I Know this is a bit late for fourth of July, but fireworks still go on after the fourth
In this Instructable I will show you how to take great firework shots at night, with almost any camera.
Step 1: Get Your Camera
The camera i will be using is a Canon Rebel XTi , a SLR. Almost any camera with adjustable settings, can be used in this instructable. Almost any Canon Camera has settings like the rebel xti, so you should be able to follow along. I am certain that fuji and a few other brands have these manual settings. Other brands may work, but you will have to consult your manual for those.
Step 2: Figure Out How to Go to Manual Mode
In this step you will need to set your camera to a manual mode. If you have a SLR anything like mine you need to turn the dial on the top to "TV", which puts priority on shutter time. Depending on what camera you have you want to be able to adjust the time of the shutter.
Step 3: Set the Exposure Time
The exposure time of the photographs you take is critical to how you pictures turn out. A good place to start at is 1/6 of a second, on my SLR it displays 1/6 as a "6" in the bottom of the viewfinder when i focus the camera (push halfway down on shutter). On the SLR i have, to adjust the speed you rotate the dial on the top behind the shutter button. The first picture below is a photo taken at one second exposure, and is obviously over exposed. The second picture is taken at 1/64th of a second, and only captured the end of the firework explosion. The final picture is taken at 1/6th and is a almost perfect example of a firework picture. It will take trial and error to get this perfect. Remember to have alot of space available on your camera.
Update: From experiences of taken photos of fireworks since this instructable, and input from the instructables community, i would like to add that using manual mode, and adjusting your aperture and your shutter can ensure a better picture of fireworks. A fstop of around f/11 i have found to work great.
Step 4: Take Photos
Now that everything is set, sit, or stand and take your photos. Take one picture, look at it. If it has alot of white light, and is hard to see, then set to a exposure shorter time (on mine turn the dial right). If the picture is extremely dark, and you cant see anything, then set the exposure longer(left on mine). Once you have all your settings right, take alot of photos.
Step 5: Additional Tips
If you can, use a image stabilization, or a tripod. These pictures were taken with a image stabilization lens and a tripod. I was about a mile away from these fireworks, this allowed me to get photos without pointing my camera straight up, and having to sit down to look through the viewfinder. Try not to use a Night Mode, because this raises the exposure and creates a bad image.
Here is some fun firework photoshttp://www.wf.net/~lcrump1/night.htm