Greetings from Asbury Park: Fourth of July Fireworks on the Boardwalk

The Asbury Park boardwalk was packed with spectators for the July Fourth fireworks display. Photographing fireworks is a challenge, and I wanted to see if I could improve on the last time I tried. I was running late and arrived just before the show started. This time I wanted to include a prominent landmark in the foreground, and I figured the former Howard Johnson’s would be perfect. I could have shot from the ground, but I saw that there were spectators on the balcony of the Paramount Theatre. It turned out that it was a private party, but I politely asked a security guard if I could get up there, and he kindly let me in.

This time I was prepared with my tripod and remote release, and it made the job much easier. I read up on techniques for this type of photography and shot at a low ISO with a high f-stop. This seems counterintuitive, but it works. The low ISO prevents noise in the black sky, and the high f-stop is necessary because there’s actually a lot of light from the fireworks falling on the sensor during a long exposure. Too much light, and the colors would blow out to white.

It took a lot of experimentation, and I wish the display had been longer so I could perfect my technique. Still, I got some decent photos, and I share three of them here.


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