Fireworks displays in Hong Kong are legendary, breathtaking shows of pyrotechnics that light up the Hong Kong skyline over beautiful Victoria Harbour.

  • 2012-10-01 - Hong Kong Fireworks Over Victoria Harbour
  • 2012-10-01 - Fireworks Over Victoria Harbour Hong Kong
  • Fireworks Over Victoria Harbour
  • 2013-02-16 Chine New Year Fireworks
  • 2013-02-16 Chine New Year Fireworks
  • 2013-02-16 Chine New Year Fireworks
  • Hong Kong Chinese New Year Fireworks
    2013-02-16 Chine New Year Fireworks

Fireworks – China National Day, October 1st,  Chinese New Year and New Years Eve are a display like no other. Crowds of photographers gather early in the day along the waterfront to capture the stunning spectacle.  Others are gathering in locations all around Victoria Harbour from any vantage point possible.

 

Other Events on National Day or as many Hong Kongers simply call October 1st are Flag Raising Ceremonies and Parades.  This year might also see a rise in Occupy Central like protests due to local political concerns.  This will not get in the way of people enjoying the show as Hong Kong is one of, if not the safest city in world.  This year there will be more space on the Hong Kong Island side as the promenade between Central and Wan Chai is about 80% done.  Still for most photographers the best spot at ground level is on the Kowloon side along the Avenue of Stars to the Star Ferry Terminal.  Many others will be enjoying the view on a boat in the harbour.  Many are privately chartered but from a photography point of view this is not ideal shooting platform as one needs a stable platform to get best results.  The many peaks on the Island side make excellent locations to shoot from.  Some of the best spots are still taken early in the day.  Regardless of the weather you’ll still find people with tri-pods ready to go early in the day.

The fireworks display for National Day and Chinese New Year both run 23 minutes in length.  There used to be four barges but a few years running one of them was not syncing with the other 3 and looks like it’s been retired.  It could also be part of the cost cutting as with most events financial cutbacks are taking place.  To this date it has not resulted in any less amazing display.  With the long running time many photographers get lots of time to try different lenses or framing of images.  As a time-lapse photographer I don’t get that liberty as I have to work out the details before the start and then commit to them.  I find this very rewarding as I actually get to watch the whole show.

Before the 2012 Fireworks there was an accident at one of the outer island (Lamma) where 39 people lost their lives.  In 2013 as a show of respect Hong Kong cancelled the National Day fireworks.  In 2014 the National Day fireworks has been cancelled due to an unhappiness and protests against 2017 election.

The show goes on unless there is Red/Black Rain or T3 or above is raised the fireworks might be delayed or cancelled.  This is always a possibility as Typhoon and wet season runs through this period.  To date I don’t recall this happening.

Fireworks – China National Day, October 1st, New Years Eve & Chinese New Year

Photography Tips for Shooting Fireworks

One can never have a sturdy tripod as shooting handheld will never give satisfactory results.  One should spend between 10-20% of the value of their camera set-up on the tripod.  It is not only great insurance to protect your initial investment but it will ensure that if there is a breeze it will not move.  As with all tripod shooting ensure that image stabilization is turned off in camera and or lens.  Frame the background before the event starts and having a properly exposed image for post processing enhancements if needed.  Ensure the frame is in focus and turn the camera to manual focus. Set the camera to shoot on an off camera firing device, this could be an wired remote (Intervalometer) or wireless remote such as the ones I use from Phottix.  Now the image composition and focus on a steady tripod has been set it’s important to work out a few details.  The first you will need to decide do you set the manual time to the first correctly image and use a black card to reduce light.  Of course working like this over a 23 minute period time and for myself with often three or more cameras it’s not my first choice.  I would rather set the time to underdevelop by a stop.  This can be verified after the first couple of shots but understand that the light source will never be consistent as the light will vary greatly. There are numerous different ways to capture effects of fireworks.  Some with drag the shutter to get longer lines but this can reduce in fewer images to pick from and a greater chance of exposure issues.  It will also reduce battery life but should reduce chance of running out of card space.  23 minutes might seem like a long time but if one reviews every image and is playing with different settings all the time it can become very stressful and the results falling well short of the potential.  With the tripod even at 189cm in height I need to use a ladder to setup the camera properly.  I will also attach a couple of Manfrotto short arm mounts to attach other cameras to the main tripod.  As with many events where location is important I will have planned out my day weeks before the actual day. The day itself I will get an early start and ensure I get there early as prime locations both along the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui will have a line of tripods as early as midday.

The carbon fiber leg tubes of the Geo Series tripods have been strengthened by the addition of a small quantity of basalt, offering greater resistance and rigidity for bending and crushing forces. The reason for the use of carbon is its quick absorption of vibration. Carbon is not only light in weight, it is ideal for stopping the vibration caused by the release of the shutter and restraining the movement of the camera for the next shot. Tripod components and furniture are constructed of magnesium alloy, a material that is lightweight and easy to process, making Geo Series tripods both solid and stylish. Velbon was the world’s first manufacturer to use magnesium alloy in tripods. With its high processing temperature and remarkable fineness, magnesium alloy is emblematic of Velbon’s state-of-the-art technology.

The carbon fiber leg tubes of the Velbon Geo Series tripods have been strengthened by the addition of a small quantity of basalt, offering greater resistance and rigidity for bending and crushing forces. The reason for the use of carbon is its quick absorption of vibration.
Carbon is not only light in weight, it is ideal for stopping the vibration caused by the release of the shutter and restraining the movement of the camera for the next shot. Tripod components and furniture are constructed of magnesium alloy, a material that is lightweight and easy to process, making Geo Series tripods both solid and stylish. Velbon was the world’s first manufacturer to use magnesium alloy in tripods.
With its high processing temperature and remarkable fineness, magnesium alloy is emblematic of Velbon’s state-of-the-art technology.

Phottix® TR-90 Multi-function Remote Switch with Digital Timer Control (Intervalometer Remote).

Phottix® TR-90 Multi-function Remote Switch with Digital Timer Control (Intervalometer Remote).

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Image by Lapse of Time HK - Stephen Duddridge

Hong Kong  Fly over marking National Day. Image by Lapse of Time HK – Stephen Duddridge