Friday, August 26, 2011

Photographing the Miyajima Fireworks

On the 6:25am ferry, all of us walking passengers had to wait until all the vehicles exited.  There was a rather large mob jockeying for front position, which quickly escalated into a fast walk and then a run.  I was surprised how many people at the front of the run seemed to be families and not photographers.  Since I knew it would be the only exercise I'd get for the next 13.5 hours, I ran the whole distance - about 5 minutes.  When I arrived at my spot the old guy whom I'd brokered with the day before held his end of the bargain and let me stand my tripod up next to his.

[Unless you actually spent the night at your spot (and some people spent TWO nights), you weren't allowed to reserve a spot with a tarp until midnight of the day of the fireworks.  So when I came Sunday morning at 6:30am, I was surprised to see ALL the waterfront areas for a couple hundred meters reserved.  By the way, this section is not considered a choice spot to photograph from because of the limitations on the right-hand side of your frame.]

[See the two extra tall tripods (one with a hat on it)?  This was a great idea apparently not used before.  These two photographers still gained a choice spot just by getting above everybody (they used ladders), but they only had to wait 13 hours instead of two days.]

[This is probably the best spot because it lines up perfectly with the fireworks barge that puts out the 'fountain' style fireworks from water level - makes for great backlight/framing of the torii gate.  I was in the second-best spot.]

[My tripod]

There was a man and woman who occupied this spot (above) for ~38 hours prior to the fireworks display.  The man had a still camera and big video camera mounted on two fancy tripods with an umbrella attached to protect them from the sun.  While I was on a bathroom break the wind came up and apparently blew both his tripods and cameras off the wall and onto the tidal flat below.  Thankfully it was low tide, but his cameras still suffered enough damage to not be useful.  He was a good sport, but he left his spot two hours before the show to return home.  I imagine he would have been crushed to sit there and watch the show thinking the whole time about how he wasn't photographing/taping it.  The woman stayed and offered me his spot.  I gladly took it as it offered me a lot more space to spread out.

[one hour to go]

[the old guy at the bottom of the frame stayed in that spot for 2.5 days waiting for the fireworks show]


aiko okimoto said...

How beautiful!!

I want to go there.

Deepak A said...


Anonymous said...

If you miss the train I'm on you will know that I am gone

You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles