This 4th of July I had the chance to photograph fireworks. Yes, my birthday is actually on July 4th. I’ve been called a firecracker and many other names over the years, but I am blessed to have fireworks on my birthday! This year my family took me out to dinner and then fireworks. For the first time in a long time I really tried to capture with my camera the breath-taking images the fireworks produce.
I first read an article online to refresh my memory and learn a few tricks to take with me. I actually printed the article out so I could take it with me as a reference. I set up my tripod in the middle of a swampy area because it was free of power lines and other obstacles. The mosquitoes were active but not overbearing. I was set up and prepared before darkness set in and well before the fireworks display started. This was helpful because I could still see the dials and switches on my camera. Otherwise I would have needed a flashlight to be sure all the settings were correct.
I set my camera in the manual mode with the bulb shutter speed and an aperture of 11. I was rather surprised to find out I was almost too close to the fireworks because I had to shorten two legs of my tripod dramatically to get the proper angle for my camera to see the fireworks. This provide a more unsteady base but I managed to keep the tripod still and sturdy throughout the fireworks display.
I used a cable release with the bulb shutter setting, so the shutter was open as long as I held the button. I experimented with various times and found my favorite to be pressing down on the cable release when I though the firework was just about to explode and then release it when the brightest light had just flashed. I wished I had more time to experiment because the display seemed to be over before I knew it!
Here are some of my favorite shots from this July 4th. It was a great way for me to top off a great birthday! Do you like any of these photographs? Which one is your favorite?