Rodney Campbell's Blog

RAN – Navy International Fleet Review & Fireworks…

by on Oct.11, 2013, under Life, Photography

Had a prime position on the waterfront at Dawes Point for the fireworks and lightshow spectacular as part of the Navy International Fleet Review.

Even though I could shoot from anywhere in the private area where the tower hosting all the equipment for the light projections, the sharpy light cannons to light the Navy ships in the harbour and the sound equipment it was a tricky location to shoot from primarily because all that equipment was there.

Our brief was to photograph the projections onto the sails of the Opera House (during the light show) and ideally show them in the wider context of the overall light and fireworks spectacular and the rest of the scene on the harbour – however this proved to be very tricky.
– the incredible brightness of the fireworks (and I really wanted to use a longer shutter at a lower ISO to capture the fireworks properly)
– the lit Navy ships (which two huge banks of about 40 sharpy light cannons at our location were lighting this side of) – and man are these things bright! – I ended up positioning myself directly in front and a metre or so below the bank of lights lighting the ship (HMAS Gascoyne) out in front of the Opera House
– and the bank of sharpy light cannons that often pointed directly towards us from the Opera House (lighting the other side of the ship)
– if that wasn’t enough both of these light cannon installations had smoke machines in them which kicked in during the event (a surprise when it all started billowing around me :))

Trying to balance the exposures of all the above with the projections onto the Opera House was pretty much impossible. Basically I needed ISO 800 f/5.6 and less than one second to expose and have a static image on the Opera House but the fireworks needed ISO 100 f/11 and about 2 seconds to do them justice and nothing would cope with the light cannons directly into the lens.

So my keeper rate during the live show was pretty low but I came away with a few shots I liked

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

Naval Fire

Naval Fire

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 35 mm, 1.30 sec at f/8, ISO 400

This one actually took a bit of work in post processing to get it to look like this :). It’s actually a manually blended composite where I’ve exposed one frame for the Opera House and yet others for the fireworks and Navy ships and then since I’m editing anyway I’ve added the partial reflection at the bottom (which had to be done in three sections since there was no single flat horizon line)

All Guns Blazing

All Guns Blazing

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 35 mm, 1.10 sec at f/8, ISO 400



NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 42 mm, 2.20 sec at f/8, ISO 400

HMAS Sydney

HMAS Sydney

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 4.20 sec at f/11, ISO 400

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