Busan Fireworks Festival 2013


For years now I have drooled over the shots of the Gwangan Bridge ablaze with fireworks. I tried to get in position but the crowds and the traffic threw me off. My wife and I got close last year but gave up in the end when the police started moving everyone back. Thus, all we got to see were the backs of peoples heads.


This year, I was lucky in enough to meet an American photographer living in Busan. Keith Homan of Homank Photography graciously invited me up to the rooftop viewing area in his building to get a great view of the show. High above the crowds we were treated to a great show.


Looking down at the gridlock that stretched from Gwangali to all directions, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the people stuck in traffic. The traffic did not budge for a large portion of the show and you could tell from the honks that people were getting frustrated. The subway was also jam-packed with people. Walking with a backpack full of camera gear was dangerous as everyone was squished into every single car the headed to Gwangali.


However, I finally got the shots that I have wanted for so long and I am sure that Keith and everyone were equally as happy with their shots as well. Check out Keith’s Facebook and Flickr page and my friend Scott Rotzoll’s Flickr page. Also take a look at Amanda’s post over at Living in Another Language


Now for the nitty-gritty, “how did I get these shots?” Well it was tricky. Of course you all know you you absolutely need a tripod. However, getting the right exposure is the tricky bit as there is no magic recipe for these shots. It is all pretty much trial and error. The main thing is that you can’t just “set it and forget it” You really have to watching your exposures carefully and figure out what type of firework over exposes that shot.



What I did was hover about f/8 to f/13 or so and tested to see which shots got the best results. I found that f/8 or f/9 gave better shots. I switch to bulb and used my shutter release. This meant that I didn’t have to set my shutter speed each time. I found that 1 to 2 seconds at f/9 works for bright shots and a few seconds longer for darker shots with less fireworks in the sky.

This is one of those times where you truly have to be in the moment and know your camera setting well. By working with the bulb function and examining the light in each scene, you can get some good results.



  1. Amanda Reply

    WOW your shots are GORGEOUS! I love the view with the cityscape. I’m a bit jealous. 🙂 Thank you for the mention Jason!

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Anytime! Your write up was great and you looked like you had a great position, minus the crowds. You blog is really well done.

  2. Mark Eaton Reply

    Jason, your firework images are the best I’ve seen anywhere. Well done, sir.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thanks Mark, that means a lot coming from a great photographer such as yourself. Thank you so much.

  3. anthony Reply

    The shitty thing about your photo art is that there are so many awesome shots, how can you decide which ones to keep on display? Are your walls at home a cluster of awesome, or do you have a few favorites prominently displayed?
    I’m not a fan of fireworks, but these may have just changed my mind.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thanks Anthony,
      I rarely print my photos except for when they are part of an exhibition. I used to print and display them a lot but since moving to the new place, we haven’t put anything up yet. I might just have to print some up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!