July 4th Fireworks In Washington DC

Washington DC is probably one of the best place to celebrate fourth of July. July 4th celebration is an all-day event in the nation's capital, beginning with the parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with the fireworks. Fourth of July celebration is a great opportunity to shoot fireworks, specially in Washington DC. Shooting fireworks is always fun and new experience to me no matter how many times I have done it before. Usually, in the beginning of the shooting, I set my camera settings to basic for fireworks shooting and later play around with it and do new experiments. I have always learned more and more when I play around with the camera settings and adjust it beyond widely recognized industry standard settings. Last month I wrote a blog post about camera settings to capture fireworks using Nikon D90. Even though that camera setting was specifically for D90, it can be applied to any other camera. You may find different terminology for different brands of camera or menu settings will be in different places but the overall concept is same; lower ISO, 3-4 seconds of shutter speed and small aperture, f/12 for example. Other than following the basic camera settings, only way to master the firework shot is keep practicing and trying new ideas and play around with your settings.

Here are couple of shots from July 4th, last Sunday. In the first picture, you can see little smoke in the background which could have been avoided if I had closed the shutter right after the explosion but since my camera was not in the BULB mode, there was no way to close it manually other than waiting for the exposure time to be finished. But this is the part of the learning process.


In this second picture, smoke is not visible and fireworks looks crisp in pitch-black background. This time I learned from my previous mistake and changed the shutter speed from 4 seconds to 2 seconds, changed the aperture from f/12 to f/16 and snapped it right after I heard the explosion so that the shutter will be closed before the smoke is visible.


If you have any suggestions about shooting fireworks or learned new tips and tricks from your experiment, please share it with us. Happy Shooting!