Tag Archives: Fourth of July

Ooooooh! Aaaaaaah!!

Love the multicolored ones!

Love the multicolored ones!

Last night our master-planned community showcased its Fourth of July best with its annual fireworks show.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

The Mister, our younger son, and I decided to watch from the bleachers at our nearby middle school with the kid’s pals, Jared and Ricky, and Ricky’s parents, Julie and Carlos (our trivia aces).

Glad I could capture all the pretty bursts

Lots of pretty bursts

I didn’t take long to consider my photographic options for a change. For past fireworks displays I’ve tried serious, point-and-shoot lazy, and embarrassingly sloppy.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

This time I opted for my Nikon D700 and beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens. The fireworks were being blasted from about a half mile away, so I needed some focal length. I also eschewed a tripod totally due to laziness. So when my arms got tired from holding the heavy combo, I only had myself to blame (darn it!).

It’s the palm tree effect!

It’s the palm tree effect!

Due to some kind of glitch, the colorful show kept starting and stopping over a 25-minute time span, confusing the crowd. That made it hard to get the sort of rhythm you need to hopefully capture a half-dozen decent pix.

Fortunately, I managed to snap about a dozen photos that I thought best represented what we saw. Even though I appreciate the crisp, clear, multiburst shots, I must admit that one favorite stood out.


Electricity is in the air.

It looks like a science experiment gone awry! This is what happens when the camera’s shutter speed is way too slooooow.

It’s a great reminder of last night’s funky, fun fireworks extravaganza.

Flubbing the Photo Fourth

A storage company’s huge American flag adds to the colorful display.

Our master-planned community puts on a great fireworks show for the Fourth of July. Last night was no exception.

A waaaay-too-slow shutter speed made for this odd-looking effect.

Unfortunately, my photo skills weren’t up to the task of properly documenting that brilliance. Due to standing too far away and a too-slow shutter speed, I had more errors than hits. By a huge percentage.

But I still loved watching the rockets’ red blare, and the “bombs” bursting in air!

Enjoy the Fourth!

Fireworks 2009 using my Nikon D300

Happy Fourth of July!

Flowers in the sky!

Have fun and please stay safe!!

Getting Back in the Groove After a Non-Vacation

Yep, it's still full!

See this red suitcase? Right now it’s sitting in our foyer waiting for someone to do something with it.

Know what’s in it? It’s stuffed with dirty laundry from our recent trip that was in no way, shape, or form a vacation for any of us. We just got back yesterday after our usual airport hassles (seems like we always have an airport kick-me sign on us), and I felt exhausted all day.

A trio of flags fly in our community.

So exhausted, in fact, that the only true Fourth of July photos that I snapped were taken with my iPhone 4.

Fireworks over our community as seen through my iPhone 4

How lazy can a photographer be?!?

Fireworks 2009 using my Nikon D300

Remember last year’s fireworks photos?

Yet another mediocre iPhone fireworks photo

To say that this year’s pix pale in comparison is an understatement.

But that’s what happens when you’ve been out of town for four days and have to contemplate a pile of laundry. Let’s hope by the end of today that the red suitcase has been emptied and put away with clean clothes ready and waiting for all.

Then it’s just a matter of catching up with everything else that’s been neglected!

Looking Back at 2009, Part II

Snack time! (July 14th blog post from Seattle)

Happy one-year blogiversary! It’s hard to type while there are streamers and confetti flying all over my home office, but I’ll try my best!

Today I’m continuing to look back at my 2009 blog entries. Yesterday’s post took care of the first six months. Now let’s check out some of my favorite posts and pix from July through December.


"Palm trees" swaying in the air

I had fun taking photos on the fourth of July in our community: Fabulous Photo Fourth!

Purple hydrangeas on Bainbridge Island

Flower power was in full bloom while we vacationed in Seattle: Flower Fix.


The happy #2 son during a good round.

My #2 son competed in the disc golf world championships in Kansas City: Lessons Learned at the Disc Golf World Championships.

The #2 son and his good friend Marcus talk.

The Mister and I actually managed to embarrass our 14-year-old #2 son: Partying With the Dinosaurs—A Night at the Museum.


