Firework Colors

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Caitlin Compton 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    James Staddon

    After being inspired by the recent topic, First-time Fireworks, I decided to go on a little photo adventure with my brother! Last week was the Apple Butter Festival in our town and we thought it would be fun to try and figure out where they actually shot off the fireworks and take pictures of that for a unique and fresh perspective. We were successful in our search!

    As the photographer, my opinion on how they turned out is pretty biased. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it’s been a while since I’ve had anyone critique my pictures, so now it’s time for me to learn from you guys! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. You have the floor so feel free to go as hard and deep as I go on your guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Specs in filename
    All shot on a tripod
    No filters
    No flash
    All edited in Lightroom

    • This topic was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  James Staddon.

    Ben Glick

    Wow, this just goes to show what a professional looks like, crazy, I am utterly amazed, this goes so far beyond shooting, this is incredible angles, and amazing editing, I don’t think I have reached anything close to this yet. I quite literally have learned several things about my photo’s and have started to edit and tweek them just using these as reference. Wow man. Although a few ideas from my opinion (that’s not nearly this good) but maybe in your last photo even though you have done the amazing job with the falling debris however, looking more closely, you can tell that the people to the right side have been edited out, and they are not super well at that, kinda choppy, but, hey, this was like ten minutes of looking at the photo trying to find something that stood out, so I was probably the only person that noticed that… But amazing photo’s James, really quite well done, that’s for being willing to teach me!

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  James Staddon.

    Kina Lamb

    @jamesstaddon I like the second one the best by far. ๐Ÿ˜€


    Kina Lamb

    @jamesstaddon I just realized you’ll probably wonder why! So here’s why: (note that I’m not very experienced in critiquing, and I don’t have much of a reason for each one, just that it ‘looks’ this way to me, or the emotions come across ‘this way,’) ๐Ÿ˜€

    I like the first one – it’s really neat! It makes me think of firefighters arriving at the scene of a forest fire. It’s soooo orange, though, so it makes me feel a LOT of emotions – almost too many, because it’s almost a bit stressing! (But again, that may be just me! I’m very sensitive to music, maybe I am to photographs too. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ) When I think about it, the subject appears to be the line leading to the firework, but I can only see just a bit of the firework. While it IS bright and catches my attention, it isn’t very interesting. (sorry! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ) It’s a line, seeming to point up… but to what? There are also a couple of lights coming through behind some of the trees – I counted 4 or 5, which are kind of distracting. But I know all of that is really difficult to fix, and to be honest, I don’t think I would have been able to do even half as good as you did even with this first picture! As a whole, I like it, and I probably wouldn’t have noticed those things if you hadn’t asked us to critique it! ๐Ÿ˜€

    The second one I LOVE LOVE! When I look at it, it gives me the feeling that I get when I drink a glass of cold water after playing Ultimate Frisbee on a really hot day, or pouring water on my head. I literally breathed a sigh of relief when I switched from the first picture to the second – it was so refreshing! It also brought a smile to my face! The firework is clear and obviously the subject. The lighting is so beautiful!! It’s a really neat firework, and the colors are attractive (especially with the bit of red at the ends.) The only thing I could think of (after I thought about it for quite awhile!) is that the WHOLE firework isn’t there, just most of it. I do like the smoke leading up to it, but I’d be willing to sacrifice a bit of that smoke for more of the firework. ๐Ÿ˜€

    The third one I like. The angle is superb, the whole firework is there, it is the obvious subject, and the trees frame it nicely! But it’s soooo green! It’s a neat effect, but it’s the main thing I notice about the photo! It’s also a bit stressful to look at all that green, and kind of makes me think of Halloween (sorry! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ) But I do think that if you honed the green down some, and made the firework a bit brighter that I could really like the photo. A lot, I think, too!! It definitely is a nice picture on the whole except for the green. And again, I’m very sensitive to artistic emotions, so it may just be me. Other people may love all that green!

