Once or if I'm lucky twice a year I get to play and be totally surprised by the outcome. This year I get to do it twice :) Fireworks when captured on camera can be like spin art as a child. You know when you put a few drops of paint on paper and the machine twirled and flung the paint around. When it stopped you were a master artist.
One summer before I was married I lived in NYC and actually won a photography contest with fireworks. That year I photographed the fireworks on the river and captured the 3 big simultaneous displays and their reflections. This year it was a random backyard scene but it is kinda all American in a way.
All you need is the right tools and little bit of camera knowledge and you too can be a master artist :)
First you need a camera that you can put in Manual mode, a tripod, and a lens. I used a 50 mm.
To get the settings right you need to play around a touch I used kids running around with glow sticks. Put your ISO on 100. I usually kept my f stop or aperture between 5-9. And the shutter speed stayed around 3-5 seconds. If it is open too long the fireworks overlap and become too bright and you just get a big bright blob in the middle. Too short of time and you don't capture the trails.
We went with everyone one else in Broken Arrow and Tulsa to the Rhema Fireworks which is held the Sunday night before the 4th. It is a huge display and lasts for quite a while so you have some time to adjust your settings when the first few go off.
Once you get everything lined up you can actually push the shutter button and let it do it's thing while holding your kids and watching the show. I could hear my shutter open and close and I knew when to push it again.
Hope this helps someone play :)
The not cool thing about this is the drive home. It took us a over an hour when it normally takes 15 minutes. So if you live south of Rhema watch it on the south side. That just might be the best tip of the day!
The 4th will still be epic just a little more personal so I have a new idea for that. :)