Fireworks – Take 2

Posted on July 13, 2015 in Blog Post, Experimental Photography, Photography



Over the past four days I’ve shot three races including a night race, a 5K color run and a sprint triathlon, taught a private lesson, did a bunch of post-production and other computer work, and managed to squeeze in another chance to shoot fireworks. Productive, but not a lot of sleep.

I was told about the fireworks at the South Shore Follies held at the South Shore Marina on Milwaukee’s lakefront by one of my students. I know this place well, as I’ve done a lot of paintings there in the past. Apparently this event has been going on for over 67 years.

Like most festivals, this included drunk festival-goers, food vendors, a large beer tent, and a stage with a terrible band featuring an obnoxious lead singer. The band forced us to suffer two sets before they would stop, 10 minutes into the planned start time for the fireworks.

The spot I was hoping for was not an option, as the Marina closed doors to even its members for safety. I wanted again, to get a shot of the fireworks and the crowd it illuminated in the same frame. And once again, without the use of a rather large and steady boat, this wasn’t happening. Further, the event organizers had fenced in the park above the festival area, cordoning off a large area of the beach from which they’d be launching the fireworks. That being said, the spot at which I ended up setting up was easily the closest I’ve ever been to a fireworks launch site. The team running the fireworks were the Bartalotta Family, who do many of the shows in Wisconsin throughout the year.

There were a few explosions that I’ve never seen before, including one at the end which was preceded by an incredible blast of heat followed by a blinding white explosion. That was something else. So the show was fantastic, unfortunately, the crowd was annoying. Whether I’m set up to do some photography, or to do some painting on location, it seems that I am a magnet for drunk assholes. I think next year I’m going to scout out locations on the beach South of the venue, something more remote.

In the end I came away with a little over 20 decent shots. The foreground was lacking in these, as almost everyone had their phones out or these stupid blinking glow toys for kids. Blinking wigs. Literally I mean wigs that blinked. I just don’t get it.

Now, some pictures: