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Yankee Doodle Days! July 24, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Politics and Society.
Tags: , ,

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.



1. susan - July 27, 2011

I love your fireworks pictures even more because I understand just what a difficult exercise it can be capturing their shocking beauty. I’ve always thought it strange the Chinese invented fireworks and never thought of using gunpowder for shooting iron balls at each other. It took westerners to come up with that innovation.

2. littlebangtheory - July 27, 2011

I think it’s a Christian thing…


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