Spike Island in Cork Harbour celebrated it’s 81st birthday yesterday with a fireworks display. 1300 fireworks were set off, one for each of the inmates who died on the island during it’s time as a prison over the centuries. I didn’t have a ticket for the event but it was visible from many parts of the Harbour, including Cobh where I gathered with members of Blarney Photography Club.

The evening was warm, and although the fireworks display was far away from Cobh it was enjoyed by everyone around.

It had been a while since I’d photographed fireworks so the tips in this video came in handy:

  1. Use a tripod.
  2. Use a cable release.
  3. Use a wide angle lens (not this time, probably)
  4. Focus just shy of infinity.
  5. Use manual mode.
  6. Shoot at f/8 to f/10.
  7. Use a slow shutter speed. (3-6 seconds). Use bulb mode and a shutter release to capture the light before it trails off.
  8. Shoot at ISO 100.

It turns out that shooting at f/8 or f/10 wasn’t the right aperture after all. It wasn’t letting in enough light in the time I wanted. The fireworks were so far away and the surrounding water and countryside so dark that images were very dark.
Before the event we tested settings trying to get an exposure of -2EV so the surrounding countryside was dark but it rapidly grew darker while the fireworks flew into the air so you had to keep an eye on the exposure every few shots!
My first shots of the night were much too dark. I was shooting in manual mode with a shutter release and I was only shooting short one to five second exposures. It wasn’t until I went over 7 seconds and up to 15 seconds that I got usable images.

In an urban environment and if the fireworks are closer you definitely should start at f/8, but you have to adjust your settings to your situation.

The first (out of focus) shot here is a 7 second exposure, f/7.1 at ISO 100, and that was good enough for a few minutes.

fireworks

Only four minutes later I needed more light so I opened the aperture to f/5.6.

fireworks

A few minutes later again I increased the ISO to 200 which has the effect of making the camera sensor more sensitive to light. That wasn’t enough and I increased the ISO to 400, with various exposure times for the last few images.

fireworks

Shooting RAW and working in Lightroom or other RAW processor means you can push the photo more so exposure settings don’t have to be spot on every time. In Lightroom I found it useful to increase temperature of the photo to make it warm to counteract the blue hour light after the sun set. I increased the highlights a bit, took down whites and increased vibrance a small amount. Apart from cropping there wasn’t much else done to the images.

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera ILCE-7M3
Focal length 127mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 8s
Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos

Spike Island Fireworks

Gallery
Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Urban

The Old Town Hall, Cobh

Image
Black and White, Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Urban

Cork Harbour at Night

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Black and White, Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Urban

Deep Water Berth at Ringaskiddy

Deep Water Berth at Ringaskiddy

The deep water berth at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour yesterday. Driving rain, wind blowing it almost horizontal. The first day of the year was wet. I waited until it quietened down a bit before venturing outside with my camera! 🙂

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 24mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1.3s
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Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos

Roche’s Point Lighthouse

Roche’s Point Lighthouse, at the mouth of Cork Harbour.

I shot this from Camden Fort Meagher last weekend. It was a glorious day and as you can see the fort has a commanding view of the harbour!

More about the lighthouse can of course be read on Wikipedia.

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Canon 20D, Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos

Alex, Cork Tugboat

Alex, Cork Tugboat

ALEX is the name of a tugboat that operates in Cork Harbour. This photo was actually taken back in 2006 but I found a more recent shot of it as well as a mention on the Port of Cork website.

ALEX

  • On charter to Whitegate Refinery
  • Bollard pull: 49 ton
  • Azimuth stern drive
  • Fi-Fi
  • Notice: normal 1 hr, emergency 30min approx
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Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Urban

Samskip Pioneer

Samskip Pioneer

Samskip Pioneer, a container ship, docked in Cork last weekend. We were down by the Marina in Blackrock on a blistering hot Saturday. While us Irish sat in the shade, Spanish students sat out in the 3pm sun, some wearing long sleeve tshirts! I know, I know, they’re used to the heat but the mind still boggles. I’m useless if the temperature goes above 25C.

Anyway, I went searching and found aprs.fi where you can track the radio transmissions from shipping and found this map showing the location of Samskip Pioneer last Saturday. Login as “V2BT5”, the callsign of the ship. Yes, it’s in Cork Harbour!
The lines might be wrong but then they’re as the crow flies and a big ship doesn’t fly.

What do you think of the border? I adjusted the image in Bibblepro using it’s lens guide which created the border. Normally I’d resize it out but this time I liked the effect.

Aperture ƒ/11
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 33mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/200s
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Cork, Ireland, Photos

Whitegate Oil Refinery

Whitegate Oil Refinery

Whitegate Oil Refinery in Cork Harbour, as seen from Crosshaven on the other side.

What you’re seeing here is Corkbeg Island in the foreground and this chimney stack in the background. Took me a while to figure that out! Zoom out of either map and draw a straight line through both going south west to pin point where I was standing when I took the photo 🙂

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 125mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/800s
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Photos

Turning Circle of the QE2

Turning Circle of the QE2

The Queen Elizabeth 2 took several minutes to turn in the harbour outside Cobh in Co Cork. Plenty of spectators watching from boats as the sun started to sink behind the horizon.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 40mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/80s
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