Above is a picture that I took in Spain at New Year's 2010. See below for more images of fireworks!
Here are 8 tips (without getting too technical!) that will help take some of the guesswork out of trying to capture the fireworks this holiday weekend:
1- Arrive Early
Get there early if at all possible so that you can find your best location with the least obstructed view of the show. This not only includes people and crowds, but also street lights and trees that could end up ruining your chances of amazing images (and of course watching the action live too!).
2- Position Yourself Wisely!
Position yourself up-wind of the fireworks so that you have less haze obstructing the fireworks in your images as the previous set blows away.
3- Use a Tripod
Using a tripod is best, but not always practical for the occasional shooter. With the combination of low light and fast action, your result will be best and create sharper images if your camera is on a steady surface like a tripod. You can also get creative and use a flat rock or your cooler or a sturdy chair!
4- No Flash!
Make sure your flash is off so that it won't ruin your shots.
5- Play Around!
Try different modes on your camera to get different looking images as well as test to see what mode you're liking the best. There are a few to choose from like landscape, night mode and a lot of cameras have a fireworks mode built in. Check to see which modes you have before heading out so that your prepared when it gets dark!
**Take a small flash light or use your cell phone light to adjust the camera settings in the dark!**
6- Don't Forget the Details
Get creative and take images of the crowds to remember how many people were there or the great spot you found. Taking pictures is not just about capturing great images, it's about telling stories. So take pictures of everything of interest as well as the firework display to remember the story of your July 4th!
7- You'll need Extras!
Don't forget your extra batteries and memory cards!!
8- Focus! (One last tip that I'm adding this year!)
It helps if your camera has selective focus and you can focus on something stable in your background or foreground and snap the shutter when the fireworks go off. This way you'll be ready with a slower camera than a professional one and you'll get amazing images of the exploding fireworks! (note the image above I focused on the cathedral and below I focused on the skyline buildings).
Have a GREAT time and a safe holiday weekend!! Don't hesitate to let me know how it goes! :o)