Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 Independence Day Fireworks Celebration

Fireworks and the pedestrian bridge over Tempe Town Lake.

Tempe Town Lake was the location for my fireworks photography again this year. I decided to try another spot on the lake though. Right away, I broke the first rule on everybody's list of how best to shoot fireworks: Show up early. I had a nice Mexican food dinner at a nearby restaurant that took a little longer than planned. As a result, I practically ran to the spot I hoped to shoot from. The newly constructed pedestrian bridge over the west side of the lake seemed like a good spot. 

As I was hurrying to my spot, the fireworks started going off behind me. I got to the bridge and frantically scrambled to set up. I had already set up the camera at home before I left which was the smartest thing I did all night. 

Almost immediately, private security guards working the bridge were insisting everyone keep moving and stopping was not allowed. This was going to be interesting... Almost no one was listening though. The people that did listen would shuffle a few feet and stop. I did the same as they approached just to keep them happy. After a while, the guards gave up in disgust, but were not very happy about being ignored. There was a lot of grumbling going on from both the guards and all the people that walked by.

Straight out of the camera. The fireworks did not disappoint at Tempe Town Lake again this year. And what was supposed to be a very windy night, was not that bad. A little breeze was a big help to moderate a fairly warm evening in the desert.

A 3-frame composite of the fireworks.

All in all, things worked out pretty good. I could have been closer to the action and the bridge was not the most stable platform to shoot from. There was a bit of bounce as people walked past behind me, but it didn't really show in the photos. Thankfully.

I doubt I'll shoot on this exact spot again next year though. The vantage point was okay. I liked the long reflections of the fireworks on the lake, but I may choose an entirely different venue next year. The crowds in Tempe are very large and a bit much. Last year it was a wall-to-wall, zombie slow shuffle back to the light rail line and the 45-minute trip home. This year I spent an hour sipping a beer near the train station waiting for the crowds to thin out and was the best strategy yet.

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© 2013 G. Reid Helms / Arizona Panorama
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