Ramadan

This morning I came across this article on Medium.com titled I Beg of You, Do Not Take Photos of Fireworks With Your Smartphone that was written by Lindsey Weber. The title itself is self-explanatory and it was uploaded just in time for this weekend’s Fourth of July festivities where a lot of communities will sponsor numerous fireworks shows across the United States. Here are a few choice quotes from that article.

Your fireworks photos are bad.

As we approach this year’s annual Fireworks Day, aka July Fourth or Independence Day, no doubt my Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat will be flooded with your horrible, awful, horrendous photos of fireworks.

It’s not your fault! Your smartphone, be it iPhone or Android, was not equipped to take photos of fireworks — so quick, so bright, so impossible to capture that they never appear as gorgeous as IRL through the lens of your cellphone.

You mean like these fireworks photos that I took with my Droid smartphone at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival back in April, 2015?

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Skill (and a bit of luck, Stocker adds) is certainly a factor, but without the manual controls of a Real Camera, here is how your many, many fireworks photos will appear:

You mean like these photos that I took with my Droid smartphone at a Bowie Baysox minor league baseball game back in June, 2015?

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Just awful.

Oh, really. So are these fireworks photos I took at last year’s Fourth of July celebrations in Laurel, Maryland with my Droid smartphone “just awful”?

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I’ll admit that not all of my fireworks photos I took with my Droid have been posted online. For every one of my fireworks photos that I actually end up posting online, I take at least 10 other photos that exist only on my hard drive and will never see the light of day because they are just as bad as the Instagram photos Lindsey Weber posts in her article as examples of bad fireworks photography taken with a smartphone. The difference is that I don’t ever post any pictures online that I personally feel is not up to my personal high standards as to what is acceptable to post online. I will admit that some people have no hesitation with posting a blurry photo online because they just want to post something online no matter the quality of the photo itself but I’m not like that. It’s no different from me refusing to step outside in anything other than acceptable street clothes while I’ve seen people out in public wearing pajamas with curlers in their hair or wearing pants so baggy that one can see what color underwear the person is wearing. I’m more hesitant with exposing everything while other people don’t share my hesitancy to put everything online and/or in public.

The other reason to refrain from the stereotypical fireworks photo this Fourth of July is simply that everyone’s doing it. And I don’t just mean taking pictures of fireworks, but seeing fireworks. It’s pretty hard to avoid them — so high up in the sky and so very loud. We all know what they look (and sound) like.

Okay so maybe she has a point there with so many people are already viewing and taking pictures of fireworks so your own photographs are bound to get lost in the online social media Internet shuffle. But you know what? Who cares? If you really want to take photos with your smartphone, go head and do it, even if your mother or grandfather are the only people who will ever see your fireworks photos online. If only one person ever sees your fireworks photos and likes them, you have made that person’s day brighter, even if it’s only for a brief moment.

The only thing that I agree with the writer about is this:

And there’s one tip we should all remember — forever and ever, fireworks or not: Turn off the flash.

I rarely use the flash in my smartphone because the colors always look dull and washed out. And if a person is staring directly into the lens, you’ll get that infamous red eye look where that person looks like he/she is possessed by demons. Generally people tend not to mind being photographed in public places if their eyes don’t get temporarily blinded by the flash.

Instead of snapping at would-be fireworks photographers whose only available camera equipment is a smartphone, I’ll provide this advice. When the fireworks shoot up in the air, take the picture right at the moment when the fireworks pauses in the sky. A firework will typically pause for about one or two seconds before bursting their full display. If you hit the shutter right at that pause, you’ll have a better chance of taking a great fireworks picture.

Getting a terrific fireworks shot with your smartphone will take some practice. I’ll admit that you won’t get the perfect fireworks picture on the first or second try. You might end up taking 50 or more crappy pictures to come up with less than 10 good shots. That’s the nature of photography in general. Most professional photographers will end up taking more pictures than they actually need in order to increase the chances that they will have a few usable photos that they can get paid for.

Just remember that not everything you shoot is worthy to upload on to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or some other social media. In fact it might be better if you wait a day or so after shooting those fireworks (when you’ll be less tired after having a good night’s sleep) then sift through the photos that you’ve taken in order to decide which ones you feel are good enough to share online.

But don’t let Lindsey Weber or anyone else deter you from taking fireworks photos if you want to do so. With enough practice you could come up with some fireworks photos that are similar to the ones I took at the Fourth of July celebration at Greenbelt Lake in 2014.

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