If you like these fireworks photos make sure you check out the Gallery Main page for more. I did not cherry pick these, there really are some great ones there. These fireworks photos are from Vancouver's Festival of Lights, 2006.
The pictures you see on this page are only thumbnail images. If you click the link to the right of each image, most will come in a very clean 1280x960. I have scaled and cropped the linked images for your desktop. The final Mexican Blast looks GREAT on the desktop. Enjoy!
This picture was from China's entry in the Festival of Lights. During the 2006 show, China did not use large ordinance. They instead opted to show off technology, so we got to see them make shapes in the sky, rather than the spectacular blasts that Mexico opted for.
In this blast they made a face of an alien, or is it C3pio? The color of fireworks depends upon the materials used and how they are prepared. Most of the colors are derived from metals, but judging from the color of this blast, my guess is that they used a carbon compound because carbon makes a yellow light. Fireworks chemistry has come a long way. In the past, the only bright colors were from magnesium, everything else would produce dull colors. But nowadays, with improved chemistry a full bright pallette of colors is available.
This blast is the simpson's baby. Composite bursts like this have to be timed more accurately than a person could manage, so a laptop computer will normally be used. There are other bursts which make shapes that are shell dependent, but up until now anything this complex has to be done with a computer. For computer firing the shells are normally loaded >before a show and fired via a pre-programmed routine which launches individual shells of different strengths and colors from separate tubes at just the right time to have them go off in the right place in the sky to make a composite image.
China also had their fair share of more normal fireworks like this one, which can still be fired by hand if desired.
I remember when I was a kid, that color of blue was impossible. Blue fireworks use a copper compound with copper mixed with precicely the right amount of oxidizing agent, which is usually saltpeter. A precise mixture is needed because if combustion takes place at too high or too low a temperature the copper will not produce blue. In the past it was difficult to get the mixture just right, and even the temperature of the shell at time of launch can make a difference that will make or break the reaction. So when you see a nice clean blue color, it's a truly professional show.
This snow cone burst is a nice demonstration of the use of magnesium. Fireworks do not use oxygen from the air to burn. They use an oxidizing agent, and will burn regardless of whether or not they have air. The most normal oxidizing agent is saltpeter, which is also used in gun powder. Saltpeter is a compound consisting of potassium nitrate, which has the elements potassium, nitrogen, and oxygen.
The red in this burst is from Strontium, which produces a bright red flame. Strontium is also used to produce the red in highway flares. I think it looks much better here!.
Fireworks were developed by the Chinese over a thousand years ago, for entertainment puroposes. It was also the Chinese who developed the first rockets several hundred years ago. The rockets were invented to carry the fireworks into the sky for aerial bursts. In medeival times, Europeans borrowed fireworks technology from the Chinese and used it in magic displays. Later, fireworks technology was used to develop firearms, which gave birth to modern weaponry. In Western countries, people go to fireworks displays normally on days which commemorate wars of independence and other wars. The sky bursts you watch for entertainment were inspired by battlefield weapons bursts which can have an appearance that is somewhat similar.
I just threw in this one because I like it. This one was done by Mexico, who I thought did a better job than China. Sure, China's shapes were interesting from a technology standpoint, but I think I prefer a really good blast.
If all you want is a pretty picture who needs the Hubble? This fireworks photo is as convincing as any star photograph.
This year, in 2007, the festival of lights almost got cancelled because there was not enough cash. Fortunately at the last minute several sponsors stepped in and saved the show, so it will be going again this year, in 2007. The Festival of lights is a competitive show, with entrants from four different nations each year. All the fireworks in these photos are from Mexico and China's entries. I missed the other two displays, but this year I most certainly will not. I had no idea my camera would do this well, so I only made plans for two of the displays. I will take another new camera to this year's displays and the one that does better I will keep. Fireworks can be real nasty to get decent pictures of for so many reasons that it takes a good camera to get good shots. These photos were taken with one of Fuji's enthusiast level digital cameras.
In this rather astronomical looking fireworks photo, you can see several new "stars" being born!
Here is another winner from Mexico. In this blast there is green, which is created with a compound of Barium.
Mexico obviously got out the whole chemistry set for this one!. This is the most awesome fireworks blast I have ever seen, and I think I nailed the shot about perfect. This is not a time exposure, what you see in the sky happened all at once. This is a 1/4 second exposure at F8 and ISO200. I have specially scaled and cropped the clicked image to make a great desktop picture. That's all I have to say about fireworks. There are more good images in the gallery main page. I'll have even more for ya after the next festival of lights.