This is my first serious attempt at fireworks photos. I broke out the electronic cable release and tripod. The trickiest part seems to the be timing. You can’t tell when multiple bursts will appear in the next few seconds. For part of the time I was just starting another exposure whenever one finished. You end up deleting quite a few this way, but you get lucky with a few like the one above.
I found that about 6 seconds was a good exposure time. Any shorter and you don’t get nice trails. Any longer… Well you might get some interesting results. I’ll have to experiment with that next year.
For these photos, I was across a large bay, fairly far away from the launching area of the fireworks. So I used my 70-300mm lens, and used the first few bursts to get my framing set so that most of the bursts would be in the frame. I ended up having to crop every photo because there was too much black space around the bursts.
This shot is more chaotic than beautiful artistic patterns, because there were a lot of different types of explosions going off at once. The fireworks themselves are so bright, similar to a sunset, that you can barely see their reflections on the water in the bottom of the photo.
This was an interesting experiment, but if I do more night photography in the future, the way I work lends itself to HDR cityscapes, or maybe stars over night time landscapes. It just means I have to leave my wife and kids at home and go out at night.