A Downside to Fairbanks Summers
Fairbanks summers are glorious. Long, wonderful days of sunlight, twilights that last until the next day. The sweet light that photographers loves last for hours instead of minutes. And the sunsets last until dawn.
But it turns out there are downsides. Sunday night, WC wandered down to Creamer’s Field for the fireworks show at the end of the Tanana Valley State Fair. The fireworks show started about 9:20 PM, just as the clouds broke open and one of those nice sunsets started. Fireworks in the sunlight just aren’t the same.
They wouldn’t photograph at all against the pale blue sky. By isolating them against one of the lingering clouds, you could at least see a pale, washed out image.
So WC dropped knocked the exposure compensation down by -2.0Ev, a setting you’d never use under normal conditions. And zoomed in a bit to use just the dark cloud to dominate the background. Of course, that meant WC could only get part of the fireworks.
The wind from north blew the smoke trails from the roman candle into interesting patterns, not something you can see in a stateside fireworks show, and now you can actually see the sparks in the trails, but it is still pretty lame. And the black cloud looks ferocious, when it really wasn’t; that’s the same cloud as in the first image.
So mark down a small drawback to summer in Fairbanks: fireworks are pretty pitiful. WC still remembers how unnerving it was to stand outside in a t-shirt and shorts, in warm air, and look at the stars, another aspect of the same problem. But it’s a problem WC can live with. After all, in a few months it will be dark all the time, and camera equipment will freeze if you try to use it outside…
The natural fireworks are better anyway, walking back, after the man-made part of the show.