Fireworks at Epcot – Lake Buena Vista/Orlando, Florida

This will be a quick post this week. Things have been a little nuts lately with all of the classes and shoots that we have been doing the past couple of weeks. This week’s post is about fireworks. While I was staying in Orlando/Lake Buena Vista we were a stones throw away from Epcot. We could see the top of the dome of Space Ship Earth from our hotel room. The hotel itself was very photogenic, I would like to go back and just photograph the room itself! But time was limited so I got what I could with time permitting.

When we arrived at the hotel the first night, as we were driving around the parking lot we noticed the fireworks. Since we were at one of the entertainment capitols of the world, I was going to make sure to photograph the firework show the next night.

After a bountiful day of shooting wildlife, it was time to try the ole’ rockets in air. We set up our tripods out on the balcony right outside our room. Since I have photographed fireworks before, I adjust the camera before the show even started. The first adjustment that I made was with the focus. I set the focus ring to infinity and turned the auto focus off. This way, the camera wouldn’t be hunting during the show. Step two was to put the camera in manual mode. I started off with ISO 400, f/8 and the shutter speed set to bulb. If you aren’t familiar with bulb, this setting allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you want by either pressing the shutter button or by pressing the electronic release. The shutter stays open until you release the button.

Since fireworks are self-illuminating, I was going for a black frame. I took a test shot and that is what I got. A few moments later the show started. I took a test shot and my exposure was too hot or overexposed. After a few more test photos, I ended up using f/22. I waited the sound of the “thump” as the shell was launched out of the tube. I pressed and held the electronic release, during this time I watched as the faint tail of the shell was going into the sky. The shell explodes and the flower is created. Then I released the shutter button. I did this same procedure for the remainder of the show.

The only problem that I saw after reviewing the photos is that the tree line was too high. Next time I’ll have to get on the roof. All I did to these was a slight contrast adjustment and sharpen. Other than that, this is what came out of the camera.


spencer pullen epcot disney fireworks lake buena vista orlandoBlue and Gold – Spencer Pullen © 2012

spencer pullen epcot disney fireworks lake buena vista orlando Blue Pinwheels – Spencer Pullen © 2012

spencer pullen epcot disney fireworks lake buena vista orlando Finally – Spencer Pullen © 2012

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. I love the blue pinwheels! So cool!

  2. Oh so cool… My favorite~ Blue and Gold!

  3. Thanks, Spencer. Love the pictures. I always wanted to take pictures of fireworks but for whatever reason haven’t. Now that you shared your experience, I will know how to do it when the time comes.

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