July 4, 2009 - Fireworks
I didn't really think that photos of fireworks would turn out as well as these have. Meg and I had a pleasant afternoon and dinner with the Petersen's before heading back to St. Charles for the fireworks display. I remembered to bring the camera, tripod, and 28-135mm lens, but we didn't throw any folding chairs in the trunk when we left.

The morning and afternoon had been drizzly, so we were not expecting the fireworks display to take place on the Fourth. We kind of expected a one day or one week delay. Late in the afternoon at the last possible moment though, the clouds parted and the sun came shining through.

We parked near St. Pat's downtown and walked over the bridge to Potawatamie Park. The first two photos are off the bridge. I set up the tripod on the blacktop in front of the boats while Meg sat on the curb. We couldn't get closer because quite a crowd had already formed at 8:45 PM even though the show didn't start until 9:30 PM. The second two photos are reasonably long exposure, right at dusk.

As it got dark, I found that the the shutter wouldn't click... disaster!... then realized that it couldn't get a focal lock in the dark. I put the lens into Manual focus mode and set it for nearly infinity. I had to run Manual settings on the camera as well, in order to get the longer exposures. I experimented with different exposure times, so these are anywhere from about 0.5 seconds to 1.5 seconds. Obviously the longer exposures produced the long light strings.

My biggest problem was that I only took a 2 Gigabyte card and ran out of room at the very end. I was able to dump about a half dozen frames to make a little room though.

There were so many that my post-processing was really minimal. I kicked up the saturation a little to enhance the colors slightly, but that was about it. I'm rather surprised at how spectacular some of these turned out!