Taking photos during 4th of July fireworks displays is one of my favorite photographic endeavors. We happened to be on vacation in Newport, Oregon over 4th of July this past year, giving me an opportunity to shoot outside of Portland.
I spent time scouting out locations for the show, and ultimately decided that it would be great to get shots of fireworks over the Yaquina Bay Bridge. We arrived a few hours early and got settled along the jetty, hoping the fireworks would be shot close enough to the bridge to get a good photo.
As we sat there waiting, the fog started to roll in very slowly off the ocean. But as the sun started to sink, the fog grew steadily, and it was apparent that it might become an issue. The fog combined with the show starting 20 minutes later than advertised had me thinking that we might not even see fireworks if the fog got any thicker.
When the show started, I couldn't see the bridge anymore from the darkness and fog. I was relieved when I saw the first familiar explosion emerge, and while visibility was not great, the first half of the show was fairly visible.
I had hoped that the fireworks combined with the bridge would make a great photo, but the bridge was all but invisible and the fireworks for the most part weren't high enough to clear the bridge deck.
I had my camera set to take wide angle shots, but realized very quickly that my only chance at getting decent photos was to zoom in on the section of the bridge that the fireworks were closest to.
The fog eventually settled in enough to where we couldn't even see the second half of the show. At that point we left, having fun, but also underwhelmed with our first coastal fireworks display.
I did, however, end up with a few really great shots. This is my favorite of the bunch. I love the silhouettes of the two watchers on the bridge, and of the bridge itself. I was fortunate that from my position, the two figures were standing in the center of the action.
All in all, what I feared to be a short and less than photogenic fireworks show ended up yielding one of my favorite fireworks shots. It's great when a plan fails miserably and the end results are better than what you envisioned coming in.