Although I see fireworks each July 4, I have usually been inhibited from photographing them by the fact that I was playing violin on stage for at least the beginning of the bursts. This year the town of Cary, NC, summer home of the North Carolina Symphony, planned the thunderous display to follow the conclusion of the NCS concert at Koka Booth Amphitheater. I tried to take advantage of that by having my photo gear handy. I packed up my instrument quickly, and had the camera on tripod not too long after the fireworks began. I had preset the shutter to bulb, rather than a fixed shutter speed, so I could time the opening and closing according to what I saw happening.
My goal was to get a few photos a little out of the ordinary. I tried to get some reflections in the lake, to show the flames and smoke of rocket launches, and time the trails to create a variety of shapes and textures.
My shots were done from a backstage area where the public is not permitted. When the light show was almost over, I noticed that a few special guests were seated just behind where I had been. I saw an opportunity for a spectator shot, and quickly planted the tripod and composed my image. I guessed at an exposure that I thought would do justice to the people's profiles and outlines, then hoped that they wouldn't move too much during the exposure. This is what I got.