Another great 4th of July is now in the books. My wife and I were again lucky enough to watch the Chicago fireworks over Navy Pier from a high rise on Lake Shore Drive. It's a large building of condominiums with a private deck on the 35th floor - a perfect place to watch the show. I took a few exposures during magic hour to get everything set, that way all I had to worry about was exposure time. I found ISO 100 was too low, so I quickly bumped it to 400 at f/10, shooting bursts between 5 and 10 seconds. This was very early in the show, because the smoke quickly got overwhelming and headed straight towards us.

July 4th - Fireworks over Navy Pier7s, f/10, ISO400

After the Navy Pier fireworks were over we were treated to an amazing view out west - we got to see all the west side and suburban fireworks, dozens of them all going off at once, from horizon to horizon. I can only imagine what the view would have been like from an airplane or helicopter.

July 4th - Looking west10s, f/10, ISO400

The next day we drove down to Indiana for a relaxing weekend with the family. After a day at the beach and lots of grilled food, we pulled out the fireworks for a personal show in the back yard. It was tricky as I wasn't sure exactly where they would go off, or how long they would go for, so I was again in Bulb mode, essentially guessing my exposures each time. A few rain drops on the lens added some fun distortion to some of the photos, and I think this was my favorite.

July 5th - Fireworks at home4.8s, f/5.6, ISO1000

After the large ones were shot off it was time for some roman candles and a little fun for the kids. Here is a prime example of almost exactly what I had in my mind working out as planned...with a lot of hard work. When I saw the first one lit I knew I wanted one of the kids faces light up by the firework from coming out of their hand, problem was it was almost pitch black so I had to manually focus while they were lighting the first few off. Once I locked in focus I had to time a 1/30th second shot right after the sparks shot out and briefly light the scene. It took quite a few attempts but I finally captured this.

July 5th - Roman Candle1/30th, f/22, ISO6400

I absolutely love this photo, but the feeling of showing her parents that shot was even better. That's what I love about candid portraiture, capturing that special moment that takes someones breath away when they see it. We had quite a few moments like that this weekend, but this one still makes me smile every time I see it. Happy 4th of July everyone.