Wait for Fireworks – Probably Never Again!

I need to have a grumble so I’m afraid that this post is going to go on a bit.

Now I tend not to be a very dedicated photographer.  Sometimes, when it looks like tough work, I opt out.  Sometimes, however, I will get inspired and make an effort.

A couple of years ago I attended a Fireworks Display at Sherborne Castle Lake, and I think I got some reasonable images.  Now, photographers know that if they are going to photograph a firework display properly, they should arrive early to grab a good position, set up tripod and sort out focus points etc.  On that occasion, although I was pleased with my efforts to be there on time, I was still a little too late to get the best position for both the fireworks and their reflection in the lake, even though I had to stand in the cold for well over an hour before the display started.

Dee and a friend of hers fancied going again this year.  Since I now had a wide-angle lens added to my kit, and I thought I had learned from the mistakes of two years ago, I thought perhaps I would go along.  To show my dedication to my chosen hobby, my plan was to arrive as soon as the event opened, thus being able to choose my spot and get everything set up, even though I knew I would have to wait for more than two hours before the display started.

Imagine my delight as we walked down to the barrier by the lake.  There were no spectators there yet so my shooting spot was claimed easily. The only people around was a group of Event Stewards, who complimented me on my early arrival, and promised that they wouldn’t get in the way when the fireworks started.  I chose a spot where there was a narrow gap in the plants growing around the lake.  This would give me the best view of the reflections.  After I had set up, I settled down with my flask of tea to wait the two hours until the display started.  Slowly the line of spectators at the barrier filled up, but I was alright; I had the best spot.  This helped me through the boredom, and the need to listen to a fair bit of PA broadcast music that I wasn’t always that partial to.  Dee and her friend were of course, off enjoying the music of a live band which was much better than the rubbish the DJ was playing over the PA system.  I gather that they were also enjoying mulled wine.

About half an hour before the start of the fireworks, a new Event Steward, that I hadn’t seen before, turned up.  He decided to stand almost in front of me.  Not quite, and had I been using a long lens to catch just a small part of the display, this wouldn’t have been a problem.  I wanted to use my wide-angle lens though, to capture the full height and breadth of the display, as well as the full length reflections in the water.  I, therefore, thought that it was reasonable to politely ask whether he could move a bit.  I wasn’t too chuffed when he refused flatly, because moving to the left would have put him in front of a family group that was sitting on the ground, and who had only been there for about 15 minutes, and moving to the right would have meant that the Stewards were not evenly spaced along the barrier.  I tried to explain that I had set up over one and a half hours earlier, in a position that was chosen to provide the best photographs, but still he refused.  Before the line filled up completely, I had to move three feet to the right, thus loosing my clear view through the gap in the plants.

I tell this story to show that dedication doesn’t always work out.  The intransigence of this ‘bloody minded’ Event Steward has proved that and will probably ensure that I remain a ‘not very dedicated’ photographer’, at least as far as firework displays are concerned.

The photos I’ve included have a very annoying patch of weed in the bottom right hand corner, but at least they don’t have the ‘high visibility’ jacket of a very annoying Event Steward on the left hand side.

Here are just a few shots to prove that I tried.  Personally, I think that the trees on the far bank of the lake make this a potentially excellent firework photo opportunity, if only everything else would go right.

Sherborne Castle Fireworks
Sherborne Castle Fireworks
Sherborne Castle Fireworks
Sherborne Castle Fireworks
Sherborne Castle Fireworks
Sherborne Castle Fireworks
Sherborne Castle Fireworks


15 thoughts on “Wait for Fireworks – Probably Never Again!

  1. Dave, put simply, I think these pictures are exquisitely beautiful and real works of art – wonderful stuff! In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th down at least, the resemblance to palm trees is extraordinary. Adrian


  2. Great firework pictures!
    As to your new friend, in such cases I revert to one of my favourite sayings – The world is full of arseholes, so don’t get upset when you meet another one. Don’t allow his actions to turn vitriolic in your mind. (a flashgun going off in his face might have been something to try , but I’m not sure that would be considered assault! ;))


  3. Despite the steward, you have produced some wonderful firework images, Dave. These are super and something to be very proud of.

    I always thought it was just me who ended up having someone stand or sit right in front of what I wanted to see 🙂


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