July 4th Fireworks in Idaho Springs

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

Tonight I tried a little light painting with an LED flashlight during fireworks. I hadn’t shot fireworks in Idaho Springs before so it was a complete crap shoot. I made a couple of frames I liked, one of which is above. Not a complete failure. And now finally, I am off work.

Celebrating Independence By Blowing Up a Small Piece of It

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

Shooting fireworks seems to be a staple of small town photojournalism. Every year I have to make at least 1 picture of a fireworks display. Believe it or not, shooting fireworks is a difficult task if you want to come up with something different every year. In our coverage area there are at least 3 opportunities to do so every July 4th. This year I chose to shoot the Georgetown 4th of July fireworks display. If you are unfamiliar with Georgetown, it’s a town of about 1000 full time residents at 8500 feet in elevation. They shoot the fireworks off Guanella pass over the town at dusk. I thought that it would be a great idea to find a high over head position to shoot from to include the town along with the mountains and fireworks. I spent a good amount of time scouting locations (in between rain, hail and lightning) and finally decided on a position near I-70 overlooking the town.

As soon as the first shot went off I knew that I probably made a mistake in choosing my position.  It was pretty far away from the fireworks and I had more town than fireworks in the shot. Oh well, live and learn. I still made a few OK images but I was disappointed in what I had thought was going to be a great image. That’s the best part of photojournalism: taking chances to come up with something different. I can pretty much guarantee that no one else had the same images I did.  Maybe that’s for good reason. Next year I will not shoot from that position. I learned something this year and that’s the part of the job that keeps me going.