As a photographer, I find it fun to take pictures of fireworks just for my personal pleasure - their fascinating whether at Disney, in the skies above the town I live in, a sports game or individuals firing them off for no reason except for the fun of it. They are colourful and pretty. I don’t get to do it often and when I do, the pics haven’t always been to my liking. Just like astrophotography, macro photography, sports photography - there is a different technique that gets better through practice. Each outing is just trying different methods to see what I will end up with.
One constant that I have learned whether I have taken pics of fireworks on film or with digital - is setting the aperture at f11 or f16 using a low ISO (in this case ISO 200) to maintain the colours and not blow out the highlights. What has worked for me, is to leave the shutter open and then holding a black card in front of the lens to block out light getting in - then pulling the card from in front the lens during a burst and and then back in front to block light getting on the sensor. I may do that several times to build up the bursts on a frame. The beauty of digital, is that I can instantly see the result and try again.
I’ve used a cable shutter release with Bulb or a Time Lapse setting on the camera to keep the shutter open, but mostly have good success using the Olympus Live Composite setting as I did here. Benefits of using Live Comp Mode to keep the exposure going, is that there is not an ambient build up regardless of how long the shutter is open. But what I enjoy most is being able to have instant visual live feedback on my cameras back screen as the bursts show up, and then stop the exposure when I like the result.
When I am able to, I really like using the remote shutter release on my phone with the Olympus Share App connected to my camera wirelessly. It is great not only for keeping the camera from shaking when the shutter is pressed, but I have full control to adjust all settings without touching the camera, plus I have a Live View displaying what the camera is seeing, on an even larger screen. And I can press the shutter button without being close to the camera if needed. BONUS - I can set Autofocus and even dial in and tweak focus Manually with all of my Olympus Lenses, remotely using the app on my phone or iPad.
Anne took this pic of me using it last night to adjust my Live Composite settings on the camera: