Happy Birthday, America! Plus Fireworks Photo Tips

July 2009 Fireworks Photo 1

Land of the free, home of the brave. God bless our troops for the job they are doing to protect our country.  Our country and the state in which I live are in pretty bad spots financially, I hope we can pull through without having to go into a depression like some are anticipating.

But on a lighter topic, I love fireworks. 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  I love taking photos of fireworks.  AJ and I went to a 4th of July get together last night and we both took our cameras.  We have two tripods, but could only locate one. AJ wanted to take some video as well so he let me have full use of the tripod.

My camera is just a little ol’ point and shoot, but I am always very pleased with the photos that come out.

Fireworks 2009 Photo 2

Here are a few tips for getting fireworks shots.


Figure out if you can set your camera to have a slower shutter speed, or perhaps yours will have a setting specifically designed for taking fireworks, like my Nikon Coolpix S220 does. Since it’s a point and shoot, it doesn’t like me set the shutter speed or anything fancy, but it does have a lot of “scene” settings from which I can choose. Like sunset, fireworks, beach/snow, etc. You can imagine the different lighting you would get at sunset, during fireworks, or at the beach or if snow was all over.


Always bring a tripod. I have tried taking photos without the tripod but it didn’t work out, I can’t stand anywhere near as still as a tripod can. 🙂

Fireworks 2009 Photo 3


Make sure your battery is charged. I always make sure my battery is fully charged prior to leaving for the fireworks show.  I actually own a second battery so I make sure both are fully charged.


Clear your camera’s memory card. I always make sure I have an empty card so I can take plenty of pictures.

Fireworks 2009 Photo 4


Set your photo resolution at the highest setting, just in case you want to get photo prints made up of your fantastic firework photos!


Last but not least: This tip is something with which you must experiment.  You have to get your timing right. I listen for the “boom” sound when the firework has been set off, you can hear it whizzing up into the sky but you can’t see it yet.  Right at that moment I snap the photo. The shutter stays open for several seconds and hopefully it will gather the photo while the firework is up in the sky. Otherwise, if you wait too long or if you take the photo while the firework is in the sky, you may end up with black sky, or maybe a few little flicks of light.

Of the 150 photos I took, I had about 3 dozen black photos, some with tiny points of light.  It is a bit of a distraction (to your enjoyment of watching fireworks) to be messing with the camera but after a while you’ll get the hang of when to snap the photo to get the firework. The thing is your shutter will be open 10-30 seconds, taking light in all those seconds. That’s why you see long streaks of light in my photo above.

Of the 150 photos I took, I ended up liking 60 of them. That’s pretty good, I think. And also why it’s so important to take LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of photos!! It’s so easy to do with a digital camera!

Fireworks 2009 Photo 5

Good luck with your photo shots!  These tips are also great for taking photos of campfires, christmas lights and anything else with lights in the dark!

I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing day today, with good food, friends and family!

Mrs. Accountability

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