Since last weekend was the Fourth of July here in the states I thought I would share my attempts at taking fireworks pictures as well as share how I took them.
The first set of photos didn't turn out very well. It may have had something to do with it being a windy day and me standing on a deck with people walking on it. So, rule number one: when taking fireworks pictures don't stand on a moving deck.
Fireworks over Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio). Notice the blur?
The day after the fourth there were some pretty fireworks over the back bay. This time it wasn't windy and I could set up my tripod on solid ground. These came out much better. Notice, no blur?
Now, how did I get these shots?
1. I use a tripod, but you can set your camera on any solid surface that has a good view of the fireworks.
2. Next, set your camera to manual. It sounds scary, but don't worry, it's not too bad.
3. Change your f-stop to around 16 or above to achieve a large depth of field. (On my camera I have to hold down the f-stop button and move the dial to change the f-stop.)
4. If you have a camera remote set your shutter speed to bulb (I just move the dial to the left until it says bulb.)
5. If you don't have a remote then start with your shutter speed really slow and adjust after the first set of fireworks go off. It may take a couple of shots to get it right, but don't worry, you can do it.
6. Focus on the fireworks (or somewhere near then before they go off).
7. If you are on bulb mode: press the button before the firework goes off, or when you see it shoot off from the ground. Then press the button again when the firework is over.
edit 8. (Thank you John for this tip) If your camera has the function mirror lock-up, use it on shutter speed between 1/30 sec. and bulb.
That allows the reflex mirror to be locked in the up position before a shot. This function eliminates the camera vibration caused by mirror slap, helping the photographer produce sharper photos.
I liked to let the camera capture a couple fireworks at once, so the shutter stayed open a long time. Play around with it a bit and you will find that it is really fun and you can get some cool shots.
For more Skywatch photos, or to add your own, head on over to Wigger's World.