I had grand plans for this year’s Marblehead fireworks show and spent a week planning and prepping for the show. I had received a waiver from the FAA for flying at night and planned to try to shoot the show from the air with a backup plan to have my real camera on the ground.  Good thing I had a backup plan…

So to prep for using the drone, I visited the causeway at night to practice flying and focusing as well as figure out settings. I also practiced launching and catching the drone by hand to make I could do so safely and without coming near anyone else on the causeway (I held it over the Devereux side). When the time came, I launched the drone and moved into position only to find that focusing in the poor light was nearly impossible. I came away with one decent shot but it was poorly focused and with lots of noise from the sensor.

Meanwhile, I had my Sony camera and longest lens aimed toward the mouth of the harbor. From years past I had figured out a good combination of aperture and shutter speed and fired off shots using a remote. I shot several frames but could not tell in the field which might come out okay.

I biked home as soon as the show ended and sat in front of the computer to find that the drone shots really did not live up to my expectations but then loaded the ones from the real camera and found a few nice ones. This is an early favorite with multiple bursts in the air and just enough light to pick out the countless boats inside the harbor watching the annual Marblehead fireworks show.

My favorite part of this image just might be the people in the corner watching along with the viewer.