Reblogged: How to Photograph Fireworks July 4, 2013

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

It was Independence Day in the United States yesterday a National Holiday for most. All over the country people were barbecuing, spending time with family and friends, or just enjoying a day off.  After dinner the family and I found some high-ground to view, and photograph the fireworks.20130704_4482I set up my tripod and waited for the first firework closest to me to be sent up then triggered my shutter release. I focused there then set my camera/lens to manual focus.

I set up the settings this way  f/10, ISO 200, and  5 second exposure, but found that too short so lengthened it to 10 seconds and the next burst took a photo. That seemed about right, at least I wasn’t blowing out the burst beyond recovery, so I went with those settings.  From my vantage point I was able to see as far south as Morgan Hill and North to Fremont and perhaps a bit further.





20130704_4470If you want to photograph fireworks use a tripod, and a remote cable release. Use the first couple of burst as test shots to get your settings set up. I wait for the boom then depress my shutter, some people use the trails of the ascending firework as their cue.  You just need an exposure long enough to capture the explosion. Give it a go.  It’s a lot of fun, but I keep in my soul the knowledge that the freedom I have today to celebrate, worship, and work without the fear of persecution or tyranny wasn’t given it was earned.

I’ll end this post with the words of Lee Greenwood who says it better than I.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”
~Lee Greenwood

more to come…






19 thoughts on “Reblogged: How to Photograph Fireworks July 4, 2013

    1. I’m quite addicted to having my tripod. A photography friend said to me a few weeks ago I’m the only person she knows who uses their tripod as much as I do. I started using a tripod shooting low light and night photography and just got used to having it and if I have it I might as well use it rather than carry around not using it. 🙂

      You don’t necessarily need a remote. At least not for anything 30 seconds or under. Most cameras have a self timer. Mine is set to a 2 second delay. I use that more than reaching back in the bag for my cable release. Really the only time I use my cable release is when shooting longer than 30 seconds.

  1. What an amazing gift you shared here, Deborah!
    Freely giving away your advice and talent on capturing fireworks brings me to tears. You are a kind, warm friend.
    Wouldn’t it be lovely if each of our talents were given away, without strings; even just to a few people? Wouldn’t it make it just the Best place ever to live, sharing what we have in gifts? 🎁 This is what I felt looking at your “wonderful world presented through fireworks. ” The one with green fireworks going off in the distance is prize worthy! 🏆

  2. I guess this was before we connected. What a great post, and lovely photos. I like how you got the fireworks in the distance in the bottom one. That’s pretty cool.

    1. This is in the days I didn’t have very many readers. 🙂
      Thank you so much for the comment, and the follow!

      This year I set up my tripod/camera just a few houses away since a neighbor around the corner was setting off fireworks I had nearly a ring-side seat. It was quite different from this posts experience. I think I’ll save that post for next year. 🙂

      1. Our town fireworks are Friday night but I’m not risking my hearing with the noise. I’ll stay inside with hearing protectors as the launch point is less than 1/2 mile away (in Maddie’s park)

  3. Thanks for the photo tips, Deborah. A phone camera certainly won’t work for this, but we enjoyed last night’s display anyway. 🙂 As for your sentiments about the US, I heartily concur!


    1. Thanks Janet!

      Did you get Camera+ phone app or one that has manual controls? A tripod and a camera app with manual controls for shutter speed, turning off the flash, and taking it out of Auto ISO and put it in ISO 100 you should be able to take some nice images of fireworks with a cell phone.

      1. Deborah, I’ve gotten a number of photo apps for my iPhone…and never really figured out how to use them. Allan uses Hipstamatic all the time and I can’t figure it out at all. Makes me feel more than a bit stupid, I must admit. 😦 But I have a year to figure something out about fireworks, right? 🙂

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