July 4th: Fireworks

This year I decided to photograph fireworks. Aside from the photos I took of the moon I haven’t done much for evening photography mostly because it’s new to me and seems harder than daylight. Harder because you need to know what settings to use for ISO and shutter speed. I did some research and found two websites that were very helpful. My feelings for the difficulty of shooting fireworks (not literally) increased when I read the articles because both websites said to use manual mode. But they gave me a starting point for shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. Also I used a wide angle lens and a tripod as recommended. Since I don’t have a shutter release button I used continuous shooting so I could hold down my shutter button and the camera would keep taking photos while pressing the button.

We were so lucky with the spot we chose to watch the fireworks. This was the first time seeing fireworks in our town and we faced the same direction as everyone else, the small lake in front of us with an island in the center. When the show started I had to adjust the camera to my right just a little but not much. My aperture setting was high to begin with (f/18) but at the end I had it closer to f/8. The ISO was set for 100. The shutter speed was 6″ (.6 seconds) to start and I found 8″ (.8 seconds) to give better photos. We were pretty close to the fireworks so I’m not sure I needed the wide angle lens but am happy I used it.

I decided not to edit the photos too much. I took about 150 photos and chose some of my favorites for this post. I’ve also posted some that have little firework detail to show how making small changes during the show made a difference. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error and you’ll find what works best!

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