Launching Fireworks, Take 2

From 2004 to 2009, we lived in a small town in Wisconsin that had two big fireworks shows each year. The fireworks were launched from a field across the street from our house and we could lay on our backs in our front yard and look up to watch the show! If the wind was blowing the wrong way, though, you’d have to dodge the falling embers. Most times you’d see embers bouncing off the roofs of the houses across the street, and one show it was so bad that we had to send the kids inside and Kate and I spent the whole time dashing this way and that to avoid the embers (but still enjoying the show and the excitement of it all!).

It took until 2008 for me to realize that there was something photographically interesting going on in the middle of that field. The show wasn’t in the sky… it was on the ground! So that year I wandered over and asked if I could photograph them, the crew, launching the fireworks. They were kind enough to oblige and I got some interesting shots from a perimeter they set up for me (maybe 100–200 feet off).

Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to give photographing the launching of fireworks another try. 2009 was a very busy year and then we moved back to San Diego, where I didn’t have a connection with a fireworks operator. This summer I finally made a connection and was able to join a local crew putting on a show at Qualcomm Stadium. The show was only six minutes long, and I had a lot of problems with my camera buffer filling and not being able to take shots when I pressed the trigger, but it was a blast trying! This time I was right up there with the crew, as close as I wanted to be, so the only limitations were me getting the settings dialed in as fast as I could during a quick show, and the camera buffering. I may need to borrow/rent a faster-writing camera or one with two memory cards for next time!

I hope to be able to join them again!

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