double the views and visitors and also increase comments, and we actually managed to almost quadruple views, visitors and comments. The only thing that has gone down is likes, but that was expected as we have much less visitors from WordPress or people that has a Gravatar that can give likes. I think this growth is satisfying as we still have almost no “advertisements” of our blog on other social media, means more than 80% of our visitors comes via search engines.

We also see some changes in the most visited countries since last year, USA is still at the top, but Norway and UK have switched places. Further we see several countries has left top ten and other countries has entered the list. Quite interesting to see that relatively small countries like the Netherlands, Romania and Italy has been able to push more populated countries out.

For 2019 we will do a couple of changes. One is that the blog will not have regular weekly updates any more, it will be when we feel like adding something interesting and worthy to publish. The other thing is that we will add another section about book recommendations. Notice, this will not be reviews, but short recommendations of books that we think is amazing, that really “speaks” to us in a deeper level. It will be mostly self-improvement and leadership books, as we as humans has so much more to learn at a “human” level that we are never taught at school. Believe this will be a interesting addition to our blog.

In the end we would like to thank all our visitors from all over the world and hope to see you and many more in the year to come. I would not like to come with another wish for the blog other than that we continue to grow in a steady pace, like doubling again?

 

How to photograph fireworks

Photographing fireworks is not difficult, but also not easy, because fireworks don’t happen too often so you can’t practice your skills when you want to. So if you haven’t photographed fireworks before you should try to minimize the possibilities for error. Here is a short list of things to think about with a short explanation.

1. The camera
Camera with manual settings, but also predefined firework setting will do.
When I’m taking a series of photos, I like that they all look similar in exposure and white balance. In automatic or semi automatic setting this will jump around a bit for each photo.

2. Tripod
You could use a big stone or the roof of your car, but the point is that the shutter speed will be way too long to be handhold even with the best image stabilization, so you need a sturdy way to place your camera.

3. Low ISO
Parts of the photo will be dark or even complete black and in those areas it will be easy to see image noise, so you should use the lowest ISO your camera has, or at least as low as it doesn’t have noise in dark parts of the photo.

4. Turn off the flash
Should be obvious, but all of the time we see people using flash in any conditions.

5. Turn off long exposure noise reduction
This feature does a great job of removing noise, but with low ISO it’s not necessary and also it takes the same time as your shutter speed to perform the noise reduction, not something you like to wait for while photographing fireworks.

6. Aperture
The hole in your lens that determines the depth of field should be small so you have mostly everything from just in front of the camera to infinity in focus, like f/9 or f/11 on DSLR (using even smaller aperture will cause diffraction and make you photos blurry).

7. Shutter speed
Adjust your shutter speed so that the background has the brightness you would like. The fireworks are bright so don’t worry too much about that, although you shouldn’t over expose the fireworks too much so you’ll lose the colors in the light. Play with aperture, ISO and shutter speed to get what you want. Intense fireworks need less shutter speed like just a few seconds, while less intense firework could be 15-20 seconds or more (remember to adjust aperture and/or ISO accordingly so your background stays more or less the same).

8. Choose your vantage point
Scout the area before hand so you know where to go and set up your gear early so you are prepared when the action starts. Be aware of the wind if any, and choose a place upwind so you won’t have all the smoke drifting towards you.

9. Choose you focal length
Aim your camera in the direction you will take the photo and adjust the zoom until you get the framing you want. Don’t frame too tight to be able to catch the bursts, it’s better to crop later than miss the action outside the frame.

10. Manual focus
If the camera doesn’t have anything to focus at, the focus will hunt back and forth to try to find focus and you might miss your shot, or the camera takes the photo anyway and it’s all out of focus (may depend on your camera setting). Aim your camera at something bright some distance away and focus, if the camera are not able to lock focus, try to adjust focus manually and then turn off the autofocus and preferably put a tape over the focus ring so it won’t move unintentionally. NB if you need to reframe by adjusting the zoom, you need to refocus again too (in most cases)

11. Remote or delayed release
I see many recommend a remote, but two second delay/self timer do the trick too. The thing is that you shouldn’t touch the camera to avoid camera shake.

If you are photographing fireworks for the first time, try to keep it safe and get as many shots as you can in good exposure and focus. While being more experienced you could experiment with other focal lengths and vantage points to get more spectacular photos. Personally, I use two cameras on tripods pointing in different directions and walk between for each shot using self timer. After some time I point the camera in different direction and/or adjust the focal length to get different photos. Just remember to refocus if you’ve adjusted the zoom!

Thanks for visiting!

 

Year summary 2017, a big thank you to our visitors!

My wife started this photo blog in middle of January 2017 and I didn’t get much involved the first months because of different reasons. In the beginning the blog had a steady but low view count until we agreed to breath more life into it and decided that we needed to publish a post at least once a week to keep new stuff coming and don’t lose momentum, but also build a solid stock of content faster. I made a few pages, not posts (later converted to posts), and then we started to publish posts on weekly basis. The view count doubled for a few months before it took a dive down and came back up again.

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