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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Today At The Side of the Road ...

This year, I planned for the 4th. Every year, I want to take photos of the fireworks ... you know, the perfect pics that appear in newspapers and magazines. So I bought new batteries for my Canon digital camera, refreshed my memory by looking in the instruction manuals about the camera's "fireworks" setting, and even read a few online articles about capturing great images of the fiery little "critters."

So I packed a few sodas and pretzels and went on search of the perfect spot. In my suburb, the fireworks are launched from a soccer, softball, and rugby center ... the crowds are insane. So I found a country road about a mile behind the sports fields and parked alongside. I even brought a camp lantern to set on the hood of my car to avoid getting hit in the middle of nowhere. Didn't need it, though ... there were about 10 other cars right there sharing my "photo set." And most of them were better prepared with camp chairs and bug spray ... I could smell it. One couple even had a little propane grill going toasting marshmellows.

So at 10 p.m. sharp, the show began ... and my "fireworks" setting fizzled out like a wet match. Aperture this ... shutter speed that ... the camera had a horrible lag time, so I had to just click and pray. I took 110 frames and got about 13 "okay" pictures ... really abstract images of fireworks. But they're still pretty cool!

But the sad part of this national holiday was how it drove home the point of our flailing economy. For a small town, this area's fireworks display is usually top notch. It lasts about half and hour, but the explosions draw plenty of "oohs" and "aahs," and the finale ... usually about 2 full minutes of non-stop sky-splitting color ... is nothing short of spectacular. This year's show only lasted 22 minutes and I didn't even know there was a finale ... I only realized it was over when I saw traffic leaving the sports center and some of the cars near me started up to leave. Bummer!!

POINT OF RANT: Like the lyrics say, "money changes everything!"

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