Ground Zero at the Fireworks

I was contacted by John Polk at Alpha Lee Fireworks here in Austin on account of that fireworks shot that somehow ended up in the Smithsonian -- it turns out his company shot those things off. He invited me down on Saturday night behind the scenes of their big fireworks show here in Austin.


John mentioned to me that the fireworks shot got a lot of people he knew interesting in HDR photography... and they all were visiting my HDR Tutorial ( ) - cool!


I brought Ethan and we got there about 2 hours before the show. He took about half an hour to show us around the trailers, the shells, the wiring, the firing board, and everything. It was very cool and interesting, especially since I have shot so many of these things to see how it really works backstage.


He then granted Ethan and I up close and personal action while we sat right by the trailers. We wore earplugs because we were so dang close... I used a 10 mm, so you can see the launch point as well as the peak of the explosion here.


See the larger one at

  • Michael Coe 7y

    Prettiest PALM TREE I've ever seen :)
  • Bob Oakville 7y

    Very cool!
  • Alan Grinberg PRO 7y

    Great story - Lucky you!!
  • î-löömîn Images 7y

    Cool shot.
  • Trey Ratcliff PRO 7y

  • Ventura Carmona PRO 7y


    Please add this beautiful photo to CITRIT,Best of yours!
    Citrit group
  • J J PRO 7y

    Very cool shot, great how you show the launch point and also the illumination of the trees and surrounding area :)
  • Steven Kelley PRO 7y

    amazing shot - part of a great shoot is getting to know your subjects and respecting their craft. It brings out something extra in the images
  • susan_r4 7y

    Super shot......great story Trey!
  • Nancy Love PRO 7y

    Beautiful traces of light.
  • Woopadydoo 7y

    HI Stuck in customs

    I'm new to HDR and have a question for you regarding this shot. As I understood it HDR consists of multiple exposures processed later on. How were you able to get the fireworks as an HDR? By the time you fired off several shots wouldn't they have dissipated too much? Please do not take offense, I am very new to HDR and am trying to learn lots. Any info you could offer up on this shot would be great!

  • Woopadydoo 7y

    BTW, very cool shot!
  • Karen Strolia 7y

    Reminds me of Gandalf's firework show. It's beautiful.
  • Arnaud G PRO 7y

    Great capture !!

    Seen in my contacts' photos. (?)
  • Chris Coleman PRO 7y

  • Denis Collette PRO 7y

    ..!!! :)))

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    Yesssss... #46 on Explore my dear friend...!!!
    Champagne... peanuts...chocolate... ice cream... !!! :)))

    -- (?)
  • Gino 7y

    arcan -

    Sorry for stepping in when I wasn't asked the question, but....
    ... this is technically not a true HDR shot (although many, including myself, call it HDR for practical reasons) since, more than likely, Trey took one shot, probably in RAW format, and then used some sort of software to adjust the exposure settings up and down, then combined them into one shot (using Photomatix I assume) to give it the HDR look and feel.
    Trey actually has several shots that employ this technique. I once asked the same question. I pass the answer on to you.
  • Woopadydoo 7y

    Thelonious Gonzo, thank you for your input! Very intresting to know. I will have to do a little more digging on the matter then. Very neat to see the possiblities of HDR! I can't wait to learn more! Much appreciation!!
  • Deborah 7y

    Great shot the colors are beautiful.
  • dsnopek 4y

    Hello! I used this photo on my blog:

    I attributed the photo to you and included a link back here in the image caption. Please let me know if you would like it attributed differently. Thanks for sharing!
45 faves
Taken on March 29, 2008
  • ƒ/4.0
  • 10.0 mm
  • 0.8
  • 100
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
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