We always look forward to fantastic fireworks displays this time of the year. We "Ooh" and "Aww", but the spectacle is gone so quickly. If you are planning to take pictures of fireworks, as I am, make sure you are prepared. You will need a camera, a wide angle lens, a tripod, and a remote shutter release. Set up the tripod and camera to face the display. Set the focus to ∞ (infinity) and turn off auto focus. I like to use a wide angle lens because the bursts will not always be in exactly the same spot, and getting some of the horizon in the picture can make it more interesting. I set my ISO to 200. I set my f-stop high to reduce ambient light and increase my depth of field. And I set my shutter speed for a couple of seconds. I like long light trails and multiple bursts in the same shot. In the photo below, I used a shutter speed of 4 seconds. You can play with your shutter speed to get the effect you like best. I have a remote shutter release for my camera, and that helps to minimize camera shake when tripping the shutter. Timing can be tricky, but if you are close enough to the staging area, you can hear the boom from the launch, and estimate how long it will be before the burst appears in the air.
The 4th of July is not the only time to shoot fireworks. Locally, the baseball stadium has a fireworks display on Friday nights after their games. A local radio station sponsors a "Christmas in the Sky" display. And there are some major amusement parks that have regular fireworks displays.
Enjoy the fireworks and take some great pictures.