Behind the Shot: Fireworks Over Vancouver

100mm, f6.3, iso 1600 1.6 seconds with Canon 5d MKIII

There is a small story I should share about this image because I never intended to go and take it.  I was down in Vancouver for a business meeting and I always carry my camera and tripod with me because the scenery in BC is incredible, and you never know when a photo opportunity might arise.  After a meeting over dinner, it was suggested we go and shoot the fireworks that were taking place as part of the Vancouver Festival of Light.

The problem was that I had only bought my 100mm macro lens with me and my 24mm f/1.4 L II.  In a perfect world I would have had my 70-200 or 100-400 for a shot of this scenario. The 100mm shot was quite loose and left a lot of sky and foreground that unbalanced the whole shot.  To solve this, I looked around and found these trees to fill in some of the distractingly open, blank areas and even out the visual pull from the brightness of the sky to direct the eye back to the city.

The trees add depth, and their contrast on the right of the image pulls the eye in that direction. Photography is often about solving these kind of visual problems, so it’s really important to analyze the composition closely in the viewfinder, or on the back of the camera. See where your eyes move the first time you see the shot on the LCD, and if it doesn’t feel right, analyze the scene, figure out what it is that’s causing the lack of direction, or the distraction, and then solve that problem.

Post processing was simple, just a small amount of dodging in Lightroom with the paint brush over the fireworks to even out the exposure. When I say “dodging” in Lightroom, this just means using the selective adjustment brush with the exposure turned down a little bit, since there isn’t a dedicated dodging tool in Lightroom as there is in Photoshop.

Equipment Used For This Shot

Photo of author

Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in the Canadian Yukon, but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

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