    I actually REALLY like the fourth one! It’s just a neat picture all the way around! The only thing I can think of would be to make the firework stand out a bit more, if possible, and take out the light that’s coming through the trees at the bottom of the firework on the right a little. ๐Ÿ˜€

    The fifth one gets applause! *claps hands.* It’s bright and hopeful! And, even though it is quite orange, it’s not a distressing type of orange. It’s a natural type. ๐Ÿ˜€ Is it possible to make the firework even brighter? I think it may sound a bit radical since it’s already so bright, but I think I might like it even better that way! At first it’s glorious, but then it starts to fade out a bit. My eyes want it to still be glorious for a long time. ๐Ÿ˜€

    The last one is neat! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    It feels sooooo weird to be critiquing YOUR photos!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I LOVE your photos! ๐Ÿ˜€ All that I’ve written sounds rather critical to me, but I know it’s what I would have wanted someone to say about my photos. ๐Ÿ˜€ I LOVE LOVE the second one, and let me repeat what I said earlier: as a whole, I like ALL the photos a lot! And I most likely wouldn’t have noticed anything about them if you hadn’t asked us to critique them. Basically the only thing that bothered me was the overall emotions of the photos. And, like I said, I’m sooooo sensitive to artistic emotions, more than most people, so all that I’ve said may not be what other people are thinking at all. ๐Ÿ˜€


    Jinny Schober

    Those are pretty cool! The second one is by far my favorite. I’m just curious, what are these pictures for? The first and sixth ones are cool, but I feel like they would be advertising the safety features of the fireworks more than the creativity of it. The third one is different! The fact that it is green, makes me think of getting gassed! ๐Ÿ™‚ That could just be me though. Good job! Did you edit in the colors of the sky, or was it really that way?


    Ben Glick

    Something that I love that you also did was the fact that you let the sky fill with smoke before you took the photo’s and all of the light reflected off the smoke and it gave some eerie and emotional aspects behind them, super cool! And you were also very careful and special in your effort to really zoom in on the fireworks and give them so real contrast, but the entire thing doesn’t look over done, it looks very “honest” if that makes sense, its just looks like you saw an opportunity and took the photo’s instead of like an set up, kinda like “been waiting for this all night” kinda thing.


    Theodore Lonneman

    With my sister currently in EMS academy training for AEMT certification and responding on clinical ride-outs to interstate highway vehicle accidents and Heroin overdoses, the fifth photo would be a win even if it weren’t composed as well as it is. I admire how well the falling sparks were captured…I have to admit I usually get that effect only by accident when my lens is dirty. ๐Ÿ˜›


    Lydia Bennett

    Hard and deep? Ok, hereโ€™s my best shot (although I do have to say I don’t recall ever feeling like youโ€™ve gone โ€œhard and deepโ€ in your critique of my photos) –

    Photo 1 – It feels like itโ€™s the bottom half /two-thirds of a vertical photo โ€“ the firework itself is cut off. Although it does draw the attention to the firework shooting up more than if the actual firework had been included. But I do so love the lighting and colors here!
    Photo 2 – I like how each end of a stream of light looks like itโ€™s been dipped in red, and also the shape of the smoke leading up to the firework. Stunning perfection in this photo. Canโ€™t find anything to pick apart. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Photo 3 – The green looks sickly! Sorry!
    Photo 4 – Fun colors! Maybe edit out the two specks of light in the lower right of the photo?
    Photo 5 – This is my favorite! Itโ€™s hard to get unique firework pictures โ€“ and you sure got one here! I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ve ever seen a fireworks picture with this coloring. Granted, Iโ€™m by no means a fireworks connoisseur! I love the contrast of the light bursts to the soothing peach color: calm and joyful all in one. Now, I notice there is some โ€œhazyโ€ light around the upper streams of light. Wow that displayed my lack of knowledge there; Iโ€™m sure thereโ€™s a term for that? Anyways, that looks fake; I have no clue if thereโ€™s a way to edit it so thatโ€™s less noticeable.
    Photo 6 – You captured the โ€œbehind the scenesโ€ very well here. It reminds me of what my younger brother said when we went to watch fireworks: โ€œAhh the great American tradition of watching things blow up in a controlled environment!โ€ Thatโ€™s exactly the story this picture tells.

