Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Birthday USA!

Wonderful 4th of July, time at the lake with family!  
Son & guitar on the dock, waiting for the sun to set
It was especially nice to pull up a folding chair next to my son on the dock as the sun set, waiting for the fireworks. He played his guitar for a while, and then we both took out our Nikon DSLRs in anticipation of fireworks.
Imperfect focus.  Sorry!
Waiting for fireworks
The 'camp'  - view from the dock
  There was no 'advertised' show on our little lake.  We could have traveled a few miles to see 'big' firework displays in several nearby locations, and then could have spent hours in traffic trying to get out when the fireworks were over.

Not a fan of traffic, I preferred this, and there were actually two locations on our lake where there were large lovely fireworks displays, and some smaller displays, all viewed from the comfort of our very own dock.  And a boat on the lake started the evening by sending up lanterns floating in the sky.  

 On the 5th, we played all day in the lake.  Ahhh...
My son doing his swimmer's dive

By the way, I am really clueless about the best way to photograph fireworks, and it shows.  My firework photos don't seem to look like usual firework photos.  If you know optimum camera settings for this, please tell me!
I started with the camera on a little tripod on a little table, using the live view screen instead of the viewfinder.  I was very unsuccessful this way, because I was struggling to figure out settings.  Eventually, I propped the leg of the mini tripod into my belly, and used the viewfinder instead.  I shot exposures at every aperture imaginable, and used shutter speeds from fractions of a second to several seconds.  I had to mostly use manual focus, because auto-focus couldn't find something to focus on.  (Of course, it was dark, so neither could I.  So, while I'm usually a stickler about focus, these are imperfect.  Sorry.)  The results were unexpected every time,and I could not find any rhyme or reason to why they were so different photo-to-photo.  I have done some cropping here and there, but not much other editing.  In many photos, if you look closely, you can see the tree to my right, the skyline, and even some people on the neighboring dock.  Some of the images look like nebula or palm trees or water droplets to me, and others - well - I just have lost all perspective at this point.  I'd love your opinions  Don't be afraid to say what you think please!  And again, any night photo advice... 


  1. What a beautiful spot! Sounds like you had a perfect day, and fireworks are always inspiring :)Elizabeth

  2. How idyllic Phyl! What a fantastic way to celebrate the 4th! Thanks for sharing.

  3. From one who spent an hour getting home at a snail's pace in traffic after the fireworks (usually takes 20 minutes) I can definitely appreciate watching the displays from your own home!!! Sounds like a great week-end!

  4. Family, fireworks and the lake. Sounds heavenly!