Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The great American holiday of The Fourth of July is next week. At the local fireworks show, you will see people taking photos with what they have including flip phones, smart phones, iPADs and point and shoot cameras(turn off the flash). A few photographers will have cameras set on tripods and will look seriously ready for the show to begin. Others will be fumbling with the tripod, fumbling with camera settings and moving around to find the best place to stand. A few might embarrassingly trip in the dark. I know how easy that is to do 

This is a short tutorial how-to on taking photos of fireworks displays at night.  If you have a camera with manual settings you will do much better than using settings such as “P” or automatic program which lets the camera choose what to do.  Bright light against a dark background will often confuse the camera’s control and you will not get the photos you want.  This tutorial on taking photographs of fireworks tells the methods and camera settings which worked for me last year.  Other photographers will use different settings that  add up to about the same overall exposure.

First, use manual on the camera.  This means you set the shutter speed and set the aperture (lens opening also called “f stop”) and go with that for most of the photos.  You definitely need a tripod or very sturdy support.

If your camera has a “bulb” or “manual shutter” setting, use that.  What this does is allow you to open and close the shutter when you decide enough time has passed. The camera must be very, very steady for this procedure.  With more advanced cameras, there will be a means for using a remote switch for opening and closing the shutter, making it much easier to do without concern that you will shake the camera.  If you do not have bulb or manual shutter controls, then set the camera to manual using one of the settings shown with the photos in this fireworks tutorial.  Go easy when you push the shutter and you should get good photographs of the fiery display.

Here are the photographs from July 4, 2011.  The information is in the caption to each photo. Note how more or less of the tail and blast of the firework device shows in the shot, depending on the shutter time.   Since I had a remote shutter control, the times were what I wanted right then and I did play with the time somewhat.  I suggest without a remote shutter control that you pick a shutter time from the sort of photo you like from that shown.

Camera Settings:  These settings were used for all the fireworks photographs shown. The only setting changed was shutter speed. See shutter speed with each photo caption. 

  • ISO(considered digital film speed):  ISO 100
  • F Stop, the lens aperture: f/9
  • If your camera does not go down to ISO 100, you may try a tighter aperture, maybe close to f/16 with ISO 200.  Experiment with the situation to find what is working for you.

This is a relatively long exposure with a shutter speed of 3.6 seconds.
You will notice how the smoke shows in the light and some of the
local terrain is lit enough to barely show up.

AS with all the photographs of fireworks display, the ISO was 100
and the f stop was f/9.
Shutter exposure time: 1.6 seconds

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.4 seconds

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.2 seconds
Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.0 seconds
Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  0.8 seconds
You will easily see how the relatively short shutter speed of 0.8 seconds(above) does not show the tail of fire from the fireworks shell prior to the blast of color.  I will likely be using a shutter opening time of 1 second to 1.5 seconds on the night of July 4 to take fireworks photos.  Try what you like and experiment during the show!  Best results wished for you with your photos of July 4 fireworks displays.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Photo site, temporary name:! Thomas Haynes Photography

I am working on a photo gallery website and although not finished I need to announce that here.  The site is Thomas Haynes Photography  a gallery hosting website.   I hope to be using a more marketable name in the not too distant future, one not relying on my personal name and also better in search engine location. The new name name is not yet chosen, considering the one I had selected is taken already. However, the new name will end with less emphasis  on "Thomas Haynes". Our intent as photographer has always been to take the desire and vision of the client..perhaps you..and combine that with our creative perspective and technical abilities to produce an image capturing the vision of the customer with remarkable clarity of meaning.  We are not speaking of photos simply technically on the mark because it is more than that:  The photograph ideally will relate what the customer sees in  personal vision combined with our rendering of that vision in a most appropriate manner: We want you to see the image and feel, well, "Oh my, that is it!"

Of course, some photos are simply fun, fill the memories of the moments and record the faces of loved ones on a rare occasion together...that sort of photo..the kids in the pool or the cat hanging from the curtain.  These are small events in the scheme of life but important in a box of little joys and smiles of memory.

 For now our host is Zenfolio and each day we add a touch here or there to improve the presence of Thomas Haynes there. As galleries are added with more photos, will the more complete and newly named version stay on Zenfolio? I  do not have all the answers yet and it is much too early to judge any success I might yet have in being seen by search engines. That does not happen without much effort and certainly not this soon do we reach our goal.
 Rowing Through Silver..posted previously in this blog but appropriate for now.

