江戸川区花火大会 - The Edo river fireworks 2018
Watching fireworks (Hanabi - 花火, 花 = flower, 火 = fire) has a long and proud tradition in Japan. And the fireworks that can be seen around Tokyo during the summer months are quite spectacular.
The Edo river fireworks are known for being quite accessible, and that it is still possible to get a rather good viewing spot when you arrive rather late. I can now agree with this assessment. We arrived roughly 2.5h before the fireworks should start, and our position was in my opinion quite good. The main reason for this might be, that the location is at the Edo river, with ample seating along the river bed and and unobstructed view to the fireworks along a stretch of the river.
When walking to the venue and the river bank, you can find many street vendors selling festival food and drinks. Directly at the river bank, there were no food stalls any more, but they put up a bunch of construction site toilets (there are however many people, so it makes sense to go there early)
This year a total of 1300 fireworks were shot up into the sky over a course of 75 minutes. This might be the biggest difference between japanese and european fireworks: how long they last. This is also the reason, why the Tokyo fireworks might be the best place to practice photographing fireworks. Over the course of more than 1 hour there is ample time to check the results and adjust the technique. We brought only one proper tripod (and the Platypod, but there was no good place to mount it) and therefore shared it. Even with taking turns, both of us had ample time to try out different compositions and shooting styles.
However, the main thing we tried is to keep the ISO low, expose for something between 1s and 20s (handheld shots down below 1s of course, but still as long as possible) and adjust the aperture accordingly.
One more thing: everybody is bringing a picnic sheet, or finds something else to sit on, and therefore the whole thing is a very relaxed affair.
But enough babbling, here are some pictures: