Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fun With Fireworks

Last night I tried to do one of those composite fireworks photos - you know, the kind in which you paste a bunch of bursts into one picture and pretend that the fireworks show was much more impressive than it actually was. Heck, the fireworks I saw last night were the regular Friday night promotion of a AAA baseball team. How great could they possibly be?

Actually, they weren't bad. Having grown up on some of the most boring fireworks since the invention of gunpowder: (ten red ones, ten blue ones, ten green ones, all the same shape; plus the boom of the duds) I'm lucky there was so much variety of shape and color. They certainly aren't expected to fill the whole sky as well!

But I'm not terribly good at this particular kind of photo editing. On my first attempt last night, I ended up with this:

Oh, yeah. That's convincing.

But Marie has an amazing one on one of her blogs right now, the kind of sharp, perfectly defined fireworks my camera simply cannot capture. Even so, her sucess inspired me to try again, this time taking care to overlap images where possible rather than arranging the bursts like furniture in the sky. That came out much better:

(Ack! That looks pretty good on my laptop using Firefox, but at work in IE it's horrendously oversharpened. Got to watch out for that!)

Okay, then, let's see if I can salvage last night's composite. Two hours later, it's not perfect, but it's better!

Here are a few more pictures, less heavily edited. This one reminded me of something from Hubble:

And here are a few fireworks that haven't been artificially crowded into a single frame:

And from relatively authentic (the ones above have the sky darkened and the colors boosted a bit), here's a major special effect. This is the shot above, with the frost effect and solarization applied, and then lightened:


The Hugo Awards were handed out tonight in Denver. Our buddy John Scalzi won for Best Fan Writer (odd category, that, given than a working professional sf writer can win it; but who's complaining!), but not for Best Novel. I was rooting for Paul Cornell to win Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form for his amazing Doctor Who two-parter Human Nature/The Family of Blood, but Steven Moffat, the new series' new showrunner, has been completely unstoppable this year whenever awards have been handed out. His episode Blink is probably the most honored Doctor Who story of all time. It legitimately is great stuff - an episode in which the Doctor hardly appears, and you don't miss him because of Sally Sparrow, sinister statues and all the wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff going on - but my heart was with Paul's episodes. Any other lineup of competition, and he would easily have won for his story of the man who doesn't want to give up his life and love to be the Doctor.



MyMaracas said...

Woah, pretty! I really need to find time to figure out how to use a photo editor. I have one now, I just can't make heads or tails of it yet.

barrettmanor said...

I was pulling for Paul Cornell as well. A couple of links of interest to you:

The Hugo Awards final report:

Also, the BBC has released some free Dr Who e-books, including Human Nature: