Monday, July 8, 2013


I hope you each had a wonderful holiday weekend, or regular 'ole weekend if it wasn't a holiday in your part of the world.

In my neck of the woods it was Independence Day, so from the 4th through yesterday we were celebrating.  In my world, I don't think we really need a reason to cook hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, hang out with family and friends, or watch fireworks, but apparently there are rules about such things, so these activities are mostly confined to one, or maybe two times a year...such a pity!

On the actual 4th it was a beautiful and hot day, which was a nice contrast to all of the rain we have been having.  And even though it was hot, there was a great breeze coming off of the river, enough to create white caps and make me cradle my camera like a newborn to prevent it from being attacked by salt spray.  In the photo above, the opposite shoreline is 5 miles away...thank you Canon for my big honkin lens!

I had taken my big lens out with me in hopes of catching the fireworks down river from us.  We can also see them over on the other shoreline in Virginia, but they are far away and rather small.  Not to worry though because some folks down at the mouth of our creek must mortgage their house each year to pay for their fireworks.  

Not that I'm complaining, as the beneficiary of their careless spending, I'm all for their reckless abandon each year on the 4th of July.

The trick to taking pics of fireworks is to use a tripod, and to use a remote shutter release.  I had the tripod, but my shutter release has gone to that great photo field in the it died just in time for my first attempt at shooting fireworks!

Instead of admitting defeat, I decided to use the "bulb" setting on my camera and told myself that whatever I got would be better than my pics last year...mostly because I didn't take pics last year, get it?!

The cool thing about the bulb setting is that it allows you to control the shutter by holding it open for as long as you care to press the button.  It's a pretty nifty setting, and this was the first time I had tried it. 

I had also read that if you held the button during multiple explosions you could capture more than one firework at a time, which I also thought was cool.  The pic above looks like a palm tree doesn't it?!

When we got home I realized that my technique needed a little work, and acknowledged that remotes were really necessary equipment for getting clean crisp shots of fireworks in high winds and low light.  But I have to admit that I am kind of psyched with the results I got, to me, they are almost cooler than regular shots of fireworks.

Sometimes it's the so called mistakes that make me love photography so much.  Even your screw ups can become things of beauty...and let's face it, a positive spin is so much better than banging my head against a wall and lamenting that fact that I will have to wait a whole year to try again!

I'm calling the image above the Big Bang Theory, because if you give your accidents cool names, well that makes them even more legit.  Runners up for the name are Studio 54, To Infinity and Beyond, and It's Electric (made you say boogie woogie woogie didn't I?).  

Ok, my work here is done!  I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend and that this week will be even more exciting!


  1. Amazing photography! We had rain, rain, and more rain on the 4th. Fireworks displays in several areas were postponed, though a nearby neighborhood proceeded with theirs.

  2. Glad that you had nice weather for the 4th! I've never tried the bulb setting - it's on my list though! I like the names you picked out for your captures - which - I agree - are better than none!
    We spent last week in Maine and enjoyed their fireworks display - our 4th was pretty perfect...

    Have a great week!

  3. Cool photos, Kat!!

    I learned to photograph fireworks WAY back in the film era. I would set my camera on 'B', trip the shutter while I had the front of my camera cover over the lens, and I would carefully remove the cover to expose the film and capture the fireworks. This was particularly useful for double exposures to get more than one explosion in the frame (remember, this was film ... double images are a cinch to do now with post-processing software.) I have one image that I am really proud of, with the Heidelberg Castle during the summer illumination with fireworks. I wonder where I put that?

  4. I adore the fireworks images Kat. Who says they have to be "right" anyway? These are terrific. I stayed home and Joe and the kiddos went to see the fireworks on the river.

  5. Great fireworks pictures! Our show was great too, so sparkly and pretty ...

  6. Ooooh, aaaah is right! these images are amazing, Kat! I'm going back for a second look!

  7. I think you did a tremendous job getting these photos. It's all Greek to me so I'll just sit back and admire your "electrifying" pictures!

    We had someone across our bay that must have bought out a fireworks shop. His display was larger and longer than the one the lake puts on every year. The 4th always brings out the kid in me!



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