It sure seems like photographers never sleep. Pre-dawn sunrise shoots… early dusk nighttime shoots…there’s just not enough time in the day to photograph all of the excitement, and sleep too. We had so much fun at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM last month, that it didn’t seem to matter that we were running on just a few hours of sleep. As the balloons took to the skies in the morning, we all looked like kids in a candy store — happily bouncing around from balloon to balloon excited at what we might find, with huge smiles on our faces. And the fun didn’t stop there. At night, we returned to the balloon fiesta for the “evening glow” where the balloon pilots line up their balloons on the field and simultaneously light the burners to create a beautiful glow. Here’s what we saw: Becky Deal Paul Parkey Christina Merchant And then the fireworks began. As professional photographer Efrain Padro explained in class this afternoon, photographing fireworks can be very challenging—but we were up for the challenge. If you’d like to give it a try (New Year’s Eve often does fireworks), here are a few tips Efrain gave us: 1.    Arrive well before the fireworks show begins to scout your location, set up your tripod, make sure your camera is level, and do some test shots. 2.    Set up your tripod so that the fireworks are in front of (not above) you; you are upwind (fireworks produce smoke and you don’t want to be downwind); and you have the option of including interesting foreground subjects in your composition. 3.    Use a low ISO (100 or 200) to eliminate noise (grain) in the dark areas of the picture, and an aperture of f8 to f16 for good depth of field. 4.    Engage “bulb” mode (check your manual for this) and try different shutter speeds ranging from 3 to 10 seconds, or during the duration of a particular burst. 5.    Try different compositions (vertical and horizontal, wider and tighter), and experiment until the cows come home. And here are a few of my shots from the evening: This is so much fun! With fireworks, you never know what you’re going to get until you take a shot. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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