sparklers: painting with light {photo tips}

Happy Independence Day!
Hooray for the 4th of July!

Watermelon, parades and sparklers.
These are the things I love about this day.
And, of course, capturing fireworks.

Here are some favorite photos from our last 4th of July in Orlando.
It's hard to believe we've been in Colorado for nearly a year!

There are many ways and settings to capture fireworks.
I like to start with an ISO of 200, and play with my settings based on available light.

For these shots, my goal was to capture the light painted by sparklers.
I mounted my camera on a tripod, and since it was pitch black, I left the shutter open for 2sec. 

I asked my kids to make various shapes in the air with their sparklers, tracing them over and over again, as if they were painting with light in mid-air.

Shapes of light!

f/5, 2s, ISO 200 

f/8, 2s, ISO 200
In the shot above, I'm focusing on Mr. Z who is standing still making circles with his sparkler, while one of my girls ran through the shot, creating a stream of slightly unfocused light.

f/5, 2s, ISO 200
This took several takes to get the spacing just right.  Plus, we had quite a few backwards "S's" until we figured out how to do mirror image letters :)

f/5, 2s, ISO 200

mount camera on tripod
shoot in manual mode and focus on the light
experiment with moving into and out of the frame
play with speed of movement (slow movements result in brighter lines)