Grapevine Summer Blast 2013

Nat Geo: Photographing Fireworks

How to Photograph Fireworks Displays

WikiHow How to Photograph Fireworks

Equipment Requirements:

  1. Camera
  2. Tripod
  3. Remote Shutter Release
  4. Lens
    1. Full Frame: 50mm - 200mm
    2. APS-c: 30mm - 125mm
    From Rockledge Park a couple years ago the images ranged from 70mm to 105mm using a 70-200mm lens to include both the fireworks and the reflection. If just the fireworks are of interest then the 100-200mm range would be more useful.
  5. Pre focus at light, hard to focus at night.



  • Arrive at the site early enough before the fireworks to scope out the best location for shooting the images that you would like.
  • Check for distractions that might become part of your images and adjust accordingly - move the object or yourself somewhere else. Think about the foreground and background elements of the scene and how you might want to incorporate them.
  • Set up your tripod, camera and cable release.
  • Level the camera so the horizon is HORIZONTAL.
  • Pre-focus on the expected position of the fireworks. Manually focus! You don't want the camera to make decisions. After that is done, leave the focus alone until all your shots are taken. With the fireworks a mile away the focus will not need to be changed even if relocated around the lot.
  • Turn off the image stabilazation feature.
  • Try varying your shots. The focal length REQUIRED depends on your distance from the burst and what you’re trying to capture. If you want a tight shot that shows detail, you will NEED a zoom lens that goes to at least 200mm. Keep in mind that changing focal length will require refocusing in most zoom lenses. Check for this attribute before the show begins, while it is still light.
  • Ron Marabito recommends setting the camera to f8 or f11 with an ISO of 100 and then set the camera in the B or bulb position for exposures.
  • When the fireworks begin, press and hold your shutter open at the firing time of the shot and hold till the explosion is complete. This is typically anywhere from 3 to 6 seconds in length.


Sunset on August 15, 2014 is at 8:12 PM. Grapevine Fireworks displays start at 9:30 p.m. They last only twelve minutes! The time to get your camera setup and aligned is before 9:30 p.m. There are several experienced photographers on this shoot to to help with any questions.

More information at "Friday Night Fireworks".



Depart Sams Parking Lot @ Coit & Bush at 6:30 PM.

Arrive Grapevine RockledgePark by 7:00 PM.

Beaucoup Boom Boom at 9:30.


Route to Rockledge Park

Rockledge Park Vantage Point