I posted some 4th of July fireworks pictures on Google+, noting that I was pretty impressed that a relatively small town like Kirkland managed to put on a nice display out over the water. While you could see the bigger show going on in Seattle at a distance, what we got locally was pretty cool.
It’s been two and a half weeks since then, but I thought I’d follow up and share the rest of the pictures I took (via the slideshow/gallery link below), and mention how helpful ubiquitous Internet access was in learning the basics of how to even go about taking these shots. I don’t shoot much landscapes or scenery – our kids are my primary subject – and I don’t think I’ve ever left the house with a tripod before. But since the family, minus myself, went off to Toronto on the morning of July 4th, I had the opportunity to give it a try – plus Olivia had already started to say that she’d like to see the fireworks, even though she knew she was leaving that morning. Some of the basics – using longer exposures, keeping ISO relatively low – were sort of intuitively obvious. But at least one simple thing – using bulb mode to manually control the start and end of each exposure – helped greatly, but just isn’t something I would have thought of, since bulb mode just isn’t something I’ve really ever used. Another thing that clear in retrospect but that I didn’t figure out on my own is that like flash, the brightness of the fireworks themselves aren’t really affected by exposure time, so picking the right aperture (usually f/8 to f/11) is actually more important. One thing that’s kind of neat – shooting at base ISO and f/8 means a basic camera and kit lens would be perfectly sufficient!
So, thank you Galaxy Nexus + Chrome for Android + Google Search + experienced photographers who share freely + a lengthy wait for the fireworks to actually start – this first real attempt at this subject matter turned out much better than it would have otherwise (I say “real attempt” because I snapped some handheld shots on Canada Day a couple of years ago while holding a crying Olivia with the other hand).
(Slideshow which links to gallery below – won’t show up in RSS)