When most people think of South Florida their minds immediately gravitate towards flashing images of saturated turquoise waters, breeze swept palm trees, and an unmatched night life full of Latin flavor. So I imagine that when people think of July 4th in South Florida, that the idea of watching colorful explosions reflect onto rippled salty water seems even more like paradise.
However, what most people don’t think about is the crowds..and dare I mention the lack of parking, or grossly inflated parking fees for local lots or garages. I’ve done the whole “beach thing” and as a native– I stay as far away as possible when the 4th of July rolls around. Instead, I take a more relaxed approach because just about all surrounding cities do their own display to celebrate our independence and honor our military heroes who paved the way for this reason to party (and a day off from work for us office dwellers). As inviting as the over-the-ocean, feet in the sand, beach night party sounds, the PARKING NIGHTMARE, and funneling hoards of people by the thousands isn’t worth the trouble, but everyone should do it at least once.
For the past 7 years my Husband and I have attended the display in Tamarac, Florida. A suburb of Fort Lauderdale, filled with mainly elderly folk and friendly neighbors. We always sit in the same spot, with parking in close proximity, away from the festival and the crowds. We set up shop in front of a canal (it’s no ocean but the reflections are just as cool), which has been built up for the better in more recent years and grab the greatest seats in the house for the night-time spectacle. I was happy that we didn’t get rained out for the third year in a row, (way to go weather!) and couldn’t of asked for a better night.
Despite having a slight tripod malfunction about mid-way through the show, I still got some great shots. My only problem with shooting from the same spot year after year is needing to raise my bar for the sake of being interesting but since these shots are mainly to capture the memory, vs. create for art, I don’t mind so much– next year I think I want to head out to Washington DC for the National Mall display, I love that city so much and any excuse to travel there is good enough for me.
A few words: converting firework photos to black & white is my new favorite thing. I tried this with a few 2 years ago on a whim, and just fell in love with the elegant contrasty look. I decided to go that route with many of them this year. That tripod malfunction? It resulted in me taking more shots in portrait position that horizontal because of a few screws that were loose. *roar*