Use this brief set of ideas to ensure that you getting the most stunning images of this patriotic celebration.
You will notice that all of these images were shot in the vertical, portrait orientation. They are also fairly tight and close up (these were all shot with a telephoto lens). But you can use either orientation and any lens - it all depends on the kind of images you are after.
Tip #1: Use a Tripod
You will also want a way to take each picture without touching the camera. Older cameras often use remote cables and many newer cameras use electric remote controls. Whatever works is fine... as long as it allows the camera to shoot without your finger shaking it.
Tip #2: Use the Right Film
So get yourself some ISO 50, 64, or 100 speed film - and be sure to buy several rolls. The last thing you want to do is run out of film before the grand finale.
Using such slow speed films goes hand-in-hand with using a tripod. After all, using a slow speed film without a tripod spells doom in the photographic world.
Tip #3: Choose Your Vantage Point
When I shoot fireworks, I rarely go to the main center of attraction - you know, the place where they charge you admission and perhaps even sell concessions.
Instead I scout out the area ahead of time and select a more distant vantage point, one that gives me a good view of the festivities.
Tip #4: Timing and Shutter Speed
Then open up your shutter (using the "bulb" mode). Leave it open for 4 to 20 seconds, varying exposures - I usually keep the shutter open until the particular blast I am photographing goes dark.
If there is a lit object that you care about in the scene, take your meter reading from that. If not, experiment and have fun!
Final Thoughts: Using Digital Cameras vs. Film Cameras
The real question is whether you are using an automatic point and shoot or a more controllable digital camera. If your camera allows you to open up the shutter for long amounts of time using a "bulb" mode (often represented by a "B" symbol), it should be fine for fireworks photography.
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