Fireworks! I have shot them for many a year, in many a year, even in the rain. I evolved. Pointing a camera at the sky will only get you so far. I got the 411 late. You need a tripod. But, you also need a long exposure. Three seconds or so will get you bursts of fireworks trailing in the night sky. It’s a bit more dramatic. You are committed. There’s not enough time to switch around techniques; the show is fleeting. This year – I hadn’t shot fireworks in many years, and with a new camera no less – I attended fireworks with the family. They were casual viewers for whom any burst of fire was a treat. Therefore, I was out of position by more than a mile – sitting by a road side with traffic, lights, and with houses and trees in my horizon. Plus, fireworks vary depending upon the budget. Home bought (fireworks) stuff – don’t bother. This stuff? It was too low on the horizon and did not have much variation, imagination, or pop. Oh well, fireworks is fireworks. But, once upon a time I shot them from my deck in Manhattan and saw the Macy’s annual big doo. It doesn’t get much better than that. I did not caption: Macy’s; Maine (hand held); beach. You will know the beach shot by the trees. Lemon? Make lemonade. Colleen was thrilled to see my pics. She’s so kind to me. For you: tripod, long exposure – ISO 600, f8, manual, 3 seconds; start there and adjust on the fly.
… without fireworks, heresy! Random. It’s great to have a good database. 2009. I was in Maine. I really didn’t know how to shoot fireworks back then. Now I know. Long exposure – 2-3 seconds to get the trails. My goal today? Some fireworks. It will be subdued this year. Corona virus. There are a lot of private fireworks being sold and shot. We just won’t gather in the millions to see Macy’s.
Fireworks. I’m a whole lot better taking pics of fireworks. I learned to do it right somewhere around 2009. I learned the basics. Use a tripod! You can hand hold too. That would be because the light/glow of fireworks is good enough to shoot at 1/30 sec. But you are much better on a tripod with 3 sec exposures. This slide was from 2000, the millennium in NYC. It was done in three locations that year: Hudson River, East River, and Statue of Liberty. This pic shows the water tower in front of the Hudson right by the Intrepid (air craft carrier). It’s my pic. It’s far from perfect. It’s dramatic enough. And I would have been happy. But I now know a different standard. The first 30+ years I thought I was good. Then I read that I could improve. It’s in my skill set now. I just gotta find some fireworks.
With digital it’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I did these handheld because I was not prepared for fireworks in California on the beach in December. Ok! Lemons? Lemondade! I used the Canon point and shoot. Video is something I never look at again. There were plenty of failures. But digital processors do so much. I got passable shots. I could do better with a tripod. But I was not willing to buy one on short notice.
Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.
We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.
On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!
Time to trot out a 4th of July shot. I got some good ones. And I learned that you need a long exposure on a tripod. This year Macy’s didn’t plan to set the fireworks off along the Hudson. The New Jersey residents howled. No matter, Macy’s moves things around from time to time and someone is unhappy. I’m just glad I was there when the wheel came around for me that time. Once you master the long exposure you tend to want to get some more. I have a collection of the skyline to my east. Either way it’s a great view.
It’s a great view from my apartment when they fire the Macy’s show from the Hudson. Most year’s it’s been on the East River. What I never knew was the technique. After reading a few pointers, I found out that a long exposure is the way to go. So I use f12 and 3-5 seconds. I’m on a tripod and changing the exposure constantly. In this case there are no rules. Meanwhile, Happy 4th.
In the time before I knew how to shoot fireworks with a camera, this was one of my edits in 2000. To cap the festivities in New York Harbor, there was fireworks display sponsored courtesy of Macy’s. I wangled a position somewhere. I believe that it was some high perch in a friend’s apartment looking downtown toward the Statue of Liberty. I handheld the camera and got this shot. Technically I would probably do better today. But in fireworks, I have come to believe, there are no rules.
While the bright lights of the fire trucks were still spinning, thunder began. Lisa looked up and asked if it had started to rain. The sky was cloudless. That could only mean fireworks. Cutting back through the apartment I found fireworks being set off over the Intrepid Air Space Museum on the Hudson River. No time for a tripod, I got some shots bracing my camera against the fence. All of this happened within a twenty-minute span. Some things you can’t make up.