Street Photography in Cyrildene at Chinese New Year 2019 – Year of the Pig

Another year and off I go to Chinese New Year 2019. This was the year of the Pig festival in Cyrildene featuring everything I’ve come to love about the event.

Marching Ladies

It’s been awhile since I’ve shot any events so this was a great way to get back into the swing of things. With the hustle and bustle of festivities going on all around there was plenty for me to hone my skills.

Chinese New Year 2019 Celebrations in Cyrildene

If you’re planning on going to Chinese New Year in Joburg I highly recommend Cyrildene. It features a long stretch of road cornered off it making for the perfect venue for first timers and beginners. Safety is good and there are plenty of others photographers around eager to help if you have any questions.

Dragon Line

The Chinese New Year 2019 celebrations include all the usual entertainers from elderly ladies dancing in colorful outfits to women marching in red, raucous drumming ladies and of course dragons and lions roaming the streets. As with any such I event I always aim to capture a little of everything.

Drumming Ladies

After years of roaming the streets at these events I’ve found fortune favors the brave so taking a stand in front of the crowds is the only way to guarantee a good shot. With a little bit of elbowing I managed to stake my spot at many of the displays. Once I got my shots I moved on allowing others to grab what they needed.

Lion Dancer

After following the lion dancers and dragons around I grew tired. Heading back to my car I saw fireworks going off in the distance. You can’t leave without capturing fireworks.

See what happened in the video below and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more.

Chinese Celebrations Photography How To

With so much going on and with light changing you’ll need to be dynamic with your shooting. As usual I stuck with my trusty Canon 5D MKII and Canon 24-70mm f2.8 and a Gorillapod. When it comes to the early afternoon shots of the performers it was a case of opening up the aperture all the way to f2.8. The shutter speed was dropped to a low of 1/80th of a second to minimize camera shake and the ISO was slowly increased as the light fell.

Perfect Firework

When it comes to photographing fireworks I give myself as much of an advantage as I could. I find the best settings are lowering the ISO to 100, this ensures the sky is as dark as possible. I then open my aperture to about f11 or more. This gives a greater depth of field increasing the chances of capturing the explosions. Then I set my shutter speed to 0.5 seconds. If the shutter speed is too fast all you’ll capture are spots of light in the sky. Too slow and everything becomes a blur.

With setting in place I zoom the lens as wide as possible (24mm in this case) and set the lens to manual and focus as far out as possible as there’s no telling how high the fireworks are launched. Then I start shooting.

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