Stars and Stripes and Fireworks!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, here in the United States. A fireworks display is one of the traditional ways we celebrate. The sight of the colorful bursts of light illuminating the night sky never ceases to raise my spirits and inspire awe. So, I have taken to capturing the shows with my camera. I have fun trying to capture the many bursts. Last year, I was lucky to be home on the Fourth of July and it wasn’t foggy! I was able to catch the fireworks show off the local beach.


If you have ever wanted to try photographing fireworks but weren’t quite sure, I will share a few of the techniques I have learned. First you need a camera which has manual mode. A tripod and a remote release are recommended also. Set your camera to a low ISO setting of 100-200. Fireworks are bright and an f-stop in the mid range of f/9-f/16 lets enough light in to allow the colors to show up well. Set your shutter to bulb, which allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you hold down the shutter.  Make sure your lens is on manual focus, and focus to infinity or wait until the fireworks begin and focus on them. A medium  telephoto zoom lens works well, I use 24-105mm. Now position yourself so you will have an unobstructed view and you are ready to shoot. Listen for the launch and release the shutter and hold open for anywhere from 2-30 seconds. The longer you hold it open the more bursts you will capture.I was also in France on Bastille Day last year and was able to catch another fireworks show in Juan-les-Pins.

On my last trip to Chicago we saw the fireworks show off Navy Pier one night. . .

I tried another lens, an 85mm f/1.8, and I played with bokeh.

Remember you can check your camera’s LCD periodically to check your composition and exposure and make adjustments if necessary.

I hope you have a Happy Independence Day and get the opportunity to watch a fireworks show. If not tomorrow at some other event or location this year, and get out, experiment and play.

~Sue

2 thoughts on “Stars and Stripes and Fireworks!

    • I remember that also, I was using a film camera and even though it was foggy I was anxious to try and see what I would get. . . which was a lot of colorful glowing clouds! I really do like seeing what I can capture!

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