July 4th marks our country’s 237th birthday and it’s the perfect occasion to take in a fireworks show. I have the opportunity to be on the edge of the continent, in a bay and when the weather is nice, I can see many displays from a seat at the local beach.
Here are some tips for you to capture your experience:
First you need a camera with manual mode. To minimize camera shake, a tripod and a remote release are recommended. 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 stay true and not get washed out. Set your shutter to bulb (B on Canon), this setting will keep the shutter open as long as you hold down the shutter button. 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.