July 4th 2011
Last year I wrote a bit about The Big Bang Boom fireworks show that had been a tradition for me for the past couple of years, well this year it wasn't going to happen so I now present to you the traditional family 4th of July that I have had every year (even after the Big Bang Boom) since I can remember. Perhaps that is where my love of asian culture began, when my parents first drove up to a small fireworks hut and got me a kids sampler, which was a yellow plastic frisby with a black dragon on it that was stuffed with small fireworks and shrink-wrapped all together. I have confirmed with a number of individuals that, though they can't be found now, they did exist at one point in time and were awesome. The highlight of the frisky pack was the pagoda so while the frisky is gone, every year I try to get at elate one pagoda to light off.
They don't make them like they used to.. that is for sure. The past couple years they have been pretty disappointing and this year was no different, it gave a single quarter turn and then popped up with a loud bang. The pagodas of my memory span round and round and each level popped up individually and continued spinning until you reached the top with a small snap.The pagoda left over was worthy of keeping too, well built and only slightly scorched. Ah well, perhaps I need to look for "Delux" pagodas.
Next up were another staple, Hens Laying Eggs! These have never changed, the only difference seems to be how much they move, and how many eggs they lay. It seems that you either get a fast chicken, or more eggs… I don't have all he data in for this one though to support my theory.
Smoke Grenades were represented, these haven't changed at all but when I purchased it I got mammoth smoke and smoke grenade mixed up in my memory banks and it wasn't till I was home that I remembered that what I really wanted was the Mammoth smoke bomb.
Tanks were well represented, I shelled out a little extra to get the premium larger ones which perform like the ones I remember unlike the smaller ones you can get.
The barrage was very satisfying with lots of smoke and sparks.
This little guy really gave those chickens what for!
Colored smoke bombs were purchased as well, the new ones they have been making are a bit harder to throw and not water resistant (probably both by design) like the old ones were but the quality of the smoke color is much better.
Getting started. In past years our shows were about 50/50 ground and sky, but I got really…really tired of doing artillery shells. They used to be expensive ($20 a box) and actually had nice effects but the ones they have now for around $8 that most people get are just loud with minimal "ooh ahhhh" value. If you want really good sky effects you are going to have to buy the nice single fire tubes that describe the effect on the tube with a picture, usually called "Silver Comet 09" or something similar because they are show quality effects scaled down for back yard use. This year I left the sky to my brother and did fountains. I was a bit worried about capturing them because they are a complicated burst, but I was pretty happy with my initial results… so much so that I didn't notice that my camera wasn't level… If I get these printed I will trim and rotate so that it is level, but for a little blog article on the 4th I think I can be forgiven.
I felt really bad about some of these.. a few of the fountains really attracted fireflies to them who met… unfortunate ends.
I did have one or two sky things which were difficult to photograph with the setup I had going, but I liked this one… looks a bit like a Faux I thought.
As I said, I had a few things that shot up into the sky. I had my brother and one of my cousins light this one (at that point you needed a flashlight to see the fuses) so that I could take a picture which I then ran through an HDR process to get this composite.
All in all a pretty good year. Lots of food was had, the dog slept through it all, and we made it home (my parents live 2 hours away) by about 1:30 am. I was able to make it to work in the morning with minimal problems though my hands still smell a bit like gunpowder. I have some video to which I will edit and put up later. Happy 4th everyone! I hope you all made it through with most of your digits!
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