I figure lots of people are going to be watching fireworks this weekend and sitting around a fire so it's a good time to pass on a few things that I've learned while messing around with photographing these two things.
Let's start with tips for fireworks. I'll post about fire tomorrow.
These settings are a good starting point:
APERTURE f9 or f11
SHUTTER SPEED 1 second
If you have a dslr just put it in manual mode and change all of those settings. Get your manual out and learn how if you don't already know.
If you just have a point and shoot you should read your manual as well to see if you can change any of those settings. You are going to want to make sure your flash is off and if you can't change all the settings see if you can just change the shutter speed and see what happens with that.
I didn't use a tripod because I felt limited. You may want to use it as it is really tricky to stay really still for the second that the shutter is open. I sat in a chair and just kind of braced myself. It worked for me.
Find out where the fireworks are going in the sky. Get your settings where you want them. I don't remember if I had to manually focus or not so you might have to mess around with that a little bit.
Give it a try and just remember... if you are only getting frustrated just put the camera away and enjoy the fireworks like most of the other people... without the camera.
If you get some pictures this weekend I would love to see them!