Yankee Doodle Days! July 24, 2011Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Politics and Society.
Tags: Charlemont, fireworks, Yankee Doodle Days
Hoo-wee, we’re gonna go to the fair!
Actually, it’s my town’s little “signature event,” a long weekend of simple pleasures and entirely believable spectacles which might not exactly take your breath away, but will certainly keep the kids occupied for a few of those summer vacation hours. We’re talking ox pulls, a (semi-) trained pig act, a demolition derby (!) and lots of fried dough.
Here’s a little carrousel full of Baby-Bumpkins to give you that back-of-a-pickup scale:
This ride came complete with the cutest little Carnie in my limited experience, a Daisy-Duke sportin’ vision who challenged my childhood memories to a duel and won hands down.
And there were fireworks on Friday night, the real reason I’m doing this post, which is a far cry from doing justice to the townspeople who came together to make this thing happen. But hey, I’m visual, fireworks are visual, you get the connection.
So anyway, I worked my way across the fairgrounds, over/under a few fences, bullshitted a cop or two, and found myself talking to the Pyro-In-Chief, a nice guy by the name of Bill, who cleared me to set up my camera near the control panel, provided I didn’t mind wearing ear protection and a hard-hat. I said, “Yeah, we got that,” and scurried back to my car to get suited up. Apparently, four inch balls of flaming God-knows-what are known to fall back onto the launch area, and being crazy doesn’t render these folks fools.
Said control panel:
I fielded a few questions like, “Ever done this before?” and responded with a dope-in-the-headlights look (which I failed to document) which roughly translates as “Duh.” So Mrs. Bill (Lynn, I believe) clued me as to what had worked for her – high film speed ( in my case, ISO) and long exposures. I dialed it in and donned a hard-hat. I subsequently heard different recipes for success on the Tubes, and will explore them.
Then, “BOOM!” and we were off! I clicked away, missing my range but still getting a piece (hey, you try focusing on a moving object which isn’t there yet!) I liked the odd solidity of the fragment I caught enough to include it here:
It looks like a solid thing dangling on a string, doubtless a result of the time-chunk I captured with this bulb exposure.
I stayed with the “bulb” setting for the shoot, trying to get both launches and explosions in the same shot. The results were mixed; I’ll let you be the judges of what worked and what didn’t.
An abstract, as I homed in on the action:
Another, getting my range:
…and a short series capturing both the origin and the destination of these brilliantly burnt offerings:
That’s my favorite of the bunch, primarily because the colors broke the heavily-red pattern of its predecessors.
So there’s a first effort at photographing fireworks, the distinction being that it’s not nature and it’s not standing still while I spend twenty minutes setting up each shot. I’ve a ways to go on this arc of my learning curve, so bear with me while I think out loud here.