It’s that time of year again – Hallowe’en is almost past, and it is time to start getting ready for that ultimate English autumn party – Bonfire Night! Pack a flask of hot toddy, bundle the kids up warm, bring along a packet of sparklers and head outside to watch fireworks, give a penny to the Guy and see the effigy burn!
Also known as Guy Fawkes Night, this strange celebration takes place each November 5th in order to commemorate Catholic rebel Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up Parliament (with King James I and all of the MPs inside) in 1605. He was angry at widespread mistreatment of Catholics across the country and thought he would make a statement with a bang – literally!
His plan was called the Gunpowder Plot, but was foiled at the last minute when he attempted to warn other Catholics of the impending blast. He was ultimately hanged, drawn and quartered – but not before getting the last laugh and jumping off of his gallows, saving himself hours of torture! He occupies a bizarre place in the national imagination – one part anti-hero and one part villain – and we love to celebrate the fact that he did not succeed in destroying Westminster and killing the king by burning his effigy on a massive bonfire.
Nowadays, the bonfire can often take a backseat to the lavish fireworks displays staged by local councils and clubs (here is a great list of the top ten Bonfire Night fireworks’ displays across the country). This can be an excellent time to take out the camera and snap some photos of your family enjoying the brisk air and bright colours! That said, taking photos of fireworks can be tricky. Here are a few simple tips that can really help you to get great shots.
- Include foreground objects – No matter how pretty the lights themselves are, they are much more captivating when buildings or people are in the foreground for context and interest.
- Use a tripod – Fireworks are gorgeous light in motion, and even the slightest shakiness in your hands can cause the photo to blur. Tripods are definitely the way to go here.
- Set a low ISO – Your ISO determines how sensitive your camera is to the light. Setting your ISO to 200 is recommended for fireworks.
- Use a long exposure – This will help for you to see the fireworks in their full splendour, rather than just a blur!
If you take any truly fantastic photos of your wee ones on Bonfire Night and want to give them as gifts, consider creating a stunning 3D photo crystal – this holiday keepsake is sure to make grandparents or relatives smile.