It’s not midnight here yet, but getting close, so I can still wish everyone a happy July 4th. As I sat outside, watching the neighbors explode giant (illegal in Wichita) mortar shell type fireworks over my house, suddenly I thought I should run in here and do a blog post. In the interests of full disclosure, it should be noted that all these fireworks photos were taken at the Wichita Riverfest, which is not in July. The ones with the bridge and Keeper of the Plains statue are from May 2007, and the other one from May 2009. Still, they seemed appropriate, and a good subject to try posting a gallery instead of a single image.
Alright, back outside to man the hose!
Happy Independence Day to all you fellow Americans, and best wishes to the world. Hopefully we here at the Warped Prism will avoid last years little fireworks induced fire, caused by some excessive pyrotechnics from the neighbors. It’s quiet so far, but as they say…the day ain’t over yet!”
This is my second place image in the fireworks category at the Wichita Riverfest Photo Contest. Photographing the fireworks this year was made more difficult because they changed the launch site from previous years, and specifics were not publicized. They even added a couple of different launch sites to the mix, there were actually fireworks going off about 40 yards to my right here, but they were way too close to shoot. As you can probably imagine, it is very helpful to know exactly where they are being launched from ahead of time so you can work out a suitable camera location in order to include a pleasing foreground.
I got pretty lucky considering, and found a spot on a steep hill, halfway into a flower bed on the riverbank from which to shoot this image. We do what we must.
As regular readers will know, we had a brush fire, well I guess a “fence/brush fire” on Saturday caused by fireworks. Sunday night was relatively calm, but Monday night, the fourth, was crazy. It seems every year I see more and more big fireworks inside the city of Wichita. Since none of them were going off right next door this time, I was able to actually enjoy it. When I saw the moon setting in the west with some fireworks in front of it, the light bulb over my head went off and I ran inside for the Nikon D700 and tripod.
The illicit neighborhood fireworks launchers were much less reliable than a professional show, so it was a hit and miss situation. By the time the folks to the west got their act together, the moon had gone behind the trees, so I only got a couple of keepers there. There were other shenanigans in the general area and I had a grand time running around trying to get something good. Happy fifth of July to everybody who survived the fireworks this year.
As a technical note, this little informal fireworks photo session allowed me to see first hand the mind boggling excellence of Lightroom 3’s new and improved noise reduction capability. Really amazing.
The Warped Prism is a photo blog, but I have no great photos for this post. Instead, a little story about a bit of excitement we had last night. It has been extremely hot and dry in south central Kansas, so fire danger is high. My wife has in the past thought me a little nutty for being so worried about fireworks in the neighborhood starting a fire. (In the past I have gone as far as standing outside with the hose, spraying down the roof.) Don’t get me wrong. I like fireworks. In fact, for several years my family would put on quite a show down at Table Rock Lake in Missouri. My neighbors did not take the precautions we did (apparently).
Around 11:45pm I heard another barrage of fireworks. From my own fireworks days, it sounded to me like a big brick of “Saturn Rockets” (or “Saturn Missles – I can never remember). I was thinking, that’s kind of crazy for a residential neighborhood, those things fly all over. Anyhow, a couple minutes later I thought I would take a peek out back just in case. Sure enough, there was a nice blaze going along the back wire fence, right under the main wooden power pole. As the wife called 911, I tried to reach the fire (unsuccessfully) with my garden hose. Fortunately the fire department (and police) showed up soon after and put it out. The actual fire was over on the far side of the back wire fence, it burned the back neighbors brush pile (not the “fireworks neighbors”) and a section of adjacent wood fence.
I want everyone to know that as I was fumbling to attach a section of hose, in the dark, I was thinking….” I wish I had a camera”. “Could I run in the house to grab the camera?” But there was a raging fire so I did not go in for the camera. No photos exist of the actual fire. Pretty sad. I could have easily grabbed my little Canon at least before running out the back door. I flunked this real world test in photojournalism!
All I have to offer is the following, after the fire itself was out.
On the remote chance someone from the Wichita Police or Fire Department is reading this, you have my sincere thanks. The response time was amazingly quick, and you guys (and ladies) were total pros.
I hope tonight is a little less exciting, I will have my hose ready, and perhaps a camera in my pocket.