Thursday, June 18, 2015

Last Night of the Frühlingsfest

On the last evening of the Frühlingsfest in Bad Cannstatt there are always fireworks to mark the end of three weeks of revelry. After the smoke has cleared, there are 45 minutes left for a last drink, a last ride, a last kiss. Hoping to capture all this, I first took my gear to the river and waited. 

My idea was to capture the fireworks in the reflection of the river, which was nice and calm that evening. I had both my Sony A7 and RX100 with me. I set up everything and made sure I knew where everything was in case I had to leave my hiding place in the dark. It was already 9:45 p.m. and there was not much light left when the show started. At 1/6 sec. this shot reveals much of the surroundings.

Turning a similar shot on its head creates a somewhat surreal image, but this is exactly what I was hoping to capture: the dissipating flames waving in the ripples of water.

Later in the show the gathering smoke and increased darkness resulted in images that Carl Sagan may have liked for his show Cosmos.

Others resembled something more like the flowery delights that would thrill a botanist.

In 2012 I shot the Fest-ending fireworks show from the fairgrounds with an old 100-300mm lens. I ended up focusing on the iPad that the guy in front of me was filming the show with. The results looked something like this. (By the way, the pictures immediately preceding and following this bit of text were the only ones from the expensive A7 that I have chosen to show here. More on that later.)

 The smoke blew across the fairgrounds as I packed up and headed over the bridge - where all the other photographers had been standing!

A 5 sec. exposure of the bungee capsule revealed how it twists as it yo-yos up and down on its lifelines.

Time for a last ride and then what? Wait till the Wasenfest in October.

Soon the last Bratwürste were being sold off at half price to the hungry throngs. Many owners shut down early to avoid the last drunken hour.

It all has to be packed up and put away until the next fair - perhaps next week in Strasbourg.

Literally minutes after the last Wilde Maus rollercoaster coasted to a halt, these men were up on the tracks unbolting things bit by bit.

P.S.  As I mentioned earlier, this evening's better camera - and my personal favorite - was the RX100. The little Sony is inconspicuous, silent and helps you make excellent photographs. While playing around a bit with exposures during the fireworks show, I noticed a repeated frame pattern at the top and bottom of the underexposed images taken (at 200 ISO) with the A7. Perhaps you don't want to worry about any photographs you underexpose by 4-5 stops, but when shooting something like fireworks, you never know what exposure may end up to be the most interesting. In any case, I would be very interested to know if anyone else out there has noticed this issue. And if so, what do you think is the cause of this pattern? 


  1. Great idea with capturing the shots from the reflections in the water Jim and really nice results. Interesting copy too. Thumbs up. 👍

  2. still baffled about that clear cut out design - in that dark area around the corners - I have never seen anything like it !

  3. Thank you, Phyllis. It is indeed helpful to have a vision before going into a shoot.