I’ve been a photographer for a long time, and on the Fourth of July most years anyone that knows me probably can guess one thing I’m doing that day. Like most citizens of the U.S.A I will be laying out my blanket somewhere to take in an amazing fireworks show. Unlike many Americans I will be lugging around pounds of photography equipment in the hopes to capture that one shot that truly say America.
So often I wonder if my quest for photography genius is an annoyance to the friends and family members that come with me to these Fourth of July events. I’m always holding up the group, or just getting lost in the crowd. How many texts do I get saying “where are you?” or “when are you coming back?”? A lot!!
The Fourth of July is a day for family and friends, and of course a day to celebrate the birth of our nation. For a photographer it is also a day filled with the struggle to find a balance between the solitary endeavor of photography with the desire to be with your family and friends. I have to admit I have still not found this balance.
Inevitably as the fireworks start I am some forty yards away from my family and friends, as the best position for the perfect shot is never the most comfortable spot. The best vantage point is most often uncomfortable and crowded with strangers. If my family and friends are within eyeshot I occasionally look over at them and watch to see the wonderment in their eyes as the display takes shape.
I will tell you that in all these years photographing Fourth of July fireworks I’m not sure I ever got to just enjoy them. Capturing images can be thrilling in the moment when you just know you caught something special; most often the thrill comes much later when you have downloaded your images to discover you captured something pretty special. I rarely just get to sit back and enjoy the show.
I’ve never really been a fan of videography, but last year I saw something that was truly amazing. I saw a video of drones flying through fireworks on the Fourth of July. It was spectacular!! It made me wish there was a way to somehow be inside the fireworks with my DSLR, but I guess that would probably be a bit dangerous. Shots from the ground can be amazing, but photographs from inside the fireworks would be uniquely refreshing.
If you are someone that is into videography, and you want to fly your GoPro mounted Drone into fireworks this Fourth of July, you should probably reconsider. Although it has been done in the past, doing so could send you to jail. In many part of the nation this is illegal, and with the FAA’s regulations on flying drones even if it was legal you would most likely be violating these regulations given the conditions firework displays are done in. With that said, if you don’t mind jail the footage could be worth it to you.
I have to be clear that I absolutely love doing what I do, and although this activity might take away some aspects of the Fourth of July for me the rewards later on are well worth it. So wish me luck this year, and I hope you all have a fun enjoyable Fourth of July!