So, I bought my first camera about three months ago. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I enjoy taking pictures. This is my little fireworks shooting journal. Maybe it would provide some background for people who are new to the area or traveling here and plan on shooting or watching Pittsburgh Pirates post-game fireworks; maybe some photographer passing by would tell me, okay very cute for trying, but you should do xyz.
Pittsburgh Pirates presents “Zambelli Fireworks Night” about once a month after a Saturday evening game. There are a couple of places to watch or shoot the fireworks from. Among all I like Mount Washington the most. I shot from the overlook at the George Washington and Guyasuta statue, across the street from Monterey Bay Fish Grotto. Some people shoot near the Grandview Avenue overlook that is the furthest away from the Monongahela Incline. Some shoot from ground or on a bridge near North Shore. Some go to the Westend Overlook, which I have not been to yet. Supposedly that area is not great especially in the evening. You would want to go with a group of people.
To me, fireworks can be set off anywhere. It is the incredible city skyline of Pittsburgh that makes the Pittsburgh fireworks shots different. A photographer that I met on the first night when I went to shoot fireworks told me I should never go to the Westend Overlook by myself. So Mt. Washington was an easy and accessible solution.
If you don’t have a car, you can either take the Duquense Incline or Monongahela Incline up to Mount Washington. However for the former, buses do not run often on Saturdays and you would need to take a bus from downtown to the Duquesne Incline. I usually skip the wait and take the Monongahela Incline. From downtown, you need to walk to Station Square and the Monongahela Incline, take the incline up to Mt. Washington, and then walk to the George Washington and Guyasuta statue, about 25-30 minutes. In the summer, expect about a dozen of tripods and a bunch of people up on Mt. Washington. When I went for this one in mid-September, only four people were shooting.
匹茲堡海盜隊差不多每個月會有一場煙火，在星期六晚上的比賽之後放。看煙火或拍煙火的點有好幾個，我個人偏好華盛頓山，在華盛頓與印地安人雕像前面的草地、Monterey Bay Fish Grotto餐廳對面。有些人會在華盛頓山Grandview Ave離Monongahela Incline最遠的那個眺望台旁邊的人行道或停車區拍，有人會在山下拍，有的會跑到Westend Overview，但據說Westend Overview是個千萬不要晚上自己一個人去的地方。
煙火哪裡都有，我覺得匹茲堡煙火特別在城市的夜景，再說，如果在山下我還真不知道最好的點在哪，Westend Overview好多過來人千叮萬囑叫我千萬不可以自己去，華盛頓山變成最好的選項。如果沒開車的話，可以從市中心坐公車到Duquesne Incline然後搭纜車上山，或者走到Station Square、Monongahela Incline，搭纜車上山，然後走大概25到30分鐘。星期六公車班次不多，所以搭Monongahela Incline在走路比較實際。夏天人很多，動輒十幾隻腳架和一卡車路人，九月這次去，天氣涼了就沒什麼人，只有四隻腳架。
My first attempt was in July, a few weeks after I bought my camera. I set my ISO at 100 the whole time. My best two shots happened to be at F7.1 and 8. But I would like the city to be brighter.
The second time, I set my ISO at 400 and brought it down to 200 at times. Most of the good shots are at F13 with 2 to 3.5 seconds.
I still have not found the perfect combination yet. In order to capture the whole track of fireworks, have the city lit enough, and not over-expose the lights of UPMC and Highmark, I probably need ISO 200, a slightly bigger aperture and a slightly longer exposure. Oh well, maybe I’ll try it again next year.
* If you drive, you can set the GPS address for “1411 Grandview Ave #2, Pittsburgh, PA 15211” which is the address of the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto.
** The incline fare is $2.50 one way and $3.50 round trip. On Saturdays the incline runs until 12:45 a.m so you do not want one of those long, long overtime.