Shooting fireworks in DC


Diamond Member
Jun 23, 2005
My family is driving to the East Coast this weekend to see the fireworks in DC. I've never personally been there, but I know from watching it on TV that it's quite majestic. So, my question is, where are the best spots to photograph the fireworks? Do they go on for long enough to allow movement from one area to another, or are you pretty much stuck in one place for the entire fireworks show?

Also, how are the crowds? I will be bringing my 40D and 2 lenses (17-50 and 70-210), but I also have access to a Nikon D300 and 80-400mm VR Nikkor that I can take along if the crowds are huge and force us to stand way far back. Anyone know how crowded it usually gets and whether an 80-400mm lens will be necessary?

Also, I'm familiar with some of the basics for shooting fireworks (such as using Bulb mode with a black card in front of the lens), but can anyone give their personal tips for shooting fireworks? I would like to keep the backgrounds well-exposed as well, since DC has many historic buildings.

Thanks in advance.