Today is a nation’s birthday. As a Brit living in the US, I often get asked about how I feel about Independence Day. I point out that, if Brits got upset about the independence day of every nation that we once controlled, we would hardly ever get out of bed. I don’t mind things that happened over 200 years ago. I do like having a day off though! I plan on enjoying it and I hope you do too – wherever you may be!
Chicago has traditionally held a pretty impressive fireworks display to celebrate the 4th of July. Since I have lived here, the fireworks have been let off a day early on the 3rd. While I have never bothered to find out why, I have always assumed it was because they wanted a ton of people to come and see them and this they could do and still see their own local town displays on the 4th. I guess it worked because up to 2 million people would show up to watch.
Last year, with the city feeling a bit hard up for cash, they did away with the big display and had three smaller displays spread out along the lakefront. This year, no display at all. I guess it isn’t the cost of the display that is the issue. The cost of dealing with 2 million people is a little bit more of an issue!
All is not lost, though. Navy Pier holds firework displays every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer so one more is not a big deal for them. Consequently, we took a stroll out to the lake to watch the display. It was a nice show. Not a stunning display like some I have seen but I’m not complaining. It still had a lot of people showing up to watch but nothing like the normal event. It was on the 4th as well.
I like taking pictures of fireworks but I have found I like the shots a lot more if there is some context to them. I am not a big fan of shots that just have the explosion filling the frame. With a display out over the lake, my options were relatively limited. The big Chicago displays are over the harbor and, if you watch from the planetarium, you have the skyline as part of the shot. That certainly is worthwhile.
I don’t put a lot of effort in to the shots. I set up the camera as I want the frame to be making some guesses about how big the larger blooms will be. Then I hold the cable release and have fun watching the display. I can trigger the shots (bulb mode) as I think looks good without distracting myself from having fun enjoying the show. Sometimes they are better than others but anything is just a nice side benefit from a good display.