YanShui Fireworks Display

When is this event this year?

This year it’s Saturday, March 3, but from what I was told from a pro photographer who’s been to it a few times - you need to have a place overlooking the crowd if you want to take photo’s. That is, you need to know someone with a rooftop or have media credentials to get onto a rooftop. Otherwise there’s a very good chance that you’ll end up with a broken camera. Or worse. The crowds are supposed to be intense, and there’s also fireworks being shot into the crowd. People actually wear helmets to protect themselves from the fireworks. And considering the average Taiwanese wouldn’t wear a helmet on a scooter if it weren’t for the police, that says something. I think they have a couple of deaths and many injuries each year.

That’s what I was told, don’t know how true it is.

The China Post has this to say

[quote]It’s perhaps the world’s only audience-participation fireworks event, where firecrackers and rockets - hundreds of thousands of them - are fired at, into, and around those watching.

Appropriate dress for the event means a full-face motorcycle helmet, gloves, a thick jacket, plus robust footwear and pants. Many a veteran tapes an old towel around his neck to stop ricocheting rockets from getting inside his helmet. This is a precaution well worth taking - I know two people who’ve suffered hearing loss as a result of missiles bouncing up into their helmets.

Chinese-language media reports the morning after the 2006 event - when these photos were taken - said that 19 people were injured. The toll is often higher, and sometimes close to a hundred. Burns and eye injuries are dangers; there’s also a risk of getting trampled by the crowd.

To the best of my knowledge, nothing remotely like the Yenshui Fireworks Festival happens anywhere else in the world. In terms of reckless enjoyment, the event can perhaps be compared to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.[/quote]

A photography guide said this

[quote]Yanshuei is a visual spectacular, and draws photographers like moths to a flame. However, taking good photos at the event is not easy. For a start, there’s the matter of protecting your gear from all the projectiles flying around. An underwater housing (a special box photographers use when shooting in water) works well but isn’t cheap: some cost NT$10,000. You could do what I have done and build a box using plexiglass. But, before going to Yanshuei, test the box to see how the plexiglass affects exposure.

Because the event is at night, you’ll need longer exposure times. A monopod is more convenient than a tripod. As for shooting with a digital or a film camera, the advantage of digital is that you can check the photos right away, and adjust the settings accordingly. However, film will get better results than a low-end digital camera. You’ll probably be depending on your camera’s automatic settings, because you’ll be wearing gloves (essential, because your hands will be exposed most of the time, and will get repeatedly hit by rockets). If you can, ahead of time scout out the route of the parade and find good vantage points for photography. Even better, befriend a local and get invited onto a balcony or rooftop![/quote]

That sounds inviting … so, I have about 8 more days to think about it and work things out … :slight_smile:

When they say wear a thick jacket, they mean it. A mate of mine had a rocket pass straight through his leather jacket. Fortunately it passed straight through missing him.

That towel around the neck sounds like very good sense.