Last night I made a little video comparing fireworks and sunsets, posing the musical question, "Which is Better?" Here it is:
Since then, I've been thinking about my memories of past Independence Days. Here are the ones that came to mind:
Awesome fireworks, with shaped displays, on the boardwalk at Seaside Park, NJ with my cousins, circa 1964, while my mom was in the hospital.
Boring fireworks seen from the Suburban Park parking lot with my family, circa 1970.
Fireworks on the beach at Cape Canaveral with my mom, July 4, 1976.
Fireworks at Hi Corbett Field while John collects Tucson Toros autographs, circa 1994. I think I took my mom there one year.
Fireworks at Disneyland, July 4, 2003. Best part was when John took an interesting picture of a kid watching a popcorn cart.
Lots of years in which I tried to photograph distant fireworks that barely clear neighborhood trees, 1998-2018. The one above was a composite from 2006.
A fire-less picnic at Inspiration Rock with John and my dad, 2013.
Photographing A-Mountain fireworks from the car while waiting for my friend, 2017. I actually watched from the convention center once, but mostly we don't bother.
A mediocre sunset at Gates Pass, solo, July 4, 2018.
What I'm realizing is that the memorable part - except maybe Seaside Park - isn't the fireworks at all. It's about where I was, who I was with, and what I was trying to do. I've never managed great fireworks photos, and that's part of it, and also the fact that I find most fireworks pretty boring. But more important has been the human connections. Spending the Bicentennial with my mom. Disneyland with John. Even seeing Spiderman with John this afternoon, and hoping he's started the charcoal for tonight's dinner.
I'm going to post this now, and try to spend some more quality time with John. I hope that whatever you are doing this holiday, it's a) with someone you love, and b) interesting, fun and memorable.