Thursday night Riverton Country Club held it’s second annual fireworks display. Some friends of ours who live adjacent to the golf course held a party to view the display, and me and my fellow “shutter hubby” were on hand to capture it on camera.

Following steps we found via an easy web-search, I had my camera set to full manual, the ISO set to 100, the f-stop set between 11 and 14, and the exposure time between 2 and 4 seconds. Also following some good advice on the internet, I found a point near the base of the fireworks, and manually focused on it before I lost daylight. This made adjusting the focus during the display much easier, most of my shots were beautifully sharp. The combination of a narrow aperture, low ISO, and long exposure allowed the brightness of the fireworks explosions to dominate the field. Many of my shots show the blooms against a field of what appears to be pure black.

Because I wanted to make adjustments on on the fly, so I could compare results of different settings later, I had my camera connected via qDSLRdashboard. The live view mode allowed me to see when the fireworks were in my field of view and trigger the shutter without being tethered to the camera. Early on during the display, the app’s auto-preview was crashing, which caused some consternation. I quickly disabled this feature and the crashing problem went away. I also shortened the time I needed to pause between shots, so that ended up being the best decision anyway.

This set of light-trail pictures forms some of my favorite images in 2016. It amazes me how the camera is able to pick up both color and direction which the human eye simply misses.


100 ISO
4.0 seconds

A firework bloom takes the shape of a flower