Silkeborg hosted the Nordic championship in air balloon in august 2017. At the same time, Silkeborg held its ‘trinial’ Fireworks Regatta. This year the Fire Regatta also hosted the European Fireworks Contest. Six air balloons gave a late night show in ‘Night Glow’ – almost like huge Chinese rice paper lanterns.
I went there with my x100F. The optical viewfinder was of great help due to the very challenging light conditions. But the camera kept resetting the distance to 2m when it was switched off. Pretty annoying, and I hope it will be fixed in a later firmware update…
Inflating Air Ballons in the dark
I shot all images in the first series on auto iso with max iso to 12800. Going so high produces grainy images, but better have a grainy image than no image. In post production I chose the Acros film simulation to emphasize the dreamy atmosphere surrounding the air balloons (click for higher resolution).
When all air ballons were inflated, the show started.
I went all manual with fixed iso 1600, f4 and 1/30s and manual focus with focus peaking – the autofocus was not able to focus in the dark.
The air ballons were not allowed to lift off, so they had to be careful and let the propane gas burn in short bursts. It made it hard to hit the shutter at the right moment, and hold the camera tight and fixed to avoid camera shake.
Afterwards I can see, that 1/30s was too long. In many pictures, the people are blurred due to motion. But overall, I think the x100F did a decent job, and the hybrid viewfinder with focus peaking is really fun to use in dark environments. My only complaint is, that operating the combined shutter and iso wheel was a bit frustrating in the dark. The LCD showed the setting, but finding ‘A’ on the ISO wheel takes a bit more practise.