4th of July Fireworks Show in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach Pier

4th of July Fireworks in Huntington Beach

Every year the 4th of July fireworks show in Huntington Beach is a major event in southern California. Attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators, it’s an interesting experience.

This year my wife and I decided to capture the fireworks over the HB Pier using long exposures.

But first we had to find somewhere to park! With very little public parking available near the pier, we found one about a mile away. We were well prepared with two beach chairs, my Case Logic camera bag and tripod. Yup, we had to carry them all for at least 9 long blocks!

After finding the spot we liked, I setup my gear and waited for the fireworks start time of 9 pm. We were surprised to see that people were still in the water up to and after the fireworks began. Must have been the adrenaline of the day because the water wasn’t exactly that warm.

The beach was at full capacity. I tried setup near the water so that I wouldn’t get people on the pictures. However, with so many people, that was not possible. That’s why you see some “ghosts” in the images. With long exposures, the people sort of fade. That’s why the surfer on the lower left looks that way.

Photographing the 4th of July fireworks in Huntington Beach can be a little challenging with the people and the unpredictable Pacific Ocean mist that can cause a haze to occur in the images.

The show lasted about 20 minutes and fired off near the end of the pier, so I knew that Ruby’s Diner would show up on the photos. Making sure it was visible was very important. The lights on the pier are turned off, so the only thing lighting up the pier and beach would be the fireworks.

Camera Settings

I set my Nikon D7000 and lens to 29mm. Manual AF, manual exposure and shutter. My ISO was set to 100. Most of my settings varied, but they ranged from f/8 – f/22 and shutter release from 10 to 25 seconds.

Using the Nikon ML-L3 wireless remote, so that I wouldn’t touch and move the camera while the shutter was open, I triggered the shutter. It was really easy, every once in a while I would adjust the settings a little to capture more or less series of fireworks.

Overall, I was happy with my results but like always I learned something. The best photos were generally those captured at the beginning of the show. After that, the smoke which was blowing toward us, started to block half of the fireworks. You can see this a little on the photo above.

Also, at the end of this firework show, like most others, there’s a burst of several of them going off at the same time. Well, next time I’ll need to lower my exposure time, because with so many lights it really overexposed those photos.

But again, overall I was happy with my photos of the 4th of July fireworks in Huntington Beach. I encourage anyone to give it a try, the experience is fun especially with so many thousands of people in attendance.

You can purchase a download of this image at OCPix.com

Ramon Ambriz

Ramon has been an avid photographer for over 20 years. He runs and contributes to several photography sites including OCSurfPix.com,  Coolest-Travel-Pictures and OCPix. His main expertise is in advertising and online marketing but photography has always remained a top priority.

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