Which way should you hold the camera? Typically, you’ll be better off with a vertical format rather than horizontal. After all, the trail of a skyrocket is usually upward and not very wide. However, a final decision about the frame you use will also depend on the size of the crowd viewing the event, your position in that crowd, and the number of spots from which the fireworks will be deployed. For example, in New York City, Macy’s Department Store has sponsored the Fourth of July fireworks display. The shells are launched from a string of barges in either the East River or Hudson River that’s almost a mile long. That means you might be able to fill a horizontal frame with six or more bursts at one time, so it would probably be a better choice than a vertical one.
Position yourself wisely.
Take a little time before the show to scout the location. If it’s a smaller show, you may be able to chat with the pyrotechnic crew beforehand. To get the best fireworks photos with a digital camera, point-and-shoot or DSLR, try to determine where the fireworks will be launched and then try to find a clear, unobstructed view that meets your compositional requirements based on the terrain, the height at which the fireworks will explode, and your lens choices. You don’t want to be in the middle of a crowd, with people wandering in front of the camera, or worse, bumping into your tripod mid-exposure. Steer clear of artificial light sources such as streetlights to avoid the possibility of light flare. Watch out for tree branches that can sneak into your composition too.
What focal-length should you use? If you’re close to the display, and if you have a choice, go for a “normal” or slightly wide-angle lens. Since your position relative to the rocket bursts will determine the exact focal length, use this as your guide: You want the frame of your image to extend so that it includes a good bit of the foreground in the bottom (more on this in a moment) and a “head-room” above the topmost firework trails. Chances are you’ll need at least your normal and possibly a wide-angle setting for this. If, on the other hand, it’s a world-class display that draws a “world-class” crowd, you may be further away from this display and need to use a longer focal length.
Foreground Subjects with Fireworks
Now, there’s an additional step to consider that can take your fireworks photos out of the ordinary and make them extra-special. The burst of a skyrocket, by itself, is pretty. But it’s not particularly interesting. What can you do to add interest? Try this: Don’t just shoot the burst by itself, but shoot it in conjunction with something else. For example, look how much more interesting this picture is because the paths of fireworks are incidental to this picture of the Capitol Building. Since you may not have the Capitol in your area — or even its equivalent — what can you use to add similar interest?
Consider including a statue in the foreground, with the fireworks framing it. Or silhouettes of the onlookers to give a sense of location to your picture. Or a tree, a building, a bridge, a skyline. Or…you fill in the blanks. The important thing is that your image include some interesting foreground objects — perhaps, framed within the fireworks display.
Article by: (articlesbase)