All is in the works.  Guests and users of the present website will be notified when any change takes place.   For now, please visit and take a look. Yes, some photos were first published in this blog and others are more recent, including private viewing galleries for clients.  Sign the guest page.  Every visit and guest comment is encouragement to reach for the full realization of photography with Thomas Haynes and get that going strong, renamed and branded.

Monday, June 25, 2012


 Christian Band from a recent "block party" at the Alpha House Transitional Home
This band is a special story of healing from addiction.
A post on fix-up efforts at Alpha House will be written and illustrated fully with photos.  If you have a heart for helping others through personal or organizational efforts, you will need to read this story.  The author and photographer has promised to do his very best on this one, using the fix-up day to tell the story of the organization and the needs they must regularly meet to stay operational..  What a way to put myself on the spot!  

The event is Saturday, June 30, 2012, a day for volunteers and residents to fix-up, paint, landscape, shine and repair the home occupied by the Alpha House organization and ladies in transition.
Fun at the party at Alpha House.

Find it here:  Alpha House     This is a transitional home for women who are recently out of incarceration. If you are not sure what that means, they are now freed from jail and are trying their best to make a transition to a normal and straight life.  Hear a testimonial and you will quickly realize the transition for most is a daunting task and often more difficult once they are back fully in society. Will the old "friends", and for some their own dysfunctional families pull them right back down that hill?  These girls pray for endurance and strength. Alpha House is God based, Faith based, Jesus Christ based.  The strength of faith and prayer has been proven in these women.  It works.  Yes, some do not do well after a time facing life all over again, a new way of life.  Those who share faith with them and close support may be far away. These ladies may face ridicule and temptations alone. Believe me, they will give it all they have to stay well and faithful to their God and to the new life they intend to accomplish.  When this story is written about "one day of volunteer work" at the Alpha House home, I believe it is to be read and shared. Remember, the author and photographer promised me his best.

Breaking News--December 19, 2012: Due to a dire shortage of funding  through October of 2012, Alpha House was forced to close.  With renewed efforts to streamline the money flow and start in a new location, the announcement was made that a small house was found in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. This will be able to take in four women for the program. Hopes are to continue at the new location and from this now smaller new beginning to reach up to God and renewed effort to grow in to again a larger facility.  Determination and prayer is at work here.  One woman remains in the program and is housed in specially provided location so she may complete the program soon.  We pray for income to sustain the Alpha House program and wise decisions by all involved.

Now, believing Internet technology will work, this post should show on the blog feed from here to there on the new website, Thomas Haynes Photography

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fledgling Eastern Screech Owls..Real Cuties

Screech Owls are the quite small owls with a baneful screech, a sound that has frightened many visitors to unfamiliar night woods. To imagine what creature was calling out would not bring thoughts of the small Eastern Screech Owl.  Once heard and recognized, there is no fear in the sound but rather an appreciation of nature around you. Follow the link to  hear sounds of the screech owl.

There is a new group of fledgling screeches at the Clinch River Raptor Center and also a group of young Kestrel falcons.  The owls came from different places and vary slightly in growth and development of feathers. In these photos, you may see a reddish coloration.  Otherwise, the color is mostly gray.  In the wild the owls are seen in both red and gray versions. Full color will develop as the owls mature.

 Notice the talons: Owls have four toes, with three front toes and one in the back just as do hawks. However, when owls perch they put two toes forward and move one to the back.
Is this owl saying you almost deserve a wink?

Fledgling birds are those old enough to leave the nest but still developing their feathers. They fly but not easily or with expertise and generally would be under the watchful eye of parents for a while longer. They are not really grown enough to be out on their own.  The birds shown will be cared for and assisted in learning to hunt for food.  All of this must be done without allowing the birds to become trusting of humans.  They must remain owls in all aspects and know they are wild and not closely associated with people.  If all goes well, when ready and able the screech owls will be released into the wild.

I was with these owls about a minute, not longer. With five youngsters in the area they each had found a place to perch and did not try to fly with me present. They made soft little owl sounds and no screeches. 

Thomas Haynes is a photographer working out of Clinton, Tennessee, a city just north of Knoxville. His photography is often of a fine arts direction but as in this post, his love of nature takes him again to the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehabilitation and educational not-for-profit organization.. Visit Thomas and see more of his photography at  Facebook

 Contact Thomas to discuss photography you want done.