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How to Get Great Fireworks Photos with Your Phone

Watching the July 4th fireworks has been a long-standing family tradition. But capturing the beautiful aerial displays can be hard if you stick with the auto settings on your smartphone, so try these simple tricks for fireworks photos you’ll want to keep.

1. Use a tripod

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Joby

When you take picture of fireworks, your phone’s camera needs to hold the shutter open long enough to “see” the fireworks. The longer the shutter is open, the more susceptible your photo is to motion blur. So use a tripod to make sure there’s no movement. Joby’s GripTight Gorillapod, which can wrap around trees and poles or stand up on the ground, is a great option that fits most smartphones. Price: $29.95 on joby.com or $16.74 on Amazon.

2. Use the “landscape” mode

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Camera+The app for iOS lets you set and lock focus manually.

Your phone’s camera automatically tries to find an object on which to focus. And when presented with a black featureless sky, the camera doesn’t know what to do. By putting your camera in “landscape” mode, you’ll be presetting the focus to infinity and narrowing the lens opening, which keeps both near and far objects in focus.

If your smartphone’s camera app doesn’t have landscape mode, you’ll want to manually set the focus to infinity. There’s an infinity focus option with Shot Control ($2.99 in Google Play) for Android phones. For iPhones, you can use Camera+ ($1.99 in iTunes) and manually select and set a focal point in the distance.

If you have access to a camera, you’ll want to look for “fireworks” mode. Most point-and-shoot cameras have a button or dial with “SCN” or “Scene” on it. Otherwise you’ll find it under the “menu” button. When you put your camera in scene mode, a list of the available modes will pop up on screen. Select the one that looks like a spray of fireworks and/or says “fireworks.”

3. Turn off the flash

Turning your flash off will let your phone’s camera know that it only has available light to take a picture. This is important because the camera will then keep the shutter open long enough to capture the fireworks. The flash button is usually a separate button on the main camera app screen.

4. Turn down the ISO

High ISO will crank up the sensitivity of your phone’s camera so it can see details in the dark. However, the fireworks themselves are quite bright. So, to avoid overexposure and reduce noise, take your camera out of Auto ISO and change the setting to ISO 100 or even lower. The ISO setting is usually found under the main menu. You may have to put your camera in program mode to change this setting.

This article was written by Suzanne Kantra and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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Alice S. Hall /NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images Mayim Bialik as Blossom Russo

In my opinionation, sitcom reunions are more popular than ever

Blossom, the ’90s sitcom starring Mayim Bialik as its hat-wearing heroine, is coming back to TV for a syndication marathon in July — but in the social-media consciousness of many of its fans, it’s already here. The network Hub, which will air the marathon, hosted a cast reunion for actors Mayim Bialik, Joey Lawrence, Michael Stoyanov and Jenna von Oÿ, and yesterday the photos from that event made it to Instagram and Twitter.

Blossom is only the latest nostalgia-worthy TV show to take advantage of social media to drum up interest in a reunion. Though reunions are nothing new for morning shows, alumni shows and magazine covers, Twitter and Instagram have proved to be capable of summoning huge interest in shows that have been off the air for decades. Mayim Bialik’s Instagram picture of the Blossom reunion has been liked nearly 7,000 times in just one day.

And perhaps it’s not just coincidence: according to a 2013 Pew study, use of Twitter and Instagram is sharply correlated with youth, and the millennials and Gen-Xers who are most likely to use those services are also the ones who were the right age to enjoy sitcoms about young people in the late ’80s and ’90s.

Like:

Older shows have had reunions — The Bob Newhart Show, anyone? — but the viral traction hasn’t been so high. And, with former cast members openly pushing for more, it’s a trend likely to continue. The logical next step: Snapchats with Teletubbies.

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