"You looking at me?"

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed shooting with my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens until I used it at a disc golf tournament: Visiting With an Old Friend.

Who can resist #1’s baby blues?

A somewhat-heavy envelope addressed to my #1 son left me feeling suddenly blindsided and teary-eyed: A Large Envelope Makes Me Sad.

Our team celebrates a good block.

I shot a lot of high school sports photography this month, from cross-country (documenting my #2 son) to volleyball to football. The toughest to shoot? Volleyball! Photo Friday: Meeting the High ISO Challenge.


Christin, Cameron, and Grace take their bows at the end of the play.

Readers’ eyes probably were rolling, as I discussed using exposure compensation when shooting a high school play: The Non-Delightful Light Battle; Warning: Eyes May Glaze Over (what a long title!).

The #2 son shows off his team and seventh-place medals.

The #2 son’s high school cross-country team won its first freshman title: We Are the Champions, My Friend!


Victor tries to outjump the defender for a potential winning touchdown pass.

My sons’ high school football team almost won its first game amid the distractions of Homecoming: The Many Facets of a High School Homecoming Football Game (yet another long title!).

There's my boy!

This was the first of a three-day series about giving thanks. Here I was very thankful that my #1 son has a part-time job at the public library: Giving Thanks, Part 1.


Snow in my backyard.

Holy cow! It snowed here in the Houston area; that’s a rare occurrence (it was only the third time my sons had seen the white stuff): Let It Snow . . . For Real!

Both sons smile at the halfway point of Chanukah.

Chanukah lasts eight nights, and I was able to squeeze five blog posts out of the holiday! This one was the second of those five: At the Halfway Mark.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this sentimental journey as much as I have. I really had fun blogging in 2009, and I’m looking forward to even more random snippets and apertures in 2010!

Fabulous Photo Fourth!


What can be better than watching fireworks on the Fourth of July? In our master-planned community, we’ve enjoyed going to our sports complex to view the rockets bursting in air almost every year, and this year’s show was no different.


Sidebar: Well, it was a little bit different this year. One of the best parts of watching fireworks is seeing the looks on my sons’ faces as they ooh and aaah. However, this time the boys quickly ditched us, and we were on our own to watch with our friend Karen E., whose two sons also had dumped her.


Like most photographers, I’ve taken my share of fireworks pix. Usually, I just wing it, preferring to point either my film SLR (back in the day), digital SLR, or point and shoot camera up to the sky and push the shutter button when I feel the time is right. Definitely a hit-or-miss operation, much more miss than hit.

Flowers in the sky!

Flowers in the sky!

But this time I decided to finally get serious and do a better job at capturing the glory of fireworks. I did online research to determine some guidelines, and then headed to the sports complex with my Nikon D300, Nikon 17-55mm lens, and a tripod. For a change, I set everything on manual: I focused to infinity, set my aperture at f/16 (no bokeh necessary in this situation), and switched the shutter speed to “bulb.” When you use the bulb setting, you push the shutter down and hold it until you think you’ve captured enough of the fireworks burst, and then release. Experts opined that anywhere from one to four seconds should do the trick. For me, three seconds was the sweet spot for getting the best fireworks photos.


The trickiest part was trying to capture both the ground fireworks at the same time as those in the air. It was hard to have both in focus; I only was successful once, but I like the way it turned out.

Fireworks above and below

Fireworks above and below

It helped that it was a clear night. Even the breeze came out to blow the mosquitos away.

"Palm trees" swaying in the air

"Palm trees" swaying in the air

I had read about trying to achieve the “palm tree” effect—getting the rockets’ trails and the bursts in the same photo. Thanks to good timing and luck, I scored big time!

Finale time!

Finale time!

The best part of any fireworks show, of course, is the finale. The patriotic music builds, and the pyrotechnic crew shoots lots of pretty colors into the night sky. Definitely time for the rockets’ red glare . . .

Part of the finale

Part of the finale

. . . and the bombs bursting in air! I had fun looking at the fireworks show through my lens and documenting the event. Can’t wait to try to improve next year on hopefully another fabulous photo Fourth!