The Fourth, Fireworks & Hot Dogs


posted Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 7:40 PM EDT

Fireworks 3 sHaving had such a bad experience using Fireworks mode testing a recent digicam (don't ask) at the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Birthday, we pretty much have sworn off stills in favor of HD movies of the things for the Fourth of July.

It's ironic that so much of what a digicam tries to do with the average snapshot is just plain wrong for fireworks:

• Autofocus? Forget it, you're shooting at infinity.

• Metering? You really do want the black sky to stay black, not turn gray, and the fireworks to have some color instead of burning out to white.

• Fast shutter, high ISO to stop motion? Actually you want the capture the trail of light the fireworks burn and avoid that noise in the shadows (that dark sky) at high ISO.

Fortunately, we've published plenty of advice over the years on how to capture fireworks with your still camera.

Visit the Newsletter Archive for:

• Beginner's Flash "Two and a Half Tips for Fireworks" (July 1, 2011)

• Feature "Getting Creative With Fireworks" (June 24, 2005)

• Advanced column "Shooting Fireworks the Digital Way" (June 30, 2000)

And don't miss News Editor Michael Tomkins' classic checklist for even more.

Of course, we like to add at least one tip every year (besides shooting in Movie mode). So here's, well, two, but they're for hot dogs (where it's easier to get professional results):

• Dress up your dogs like fireworks:

• Give them a "spiral cut" for an interesting twist:

One way or another, have a happy (safe and sane) Fourth!