If you're doing several time exposures with a Canon A1 as I suspect you are please ensure you have a spare battery at hand, because they use a lot of power to hold the shutter magnets open for long periods.
Good point-- thanks for the reminder. I keep a spare battery in the bag with the A-1, but I will put a second spare in the bag knowing that there's a good chance it might give out.
The A-1 has long shutter speeds, set it for a long shutter speed such as 8, 15, 30 seconds and use self timer.No tripod? prop camera up on something or brace against a tree etc and use self timer.
Star filter and multiple exposures are techniques I've tried too.
You both make good points-- If I were to use the self-timer for 2 sec. delay and a long shutter speed of 30 sec, I should get a few good shots. Even if they're not all that great, it would give me a chance to experiment and get a feel for the technique involved. Thanks!
When I photographed the fireworks over a few years I found that double and triple exposing a roll was not a bad idea for some shots but others were too crowded. I used both my A1 and my AE 1P. The crowds can be a real problem so look for a high spot with out a space for people to get in front of your area
If you are shooting just the fireworks, the meter will be useless. And using the shutter for long periods will drain the power of the A1. So normally id say to go with the all-mechanical F1.
However, it is generally not good to go out with an untested camera.
Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.
Others have given you some good advice already. I may be too late to offer any more but here it is regardless. ;-)
Shooting fireworks is not an exact science. Set your lens to f/8 or f/11, focus at infinity, and keep the shutter open for as long as you want. Even though I have a shutter release I like to keep the shutter open for a long time and cover it with a hat or black cardboard to get the best bursts onto the same piece of film. It also allows you to control how much of the burst you want to see. This is important with light/white-coloured fireworks, as they tend to blow out quite quickly. Fireworks of other colours tend to be more interesting visually and you can often get the whole burst in detail.
I almost always shoot fireworks with normal slide film. Tungsten will give you paler, softer colours, which I quite like but don't shoot a lot of.
And, of course, keep at least one roll of film ready for the fireworks at the end of the sequence, which will probably be the most stunning. I always end up shooting multiple rolls on the beginning stuff and then have very left for the end.
I have quite a few fireworks pictures but they aren't all accessible to me here in Japan. But here are a few examples of different films in Ottawa on Canada Day and at the Miyajima Fireworks in Japan.
The first two in Ottawa are on Portra Tungsten film, the third on Provia 100F. The ones in Miyajima are also on Provia 100F.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
For future reference shooting fireworks, the time to open the shutter is when you hear the mortar launch the projectile. You always hear it about a second or two just prior to the burst. The best displays are preceded with multiple thumps of the launchers. Now I can't wait for the 4th to get here!