Sunday, July 6, 2014

The 4th of July: Northport Style

Everyone knows that Northport has the best 4th of July celebration in the area.  The village is alive with visitors and crowds enjoy live music with the Village Voices, Northport Community Band, and the Leo Creek band.  The town was rocking!  But all the music was really a prelude to the big show:  Fireworks! 

 Like shooting the full moon, photographing fireworks is a challenge because of the amount of contrast between the dark sky and the extremely bright fireworks.  This is the fourth year I've tried to shoot fireworks.  Key ingredients for successful photographs include a combination of knowing how to execute the mechanics of fireworks shooting, having a good location, and, well, luck.  The above photo from 2013 shows I have a LOT to learn! 

I began scouting for a good location soon after the 2013 4th of July.  I'd tried being in Marina Park with the crowds, but there was so much activity I couldn't think about my camera settings.  I'd also tried shooting from Braman Hill, but it was too far away.  But this year, I found the perfect place and asked permission to shoot from a business that was away from the crowds, but close enough to capture the show.

I liked being close to the water so I could catch the reflection of the fireworks on the bay.

This year I worked on my technique by learning to use Bulb mode.  With that setting, I controlled when to open and close the shutter through the use of a remote shutter release. 

Using this new method, I'd open the shutter by holding down a button on the remote shutter release and let it go when the shot was completed.  The trick was all in the timing.  I'd do my first click as the boom of the fireworks sounded and then I'd release it after the fireworks began to fade.

And believe me, my thumb was sore after clicking for 221 images!

 While there are similarities between full moon and fireworks photography, there is one big difference between the two.  I can practice full moon shooting once every month, but I can only shoot fireworks once or twice a year.

Regardless of the outcome, shooting fireworks is a challenging and enjoyable type of photography.  And, for the first time, I'm getting images that are beginning to resemble fireworks.  :-)


  1. Splendid fireworks images, Karen! Love the compositions, colors, and reflections.Great work.

  2. Thanks, Jan. It was a fun photoshoot. Karen