It's that time of year again. A time to honor our country, be with family, cook some hot dogs, drink a nice cold beer and blow some stuff up. I assure you that I understand the true meaning of the Fourth of July and I think that it is a very important holiday for this country, but honestly we all know that what people really care about are the fireworks. So, while the rest of Victoria is snuggling under a blanket with a loved one (wait, this is Texas, make that hiding in their cars with the air conditioning on) and enjoying a snack and a beverage, I will be frantically running around the mall parking lot trying to get front page worthy fireworks photos turned in before deadline. Therefore i thought that i would take this time to share some firework photo tips for those of you who want to remember the pretty explosions in the sky hopefully from a much more relaxed vantage point.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm terrible at shooting fireworks. This year however, I am striving to improve my skills. I've been scouring the photo blogs and have come up with a list of tips that all of us can follow to make the most of our July 4, 2012 firework photos.

Use a tripod. > The photo blogs suggest using a longer shutter speed to record the explosions so you're going to need a tripod (or steady surface, maybe even the hood of your car) to keep your camera steady. On this note, the sites suggest having a cable release or using your camera's self timer so that your finger pushing the button doesn't shake the camera.

I shot this photo of the fireworks at last year's Boot Fest at 1/10 of a second which is too slow to handhold a camera without some shake.

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Shoot on manual. > a low ISO to reduce noise, manual focus at infinity from far enough back, and an aperture setting between f/8 and f/22 (which will affect your shutter speed) are all suggested.

Look around the fireworks > Firework photos with context (such as silhouettes of really still people or a view of the scene) are usually more interesting than just the firework on the dark sky. Also, look around and see whats going on away from the fireworks. While the bright bursts of light are often mystifying and make for some beautiful shots, the photos of your friends and family enjoying the holiday are the ones you are going to cherish years from now.

Don't believe me on this? Check out these sites.

This one is pretty standard

The National Geographic one has lots of photos to illustrate what they are talking about. And this one is my favorite because it feels the most real, using twitter advice and photo examples.

I will also leave you with this photo that I shot on New Year's Eve of this year. Thanks for reading this super long blog.

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