How I Added Fireworks to a Photo and Confused People

Composites are a funny subject to people. Lead with it, and they are impressed. Tell them after and they just might feel duped. I found this out the hard way when I took a bunch of boring fireworks photos and added them to a night shot of the glorious Niagara Falls. Let's just say a major upgrade to the background.

It was one hundred percent an experiment. So much so, that I didn't even start with a high resolution shot. I grabbed a lone night shot photo of the falls I had, and started pasting in some fireworks bursts. It is actually very easy to capture fireworks, and even easier to add these fireworks to cool nights photos.

This is an old shot taken with a Canon T3i on a cheap tripod. It's not even sharp. But again, I was just experimenting. First I needed some extra room to insert the fireworks. I only expanded the sky enough to make it a square crop. I started pasting in the bright colored explosions, and realized right away it was going to work. Since the existing fireworks photos I had were all set on the dark night sky, I simply pasted them on top of my Niagara Falls photo and changed the layer blending mode to lighten.

Here is one of the photos I began my experiment with. It actually has five or six firework bursts pasted into it, but the setting was pretty boring, borderline ugly.

You can see that the old "location, location, location" really applies to more that real estate.

So once I was happy with what I made, I headed over to my favorite social sharing networks and posted it. People immediately started guess what night it was from, and how had I found this unique vantage point. Some comments asked for prints, which was when I realized starting with a low resolution image was a bad idea. I have actually started recreating it, but have yet to finish.

Do you have any great night shots that could use a dose of pyrotechnics? Feel free to share some if you do. After all, I like composites!

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7 Comments

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Losing some of the luster is a perfect way to put it William. Thanks for reading, and taking the time to comment. I'll have to check out Dean Collins.

Tim R's picture

How much for a print?

Michael B. Stuart's picture

#wellplayed ;) thank for reading!

Danny Kidd's picture

I'm on the composite hater side. Composites represent a moment you didn't see or didn't happen. In my opinion part of photography is the chase of the perfect moment.

Fraser Almeida's picture
Dino Maez's picture

I geuss I'm a little confused over the issue's of for or against compositing, think about art in general, does it only include surrealist's or does it also include impressionist, abstract, photo realism. these are all just different forms of art mostly applying to painting, how many different styles and genres of photography are there? I consider compositing to be one of many forms of art it is using a photo or photo's as a canvas but many other tools to create the art, the beautiful part about it for me, is being able to express something that appears as real life, but in actuality could only exist in my mind. I love several forms of photography but I think this is one I especially enjoy for creative expression

Neha Mhetre's picture

Superb composition..