Shooting fireworks is basically light painting. However, the downfall is that you can't control the light. When the firework shoots into the sky, it could go in any direction. I found myself watching for the trajectory, adjusting my camera on the tripod, then shooting just before the burst and holding the shutter through the spray.
Being limited with space due to the trees, a lot of the images cut the spray. I actually liked the perspective because it was different than what I've seen in most fireworks. The other thing that was different for me was I was below the fireworks on occasion, once again, giving a different perspective than those shot at a distance.
There are a lot of articles about how to shoot fireworks, but here's a quick summary of what I used:
- A camera where you can adjust the settings manually and hold the shutter open.
- If you have dSLR or SLR, the lens choice is strictly up to you. It all depends upon the look you want.
- Remote shutter release or a shutter time on camera
- Bug repellant
- ISO 100
- Aperture F/11 to f/16
- Shutter Speed in Bulb mode (or the longest your camera will let you hold the shutter open)
- Focus to infinity
A lot of this is personal preference and trial and error. It was tricky to follow the mortar and get my timing and camera aimed just right. It was a change for me because I try plan everything and control the light. Now, things always come up in a planned session, but I'm good at improvising and problem solving. With the fireworks, though, everything was random. I had absolutely no control.