2016 4th of July

Posted on July 7, 2016


A year is too long between friends

As always, I came home for the 4th. And as always we start the festivities by going to our old neighbors’ house to shoot the cannon and have a cook out. Sandy, the cannon owner, cast a bunch of mortars in his uncle’s foundry when he was in high school. He used to shoot them off in the orchard behind the house, sold my dad one, and things “took off” from there. You can send a golf ball a quarter mile with a shot of pistol powder. If you choose not to have a projectile, you can pack it with moist newspaper to get a nice window-rattling “whoomp!” We used to put it on the end of the driveway, at the edge of the road so we didn’t have to sweep it all up. Then one triple-digit night my dad put an inadvertently long fuse on it, so that the explosion was timed right when the local police car went by, 6′ away windows down…Well, suffice it to say, we get along much better with the town now that we went pro.


I was going to shoot the show, but we had too many shooters so at the last moment I gave up my spot and grabbed my camera. The Class C stuff is not as much fun as the Class B anyway (shells up to 6″), that stuff nobody ever turns down a spot to shoot and I don’t mind pulling a little seniority. Every year after the fireworks I read articles on how to photograph them in more unique ways, every year I forget to brush up. This year I tried something called “aperture blurring” which doesn’t exist, it should be focus blurring.  Which is good because aperture blurring doesn’t work and is hard to do. Anyway, next year I promise I’ll get some practice in. These things are not so easy on DSLRs. Like my camera won’t fire at all if I’m touching the lens.  I did find out that if the camera is in motor drive, that overrides the exposure setting so that is one thing to tuck away.

I finally figured out how to take the cannon shots: set it on motor drive, push the trigger halfway, and when the cannon goes off and the camera jumps in your hand (or you jump and the camera remains still), perfectly timed shot! There is a hilarious video where my nephew who was filming it dropped his iPhone on ignition.

For those who care, here is a video of the show: https://youtu.be/iXPPqbE4D-U?t=32

At any rate we blew some stuff up, we saw some old friends, and sometimes, you can go home again.

Posted in: Photography