TeamSpeed wrote in post #12710761
This isn't a fireworks gallery thread, but instead someone asking for tips, so at least provide technique suggestions.
Oops, sometimes I get so giddy taking pics I forget...
For me, most important as follows:
1. Pick a good location. I like to show the foreground in the pic to give some scale of the fireworks bursts. Find a spot above everyone else so they don't block your shot! Also make sure there are no obstructions. I misjudged where the fireworks were going to be launched when I setup and had to rotate my setup to the right. However, b/c I was using a wide angle lens, turned out there was a tree creeping into the right side of my images. (Worse there was a yellow sulphur street light next to the tree that kept turning on/off during the display. With my long exposures, in many shots the tree was bright yellow.) By the time I noticed this it was too late to move, so I had to clone out the tree for each of my images.
2. Stable shooting platform. For long exposures you must have a shooting platform that doesn't move. I have a travel tripod that weighs about 1.5lbs. Packed-up it is about 15" long but extends to almost 75". I put a small ball head on it and am good to go. Recognize you may have a lot of walking to do to reach your shooting spot so pack light. I use a $2 cable release with bulb mode I got off ebay to trigger my camera (5DII) so I don't have to touch it while shooting.
3. Lens selection. I went wide angle - 17-40L - to capture foreground as mentioned. But some people like to use telephoto lens. Recognize most displays don't last more than 20 mins so plan ahead which lens(es) you're gonna use so you don't waste time fumbling in the dark changing lenses. (A related note: bring a flashlight in case you do need to make changes to your camera.)
4. Camera settings. Key to capturing fireworks burst are long exposures. For me, I found 8-15 seconds worked best. However, some bursts have very intense centers and long exposures = over exposures with those. Some people use bulb mode and cover the lens between bursts. I tried bulb mode and just worked the cable release with mixed results. Aperture - F8 most of the time. ISO - 100. For white balance, I used 5600K for these shots but realize now I should have used 3200K. AWB may or may not work. Manually focus on a distance point prior to it getting dark. This (focus) could get complicated if you're using a zoom/telephoto during the display. For focus planning ahead helps. Check your LCD between shots to see how much of the burst is over-exposed by using the blinking highlight indicator and adjust your exposure accordingly.
5. Video. I screwed up both attempts at video this year. First time, I had my ISO set to "Auto". B/c the scene is so dark prior to the burst, the camera cranks the ISO all the way, leaving me with a noisy, over-exposed image when the burst finally comes. Second time, I locked the ISO in at 100 but that proved to be too little exposure (1/80th, F5.6). I couldn't find the ISO button in the dark to adjust it so I lost that video (hence my note to bring a flashlight next time.) That said, a shutter speed of around 1/80th seems like a good choice so I'm guessing next year I'll try an ISO around 1600 if my aperture is in the F5.6-8 range.
Other: bug spray, blanket/jacket, seat for while you're waiting for the show to begin, and ear plugs (suckers get louder the older I get!)
Hope that helps.