I often wondered to myself, "Hey! What is the view from the (East Bay) hills like for fireworks?" And now I know. It's a little too far away for my lens capability, and way too crowded to move around for better/different positions, but it's always great to get up there and look out over the area and marvel at the view.
I reached Grizzly Peak Blvd. about 7ish or so for 9:30 start time, and was lucky to snag the spot I got. Slowly but surely, the entire two-lane twisting road was lined with cars, so much so that when I came back down they had closed off a section of the view and had cops directing traffic. So, the answer to, "I wonder if it gets crowded" is yes! Yes it does. Getting back into town wasn't too bad though.
You're looking at the view from above Berkeley; the Bay Bridge to Yerba Buena and Treasure Island in the foreground. The fireworks shoot from the Embarcadero around Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf area, more or less. I didn't do a whole lot of work with the sharpening and noise. It is what it is.
What was really cool about the hills was seeing SF, Berkeley and Sausalito all going off at once - not to mention all the illegal displays throughout the East Bay. They only sell what they call "safe and sane" fireworks in a few cities around here; for the most part fireworks are banned, probably for good reason. The Fire Department was everywhere, from the hills to the city streets, chasing these things and attending to small grass fires.
A good night. I guess it was a positive side to the BART strike, getting the curiosity about this kind of shoot satisfied.
Here's 14 seconds of video :