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Your guide to digital camera scene modes
Whether you're going to a destination where fireworks are a daily event or are waiting for the Fourth of July, here's a look at a compact camera mode that can come in quite handy...fireworks mode.
The key to getting great images of fireworks with a digital camera is finding the best place to sit during the display. To the best of our knowledge, there are no cameras on the market that can help you do that (even though some do have built-in GPS locators) but many have a Fireworks mode that will take over once you’re seated. The settings that are selected differ from camera to camera, but in every case the exposure is optimized for brilliant, dazzling images.
Use a tripod! Exposure times can vary from 1/30 to as slow as 1/4 second, speeds that mere mortals cannot hand hold. Review the images as you capture them. Fireworks are much brighter than most people assume, and can sometimes fool automatic cameras, too. Be prepared to experiment by shifting out of the Fireworks mode and freewheeling it. If you feel really courageous—and a bit creative—switch to the Night Portrait mode. That mode preserves the influence of the prevailing ambient but then fires a flash at the end to freeze nearby subjects.