Writing with Light

Fire in the Sky & Tips to Shoot Fireworks

As you all may know it was a long weekend for us and a wonderful one at that with a much-needed break on my part. Sunday was Canada Day and in the evening my husband and I headed down to The Beaches to watch the annual Canada Day fireworks at Ashbridges Bay. When we arrived the boardwalk was wall to wall people but I headed straight for the shoreline to set up for the fireworks.  To be honest this was the first time that I’ve shot fireworks so I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to set up and get into position. The biggest bonus of the night…a full moon.

Tips for Shooting Fireworks

  • Get there early to set up while there’s still light
  • Use a tripod
  • ISO 100 (to ensure minimal noise)
  • Set your aperture to f8 or f5.6
  • Set your camera to “B” or “Bulb” mode
  • Change to manual focus. I wasn’t sure exactly where the fireworks would be so I set my focus to infinity
  • Use a cable release to minimize camera shake.
  • I found that an exposure of 4 or 5 seconds worked the best. Anything longer then that and my images were blown out especially when there are multiple bursts of fireworks going off.
  • Have a flashlight with you so you can check your settings.
  • A fireworks display last about 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll have to work quickly so check your images on your LCD to determine if you have to adjust your settings.
Click on the images to enlarge or to purchase a print.

fireworks, Ashbridges Bay, Toronto

fireworks, Ashbridges Bay, Toronto

45 responses

  1. Wonderful firework shots!!


    July 3, 2012 at 7:12 am

  2. Nicely done Edith and a great setup list too!


    July 3, 2012 at 7:21 am

  3. Great tips for capturing the goods, Edith!
    Your images here are really nice.


    July 3, 2012 at 8:04 am

  4. chrisnitz

    Solid tips here, Edith. Now I just need to get out there to shoot some fireworks!


    July 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

  5. Wonderful shots, and love the reflection in the water. Nice list of tips too. Thanks!


    July 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

  6. Rick

    Excellent tips, Edith!


    July 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

  7. Great tips, and very nice shots!


    July 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

  8. Good tips and cool images to support them! Well done!


    July 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

  9. Great starting point. I have used higher f-stop and longer exposure. Manual and tripod are a must. There’s no wrong exposure. I got the Macy’s NYC fireworks a couple years in a row. They fire from the Hudson River once in a while. The early fireworks still have the glow of sunset. The finale has to be dialed down because the exposure is like daylight from all the ordinance. Great shots, Edith.


    July 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    • Thanks Victor I always appreciate your comments and insights. Higher f-stops work as well you just need to experiment. As far as exposure time I tested exposures between 1 to 10 seconds and found that the 4 to 5 second exposure was ideal. Longer then 5 secs gave me a lot of blown out areas. Shorter the 4 seconds , while it worked I missed alot of the light trials of the fireworks which is what I was going after. Of course it is to the preference of the photographer and what they’re after in the final shot.


      July 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  10. sherri

    gorgeous greens in the fireworks


    July 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  11. Beautiful pictures! I love the reflecting glows.


    July 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

  12. Its our turn tomorrow 🙂


    July 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  13. Great job, Edith! These are wonderful. I missed Canada Day fireworks this year, we headed down to Cape Cod for the long weekend. But I will still get my practice since we have the Annual Pyromusical Competition here in Montreal until the 3rd of Aug.


    July 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm

  14. Always a difficult subject to photograph. Very helpful advice. And two very good shots, Edith


    July 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

  15. Beautiful shot Edith and thanks for the tips!


    July 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

  16. Pingback: Red, White, Blue…and Delicious! « ShutterbugSage.com

    • Thanks so much. I tripod is essential. Borrow one from a friend or you can even rent a tripod inexpensively for a day or two. You produce terrific images I’m sure you can do this.


      July 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

  17. Good advice Edith. And great shot! I never shoot fire works, maybe someday…


    July 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

  18. Pingback: BehindtheFireworks « BehindtheLens Photography

  19. Awesome shots! Thanks for the tips!


    July 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

  20. Great work Edith.


    July 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

  21. Very nice work Edith, I love the green water!


    July 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm

  22. Great images and tips! 🙂


    July 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  23. Never been able to capture good fireworks shots so thanks for the tips!


    July 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

  24. Wish I’d seen this over the 4th of July! I’ll have to bookmark it for next year.


    July 27, 2012 at 12:22 am

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