    Ok now since you asked us to critique your photos โ€“ Iโ€™m going to throw this back at you: Iโ€™d like to hear critique of my critique! Tell – honestly – what was helpful, not helpful, what you agreed or disagreed with and why. Thatโ€™s something I never hear! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Caitlin Compton


    I’ve never photographed fireworks – though would really love to after seeing the different firework pics on the forum. So, I feel a bit bad critiquing when I’ve never tried myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ First thoughts after looking at these is that they’re really amazing shots! There’s something festive feeling about firework pictures.

    Here goes!

    #1. It’s very red. I like the bright white light leading up to the firework, but when you get to the top of the picture it’s disappointing that the firework is cut off. Maybe you could remove the red and yellow dots of lights in the trees. A lot of the foreground elements are a bit distracting, though it is fun having a different perspective than your average firework images.

    #2. Love the colours and smoke in this one. Definitely enough to keep your eyes interested. Maybe darkening the trees so that they aren’t as much of a focus would add to the image. I feel like it’d be nice if you had of taken a step to the right so that the frame was more even on both sides. The way everything is a bit off centre also feels a tad distracting.

    #3. Wow, this is definitely different. I’m not quite sure what to think. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s something intriguing about the colour, smoke, dark and light areas. Half of me likes the green colour, and then the other half of me thinks it is a bit fake and overdone looking. Maybe a bit less saturated on the green. Making the red pop more in the middle and brightening the firework would add more interest as opposed to having an entire green scene. I don’t think the green is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just too strong. I’m curious, did you edit it to make it look green, or was it really a green firework?

    #4. Cool colours! The smoke leading up from the bottom is like a leading line. To be really picky, I feel like the image is falling over to the left. There’s a lot of weight on that side – the firework is leaning slightly that way, the trees are all on that side making me feel like it’s about to tip over! That red light in the middle of the copyright symbol is a bit distracting.

    #5. I think the composition works here. Even though the trees are on one side like in the other one, the firework being placed were it is adds a sense of balance. The colour reminds me a bit of a bush fire, but then that’s more personal preference. One thing that I don’t like about this image is the fact that it feels like the firework is coming from nowhere. It looks like it’s just sitting there in the middle of the sky. Maybe some smoke coming up from the bottom would’ve been nice – but hey, you can only work with what you have.

    #6. Cool perspective! One you don’t often see in firework pics! I like the motion that my eyes get, I go from the little car/buggy thingo to the people on the right who almost look as if they’re gazing up at the fireworks, which draws you up to the firework and then the line of the fireworks point right back down to the car thing and and then around again. Gotta love the flame, too! Maybe going vertical so that you can actually see the firework display (I want to see what those people are seeing!) would add more context, but that might just clutter the scene. The light in the trees just in front of the vehicle is a bit distracting, as well as the white . . .tarp maybe?, right on the edge of the image.

    Nice photos, though!


    James Staddon

    Gotta say, guys, I loved this! Thank you everyone! I now see many things I never saw before.

    @ryanben2, thank you for your perspective! The photos taken at the beginning of a show are always more clear than the ones at the end because of the smoke, so I like to try to take advantage of both extremes. I like the description of “honest”! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know exactly what you mean.

    @kina, knowing why is always so helpful! And you know, explaining how one feels about a picture is actually the best critique. It’s interesting how you describe being sensitive to pictures in a similar way to music….never thought about that. Glorious; distressing; Halloween; great emotively descriptive words! Thank you so much for ALL your comments!

    @jinnyschober, interesting point, about the purpose of the photos. The 1st and 6th, in my mind, were to share what it was like to be at the actual site where the fireworks were being launched. More documentary, since it was something I had never experienced. As for the green, yes, it was naturally that way; it was the only source of light.

