The 28th SEA Games opened with fireworks at the Singapore Sports Hub on 5th June 2015. With all the media hype on the event, I was excited over the prospect of seeing some great fireworks, but it was not to be.
Joined by my friend David and his girlfriend, we went to our shooting location at one of the HDB flats overseeing the stadium and waited for the moment. We knew that the fireworks would be set off at around 10pm, so we still have quite a bit of time when we got there around 9. Expectedly, all the higher floors were taken but we are happy to have a spot on the 8th floor.
We set up our cameras and waited. David also streamed the live telecast on his iPad mini so we know what is going on and can be better prepared. The first few shots of fireworks finally came. Possibly due to the high humidity, wind direction and what I suspect to be poor-quality fireworks fired at rapid intervals, smoke quickly accumulated. Tons of it. I have never seen so much smoke in my previous fireworks shoots. I hope the fireworks during the closing ceremony and SG50 National Day Parade will be much better.
Here is a shot taken near the end of the fireworks. Just look at that smoke!
We only managed to get 1–2 keepers each. For the above, I merged two exposures—one consisting of the main fireworks on the right, and one with the low-level pyrotechnics fired over the stadium roof. The latter had too much smoke on the fireworks side to be useful.
I also set up my iPhone to shoot a video of the fireworks display. You can see the smoke accumulating after the first few bursts.
Now, a note on camera safety.
I was using an ultra-wide-angle lens and wanted my camera as close to the front as possible, so I mounted my camera on a Joby Gorillapod and clamped that onto a railing. For safety, I also tied the camera to the railing via the camera strap so that it won’t drop 8 floors down. David was rather squeamish about that but I assured him that it won’t drop as it’s tied to the railing.
Not long after the fireworks ended, we learnt that someone’s Gorillapod-mounted DSLR went free falling 15 levels at the block next to ours, hitting a Honda Civic below. Ouch. Thankfully no one was hurt. So, secure your cameras properly or you might just kill someone.