This was the location from which I should have shot the fireworks the previous night. I posted about it here: New Year’s Eve in Miami. This was my backup shot but got overlooked because I felt the distribution of buildings in the skyline was uneven. As it tuned out this was one of the most beautiful sunset shots I’ve taken yet. Miami is so wild and unpredictable. That makes for fleeting but frequent beauty. You just need a little patience and a very keen eye. I love how Miami somehow always managed to show purple hues. If Purple isn’t the official color of Miami, it most certainly should be. What a gorgeous city full of gorgeous people!
100% crop from the panoramic
I shot this with the 50.6 Megapixel Canon 5DsR and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. The final panorama has tons of detail that may never be fully appreciated. You can see some of the detail in the 100% crop on the right. This shot will be available in limited edition fine art canvas print but I may reserve half of the edition for large art and commercial installations.
Have you visited or photographed Miami? What were your favorite perspectives on this crazy, wild city?
Well this is how my year started off – chasing the sunset. I had a unique opportunity to make the trip to Miami, Florida for the new year. So I jumped on the last flight I could across the country to Miami. I did miss the sunset however. So I proceeded to plan B.
As with most destinations I travel to, I began studying the local maps and topology. Because of the limited time and long journey, I put extra emphasis on my research. I settled on a harbor area on the keys just across from the front face of the Miami skyline. I liked the relatively unobstructed view. After checking with local staff at the venue and confirming it was okay for me to setup my camera equipment, I went to work. This perhaps wasn’t the best location to photograph the fireworks. As it turned out, the Miami International Airport departure route flies right above the center of the skyline. This meant that the fireworks will not be anywhere close to the center of the frame as I hoped. I only realized this hours into my shoot and could not move as I was already hours into a time lapse sequence that was to last most of the night through the fireworks. Bummer! I suppose I need to factor air traffic into my research.
All that aside, it turned out to be a very productive shoot. I shot a time lapse with the Canon 7D Mark II and 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. This is now standard practice most of the time. While that was going, I started taking frames for a very detailed ultra high resolution panoramic of the skyline and waterfront with the 50 megapixel Canon 5DsR and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. The final result is breathtaking. It is at least three times wider than the shot above, and you can count Christmas tree ornaments on the trees in the apartments. As it turned out my first pass ended up being my shot of choice. The 5DsR is the perfect camera for this sort of photography.
This shot made it to my collection of limited edition large format prints and I cannot wait to print and share the first one!
This year I decided to stop thinking about watching (photographing) the fireworks over the San Francisco Bay and actually get out and do it. One of my good friends and great photographer, Steve was only happy to come along and plan our New Year’s Eve photo excursion. We decided, since we were going to be out in the cold weather we may as well catch the sunset over the city. I had been wanting to revisit my last shoot from the Port of Oakland where I shot my last time lapse of the Bay Bridge lights. This time my focus was to obtain a really good high quality wide panorama shot for large format print and reproduction. I did however capture a time lapse of the sunset and city lights as well. It’s hard not to, as it has become fairly easy for me with my 7D and 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. I’ve shot so many time lapses with that combo, it only takes a few minutes to setup.
Magic hour over the city only lasts for a few minutes, and I found it very challenging to capture a full panoramic set of the city with a long enough exposure at a narrow enough aperture (f/8 or smaller). This was due primarily to the amount of the disturbance on the water from boats, ferries and large cargo ships. While you might see a few minutes of calm, they are punctuated by wakes, shadows of moving vessels and light streaks. My frustrations were only compounded by the fact that I decided to use my EF 2x Extender III on the 70-200mm f/2.8. I chose the wrong time to experiment. Under anything other than perfect lighting conditions you will find it exceedingly difficult to use any lens with the 2X extender III. As a result, I missed easily half of my photo opportunities. Below are some panoramic shots I managed to salvage. The detail is pretty impressive – you can see inside offices and hallways in all those buildings you see. The full res compressed JPEG is just under 200MB and the master GIMP file is 1GB (1000MB).
Canon 5D Mark III + EF 2x Extender + EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Canon 5D Mark III + EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
We shot through the sunset till about 9pm then we packed up and headed out to treasure island to scout for a good angle on the action. I have never seen this many photographers and enthusiasts in one place. The whole island was crawling with people like me. Even in the seemingly remote bushes along back roads. We finally settled on the waterfront as the best vantage point. Fireworks are a challenge to shoot! This was my first time shooting fireworks and nothing could have prepared me for it. Below is a collection of some of the highlights. Overall I think it was a success. There are a few things I would’ve done differently now. Your feedback would be highly appreciated.
I was also able to capture a time lapse of the fireworks. The entire show lasted about 13minutes. It was a spectacular affair. If you missed it, the time lapse compilation below should help you enjoy the experience in a matter of seconds. My new years gift to you. I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!