Firework Festival: Rapallo / by Lawrence Eagling

In early July, the sleepy fishing town of Rapallo comes alive in a frenzy of activity, bedecked with glittering lights and street food stalls to celebrate the festival of its patron saint, Madonna di Montallegro. Of course this being Italy, nothing is done by halves and so the whole town celebrates the festival for 3 full days! The nightly firework displays are legendary, and after catching the occasional glimpse of shooting firecrackers over the hills on the first night of the festival, we simply had to go! The final day of the festival was an incredible sight; thousands of people lining the harbour and walking in procession to accompany large wooden crucifixes decorated in gold leaf being transported to the church by teams of men and boys.

The crowds were so thick it was difficult to find a good spot to set up my tripod so I had to improvise by setting up on top of an industrial bin to get a clear shot of the sky. This represents my first real attempt at capturing fireworks and what a display to start with! The images seem to be those of brightly coloured flowers against a black backdrop rather than chemical explosions.

I discovered that my best chance of capturing the action was to close the aperture down to f16 to ensure the firework was in focus as they are set off from differing locations, and then to adjust the ISO so that the exposure time is between 1-3 seconds. If I was to try this again, I think I would try the 12 mm lens rather than the 23 as some of the largest, most impressive fireworks were too large to fit into my field of view! I have selected several of my favourite shots, some for colour, others for their resemblance to abstract plants!

I hope you enjoy my first fireworks post, (comments always welcome) and hopefully more to come! As always please get in touch via one of the following methods; email at, Instagram @lawrence_eagling or twitter @LawrenceEagling.