Macy's 4th of July Fireworks over the Hudson River & Manhattan (large)
Macy's Fireworks in New York City were moved from the East River to the Hudson River this year, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the exploration of the Hudson River by Henry Hudson.
After a disappointing experience last year, I really did my homework this time—not just for the best location, but also for the best technique to shoot fireworks.
It was a wonderful experience! We were in the midst of a fantastic crowd, and in awe we watched the overwhelming display of fireworks blooming right over Manhattan. From our vantage point, we could see no less than three barges at the same time!
Technical details follow:
I used my lens kit 18-55mm lens, and switched the focus to manual. I focused on the skyscrapers in the background when it was still light out, and never touched the lens again. (Last year I made the mistake of leaving the focus on automatic, and for minutes the lens couldn't focus on anything, which was seriously frustrating.)
I decided to shoot with a relatively "open" aperture, f/5.6, and manually set the exposure times according to the light meter and the expected amount of fireworks that would be in the frame at any given moment during the exposure time. This is naturally hard to predict, but obviously for the finale, as more an more shells exploded at the same time, my exposure time would be shorter. On average, I used between 2 - 4 seconds.
I left ISO at 100 to reduce noise, and used a tripod and remote control to minimize any camera shake. My metering mode was set to "evaluative" after I read several articles about it. "Pattern" is not available for my camera, so this was apparently the next best thing.