As a mom, I’m pretty flexible. My kids are both generally easygoing and willing to go with the flow. Naps on the go? Sure. Impromptu trips to the beach? Let’s do it. Ice cream for dinner? Heck, yes! (We’ve done this on 2 occasions with Gia and she thinks she won the lottery when it happens. Which I guess she kinda did.) There’s just one thing I try really hard not to mess with: bedtime.
So, for the past 4 years we haven’t even attempted to take Gia to the fireworks. Gia is a great sleeper and has been since she the day she was born. (She was giving us 5 hour stretches about a week after birth and by 7 weeks old she was sleeping 8 hours a night.) But, she’s an early riser. No matter what time she goes to bed, she’s up between 6 and 7. If we’re supremely lucky she’ll sleep till 7:15. For this reason, I never saw the point in keeping her up late. If she’s going to get up early anyway, I like her to go to bed at a reasonable hour — between 7 & 7:30. (she doesn’t fight it either. She always goes right to bed.) That way I know she’s getting enough sleep, and I also get a little “me” time in the evenings to blog or write for Daily Mom or just mindlessly surf the net.
Now that she’s a little older though, I’m ok with her staying up later, especially in the summer. So last night–on a whim– I suggested that she and I go to some local fireworks–just the two of us. Jon stayed home and put Nicholas to bed. (I think the noise would have been way too loud for him. He gets overwhelmed easily and he there’s no way he would just sit in a stroller for an hour waiting for them to start.)
At the last minute, I hastily packed a bag with a plastic beach mat to sit on, a blanket to keep us warm, the iPad, a snack and my big girl camera and tripod. I’ve been wanting to experiment with photographing fireworks and was hoping to get a few good shots.
Gia and I got there around 8 pm and got a great spot. We cuddled under the blanket and Gia played games on the iPad and we talked and played little games together. She loves ‘I spy’, which she calls the ‘finding game’. She also loves when I give her a random word and ask her to rhyme with it. So that’s what we did for an hour an half as we waited for them to start. It was a long wait and she amazed me with how patient and well-behaved she was. She didn’t ask “when are they going to start” even one time.
And, I played around with my settings and got a few great shots. Unfortunately that light pole is in every single one. Gia chose our seats and neither of us knew exactly where in the sky the fireworks would be. But, it was a great learning experience for me and now I’m excited to try again next week at some other local fireworks!
If you have a DSLR and want to try to take pictures of fireworks, here are my tips.
- Start with a low ISO and increase it if you need to. For my camera (a Nikon D5000) 320 was good.
- Small aperture is a MUST! I used f/13
- Slooooow down the shutter speed. I used 6 seconds and 8 seconds and had great results. For this reason you…
- Need a tripod! With long shutter speeds your hand is not steady enough.
- If you have a remote, use it. That way you won’t jostle the camera at all. And if you don’t have a remote, consider getting one. They’re SUPER cheap ($8-$10) and are extremely easy to use!
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