Saturday was a pretty uneventful 4th of July for us, but I decided to play with taking fireworks pictures. I took tons of pictures, and some of them were pretty neat. A lot were not that great. Here's some of the most interesting ones.
Actually, first I tried taking some pictures of the moon that was nice and full. If you've ever tried taking pictures of the moon, you know that normally it just ends up looking like a bright white blob; none of the detail that our eyes can see. I think I've figured out why, and how to compensate for it. Cameras automatically assess the lighting in any particular scene, and decide what aperture and shutter speed would be appropriate. With moon pictures, your camera "sees" all the dark area around the moon, and thinks, "This seen is so dark, I need to let as much light in as possible!" The aperture is wide, the shutter speed is long, and the moon ends up being totally washed out. To get good moon pictures, you have to override that and use the manual setting, make the aperture smaller, select a faster shutter speed , and then you'll have more detail. Afterwards, I did a little photo-shopping to bring up the brightness and contrast, and sharpened it all a bit. Sorry for getting technical. That may have been a really boring paragraph.
Fireworks from our back porch. For fireworks, I found that a wide open aperture and a shutter speed of over a second worked well. I definitely needed a tripod. The lights on the horizon are mostly some parking lot lights, but also some farther away fireworks.