Where to Photograph Fireworks – Locations and Tips 2016

North Jersey’s parade, fireworks and celebration map

List of North Jersey fireworks, times and dates

Here are some basic starting points

Please let us know if you get some great shots we’d love to see!
Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Have a great 4th of July Holiday weekend from all of us at BCC.

Find a fireworks display on NJ.com‘s 4th of July celebrations page.

  • Use a tripod
  • Electronic release, 2 second self timer to eliminate shake or by carefully pressing the shutter button to minimize shake.
  • Manually set your camera ISO to 100 (You do not want Auto ISO)
  • Lens Choice – Wide Angle Zoom to frame what you’d like to capture
  • Auto White Balance or Daylight
  • Set your lens to manual focus then focus to infinity (take a test image and make sure things are sharp) Don’t forget to switch back to auto focus when done shooting
  • Method 1 – Set your camera to Manual exposure – Try 5 seconds at f/8 – 16 – this will allow you to capture several bursts
  • Method 2 – Try setting you camera to the “B” setting in manual – keep the shutter depressed at f/ 8 – 16 for several bursts
  • Carefully release the shutter if not using a release to capture from one to several bursts

**Evaluate your exposure – Shorter exposures (or smaller apertures ) will darken the image and capture shorter trails, Longer exposures (or larger apertures ) will lighten the image and capture longer trails.** If necessary make adjustments and take some more shots

If you are using a point a shoot, check your camera’s manual to see if you have a fireworks mode.

Improving Fireworks photos

Shoot with a tripod – it will give a more natural cascade of light.

Shooting the Finale!

The finale is many times brighter than rest of the show. Be ready to choose a shorter exposure or smaller aperture to prevent overexposure. The exposure you need is dependent on the number of simultaneous bursts. In some really incredible finales you may find yourself shooting at 1/4 or 1/8th of a second. Experiment for best results.

Why use a tripod?

Hand-held image above shows motion from camera shake in the burst of light.

The image below is steadied by a tripod, 5 seconds, f/16 at 100 ISO

Other Techniques

Set your camera to B and lock open your shutter – keep the lens covered with a dark hat and remove the hat to capture a burst then recover and repeat to capture several bursts. Just be careful not to bump your camera.
You can even zoom the lens during exposure for some interesting effects

Experiment and best of all have fun.

Happy Independence Day.

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