    @theodore, I wish that your sister’s job wasn’t a necessity. ๐Ÿ™ But I’m grateful for those who are willing to fulfill that role and let us do all we can to support through awareness with our pictures!

    @bennett-family, yay! I’m glad you don’t take critique too hard. I didn’t think yours was hard either. What you see as “hazy light” truly is that, since the effect is caused by the light passing through the smoke and haze. However, technical descriptions of that effect could be “haloing” (though that is usually in context of over-sharpening or a bad HDR merge) or maybe “bleeding” (though I think that refers to an effect caused by a low-quality image processor).

    @creative-click-photography, well, you’ll just have to come and experience an American tradition! ๐Ÿ™‚ On #2, good points!! Didn’t see that. #3, no color tweaking. It was a really green firework evidently. ๐Ÿ™‚ #5, yeah, “coming from nowhere”, I feel that! Almost like a spider sitting in its web. #6, I hadn’t noticed that eye movement….great observation!


    James Staddon

    Iโ€™d like to hear critique of my critique! Tell โ€“ honestly โ€“ what was helpful, not helpful, what you agreed or disagreed with and why. Thatโ€™s something I never hear!

    @bennett-family, hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever critiqued someone else’s critique before. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think hearing the “why” behind why something is liked or disliked is really cool. It helps me approach taking future pictures differently without necessarily legalistically applying how that critique may have specifically been applied to the current photo in question (if that makes any sense).

    I also like hearing feelings expressed in visual terms. It helps me “see” feelings better when I’m out with my camera. Like, “soothing peach” as a color. I get it. Like, a peach isn’t one single color. It’s a lot of similar hues combined together, expressing almost a three dimentional color. Or, explaining the feeling of the image as “calm and joyful all in one”. That, like, rings a bell in my brain. It’s the emotion you are feeling (that I didn’t feel, or at least didn’t know how to explain that I was feeling) effectively transferred to my brain so I can feel it too. It’s employing the visible to help us explaine the invisible.

    Technical things, like what to edit out or its too grainy or its overly saturated, are important and good to discuss too. However, I think of them as being second priority because sometimes the purpose of the image (the story that’s trying to be told, the emotion that’s trying to be portrayed) is actually amplified by the technical imperfections….imperfections which would then, in that context, not be imperfections at all.


    Lydia Bennett

    @bennett-family, hmm, I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ve ever critiqued someone elseโ€™s critique before.

    Well, thanks for taking time to do that! I hadn’t really critiqued photos before getting involved in Lenspiration forums, so I’ve tried to observe how other people do it and learn to critique beneficially. It was great to have you “talk” through it here!

    I think hearing the โ€œwhyโ€ behind why something is liked or disliked is really cool. It helps me approach taking future pictures differently without necessarily legalistically applying how that critique may have specifically been applied to the current photo in question (if that makes any sense).

    Makes perfect sense! And that’s the most important thing, I think, about receiving critique, too: being able to apply the principles. Chances are you’re not gonna be in the exact same situation taking the exact same picture and fix whatever it is you could’ve done differently. But learning how to express the principles or ideas or feelings in a better way in the future: that’s something you can do. That’s something I’ve definitely learned through critique here on the forums.

    Itโ€™s the emotion you are feeling (that I didnโ€™t feel, or at least didnโ€™t know how to explain that I was feeling) effectively transferred to my brain so I can feel it too. Itโ€™s employing the visible to help us explaine the invisible.

    Good point. I guess that’s another reason why it’s good to hear multiple perspectives in critique.

    Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Caitlin Compton

    @jamesstaddon – Glad if my critique was somewhat helpful. It’s fun actually taking the time see what is/isn’t good about a particular image. I think it’s a very helpful mental exercise and makes you a better photographer.

    youโ€™ll just have to come and experience an American tradition! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Would love to! ๐Ÿ™‚

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