CUMBERLAND — To get better Independence Day fireworks photos, try these tips:
1. Use the manual mode setting on your camera. Experiment with your aperture and shutter speed settings to get the desired result; a shutter speed that is too slow will cause your images to blur.
2. Use a tripod. The tripod will allow you to dial down the shutter speed even further than if you hand-hold the camera. For long exposures, such as a second or more, a tripod is a must.
3. Choose a telephoto lens. Unless your lens has a fixed aperture of 2.8 or less, you'll want to use the zoom sparingly, as you'll lose light as the aperture gets smaller. A 70-200 or 70-300 would be a good choice. Also, you can always crop your photo later if you want to, but you cannot add details that you missed. Aim to see as much of the display as possible in your viewfinder and don't zoom in too far.
4. Keep the ISO low. ISO is a measure of the camera's light sensitivity, hence, the higher your ISO setting, the more noise, or grain, will be visible in your photo. Experiment with an ISO of between 100 and 400.
5. Don't use the flash. Pictures taken with available light have a much warmer, natural look, as opposed to the flat look created by the camera's flash. By lighting the scene with a flash, you lose contrast and pop of colors against the night sky.
Victoria Griffiths is a staff photographer at Cumberland Times-News. A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Griffiths earned a bachelor's degree in English from Frostburg State University. Her photos are published in the Cumberland Times-News and Allegany Magazine.