Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July

We spent a quiet Fourth of July in Bellingham this year, really just puttering around the house. Amazingly, the weather was beautiful all day (usually, it rains at least some time during the day, and then summer starts on July 5th). We even went to the pool for a while and then went to an early Bellingham Bells baseball game at Joe Martin Stadium.

But what would the 4th of July be without fireworks. It gets dark quite late in Bellingham, so the fireworks display over Bellingham Bay didn't start until 10:30pm. Around 9:30 we drove over to the harbor. Our favorite place to watch the fireworks is from the lawn in front of the Bellweather Hotel. But we've learned from past years not to park in the lots near the hotel. It has sometimes taken us more than an hour to get out of the parking lot. So this year, we parked out off the main road and walked in. (I won't reveal the secret of exactly where we parked.)

The beautiful weather led to a picture-perfect fireworks display. And this year I did things a bit differently when it came to photograhing the fireworks, and I think the results paid off. I used a 28mm lens on my Canon 10D digital SLR, set the camera into completely manual mode, turned off the auto-focus and instead simply set the lens to infinity, set the equivalent film speed to 100 ISO, and set the shutter to f/11. Then I shot exposures ranging from 2 to 5 seconds. The camera was on a tripod, of course, and I used a cable release.

I think the results speak for themselves. Out of about 100 frames, I got around 30 really good shots. These are two of my favorites.

There are more on my Flickr site.

By the way, the parking worked out perfectly. Rather than sitting in traffic for an hour, we were back at the house (and I was uploading photos) less than 30 minutes after the end of the fireworks display.

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