Fireworks! I have tried a million times to capture them but have never been very successful. This year, I had the right equipment, did my homework beforehand and was excited to try it all out.
The results? - Eh. I'm not 100% impressed with the results.
I am uber-picky so please bear with my ambivalent feelings about these shots. I love the concept of the shots, but I am not happy with the clarity and sharpness. I blame that on the lens that I used not the technique.
So, if you still have a chance to shoot Fireworks, here are my tips:
1. A tripod is absolutely required. If you don't have a tripod, find something to rest your camera on (the hood of the car, a rock,a cooler) but DO NOT hold the camera. If you are a caffeine addict like me, the camera will shake when you attempt this!
2. You need to change the settings on your camera. My camera has a function called "bulb". This basically allows you to choose how long to keep the shutter open. Push the shutter button and hold it until you are done. Not all cameras have this function so the key is to choose the setting on your camera that keeps the shutter open as long as possible.
3. Timing is everything. I was fortunate enough to be very close to the action and I could hear each shot before you could see it. I would open the shutter just before the first burst and would leave it open until the firework started to fade. The general rule of thumb - If you wait until you see the sparkle, you are probably going to be too late!
4. Be patient! You won't get every shot. It takes a few minutes to get the rhythm of the show down. Some colors look great in the sky but don't show up well - like blue. Some shapes don't translate well. If it is windy, your results might be very different. We were lucky to have a very still night last night.
5. The most important thing, unless you are getting paid to shoot the fireworks display, stop playing with your camera and enjoy the show! Take it from me, I have completely 'missed' some displays because I was too concerned about getting the perfect shot and I didn't get to enjoy myself. Remember, there is always next year!