Reblogged: How to Photograph Fireworks July 4, 2013

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

It was Independence Day in the United States yesterday a National Holiday for most. All over the country people were barbecuing, spending time with family and friends, or just enjoying a day off.  After dinner the family and I found some high-ground to view, and photograph the fireworks.20130704_4482I set up my tripod and waited for the first firework closest to me to be sent up then triggered my shutter release. I focused there then set my camera/lens to manual focus.

I set up the settings this way  f/10, ISO 200, and  5 second exposure, but found that too short so lengthened it to 10 seconds and the next burst took a photo. That seemed about right, at least I wasn’t blowing out the burst beyond recovery, so I went with those settings.  From my vantage point I was able to see as far south as Morgan Hill and North to Fremont and perhaps a bit further.





20130704_4470If you want to photograph fireworks use a tripod, and a remote cable release. Use the first couple of burst as test shots to get your settings set up. I wait for the boom then depress my shutter, some people use the trails of the ascending firework as their cue.  You just need an exposure long enough to capture the explosion. Give it a go.  It’s a lot of fun, but I keep in my soul the knowledge that the freedom I have today to celebrate, worship, and work without the fear of persecution or tyranny wasn’t given it was earned.

I’ll end this post with the words of Lee Greenwood who says it better than I.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”
~Lee Greenwood

more to come…






Some gave all…

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M Zajac

In remembrance and gratitude for their service and sacrifice…

Some gave all v2AMERICA

Samuel Francis Bacon

My country, tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

of thee I sing;

Land where my fathers died,’

Land of the pilgrims pride,

From every mountain-side

Let Freedom ring.

And some gave all...

San Bruno National CemeterySan Bruno National Cemetery

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24mm| Hand-held © 2012 Deborah M Zajac All Rights Reserved

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The Stockings were hung by the Chimney with care.

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Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I made David’s aka He-Man’s stocking back in the early mid 80’s. It’s counted cross stitch, and has an error or two, but those are hard to find. My Mother made mine, my son, and daughters in the early 80’s. I just bought a kit to make #1 Grandson’s. This year his stocking is store-bought with his initial J on it. I hope to have his counted cross stitch stocking completed by Christmas 2014.
I love our handmade stockings. Each stocking is unique mine is counted cross stitch, my daughter’s is needle-point, and my son’s is satin stitch. I pack them in a special box, and I look forward to hanging them each Christmas. They are among my most favorite and cherished Christmas decorations.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 35mm f2AF-D with SB 600 on camera bounced at 45º

A Birthday Prince

Copyright ©2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Jaxon and Mommy on his 1st BirthdayMy first Grandchild turned 1-year-old yesterday. I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. It seems like it was yesterday he was born.

Jaxon's BirthdayThe changes have been surprising, and awesome to behold…

1 month

Jaxon in Red Blanket2 months

Jaxon Out-take3 months

Jaxon 12 weeks old4 months with Uncle…he smiles, and laughs now!

20130429_Jaxon and Seth_9272v15 months

Just bathed6 months

20130618_3436 Jaxon sleeping in basket crop7 months looking more toddler  and boy like each day…

Jaxon at the park_64398 months

Jaxon quick pic9 months Photo courtesy of Allison Zajac.

20130927_iphone 3gs photos and videos_221910 months

The letters I and J11 months

Allie and Jaxon black and white1-year-old

Jaxon and Daddy on his 1st BirthdayI feel so blessed to see him everyday. He’s starting to walk, taking up to 12 steps at a time now, and real words should be coming soon too. I am looking forward to seeing the changes, and the look of wonder and awe on his face as he discovers more of his world.

Nikon D700


The Ghost of Jacob Marley

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

“I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it, link by link and yard by yard, while on Earth, and now I will never be rid of it, any more than you will ever be rid of yours!” The Ghost of Jacob Marley speaking to Ebenezer Scrooge

"I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it, link by link andI couldn’t get a good photo of this character last year no matter how I tried so, my goal for this year was to get a decent photo of him this year, and to photograph a few characters I missed. This actor plays this character brilliantly! I got goose-bumps listening to his scene.

Here are a few more photos related to A Christmas Carol, and Ebenezer Scrooge from this years Dickens Fair

Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit taking tea with several ladies…

Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit taking a spot o'tea

Ebenezer Scrooge with Bob Cratchit and a Gentleman…I don’t know who this character is, but he was a ham for the camera.

Ebenezer Scrooge and Gentleman

Ebenezer Scrooge at the office of Scrooge and Marley…

Ebenezer Scrooge working at his OfficeThe Ghost of Jacob Marley warning Scrooge of the awful fate that awaits him…

The Ghost Jacob Marley warns Ebenezer Scrooge of the awful fateThe Ghost of Jacob Marley tells Scrooge he will have 3 visitors over the next 3 nights…

The Ghost of Jacob Marley comes to visit ScroogeThe Ghost of Christmas Past…

The Ghost of Christmas Past- Closer LookThe Ghost of Christmas Past-profile

The Ghost of Chirstmas Past-ProfileThe Ghost of Christmas Present with Scrooge…

The Ghost of Christmas Present and Ebenezer Scrooge

I’m happy with the images I made this year, but I did miss a few characters again like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Which just means I have to go again next year. 🙂

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24-70mm G| SB600 on camera-more to follow

San Francisco California

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Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

After spending a delightful morning and afternoon at the Dickens Fair my friend Alex and I headed up to the city to photograph the skyline all lit up for Christmas. It’s a bit hard to tell here, but the Trans America (Pyramid Bldg) has a red light on top for Christmas. Also, in this photo are the towers of Embarcardero Center, the Ferry Building, and way over to the right is Nob Hill. I was freezing! It dipped to the mid-30’s while we were photographing here.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24-70G @ 24mm| f/8| 4 seconds| ISO200| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Tripod


Golden Crowned Sparrow-Winter

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Copyright © 2013 Deborah M Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I have to double-check, but I think this is my first Golden Crowned Sparrow!
So, far this has been a fantastic birding year for me, and it’s still early in the season.
If I see Eagles this winter it will be icing on the cake. 🙂

Photographing birds in Manual Focusing mode is tough. My finger is always on the focusing ring and I’m adjusting all the time since the birds are so fast and moving all the time. It’s a miracle I got this in focus at all. My friend Dali shoots with a Legacy Nikon lens the 400mm f/3.5 which is a manual focus lens and he gets the most beautiful bird and wildlife photographs. I want to be as good as that if I have to manual focus.

See his work here.

Nikon D700| Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4 @ f/5.6 + 14E II TC= 420mm| 1/400s| ISO 500| Manual Priority| Cnt Metering| Monopod