Sunday, July 4, 2010

So How Did You Spend the Fourth of July?

We started our Happy Birthday America celebration Saturday evening, watching the City of Benson's fireworks event from our front porch. AND trying out one of the settings on our new little Lumix ZS6 camera.

As we mentioned last time, the Lumix has lots of specialized settings such as Portrait, Scenery, Babies, Pets, Sunset, Food, and so one. One of the settings is Fireworks, and we had to try that. First suggestion with the Fireworks setting is to maintain a distance of at least about 35 feet from the image you want to capture. We were about 5 miles from the city's fireworks, so we qualified.

We set up the tripod on the front porch, got our chairs in place, and poured ourselves a Bailey's with brandy and waited for the 8:30 show to begin. The mayor must have talked a long time to the folks gathered at the city park, so the first shots were fired about 8:45.

I punched the camera button well over 100 times last evening, and we game up with several reasonably good pictures. Came up with even more duds, because it took quite a while for me to develop some sort of idea of timing -- shoot just as the burst begins. Since we were far away from the bursts, I had to do a lot of cropping to make these pictures OK for display.
From 2010 Fireworks from Benson, AZ

From 2010 Fireworks from Benson, AZ

From 2010 Fireworks from Benson, AZ
A few years ago we were in Clear Lake, Iowa, on the Fourth and sat right on the shore of the lake watching the town's fireworks from the opposite shore. We were so close, and I had found out just the right settings for fireworks, got some great shots that evening. Here are a couple.

If you haven't had enough pictures of fireworks, our web album 2010 Fireworks From Benson will show you about 45 more!

Just to try out more capabilities of the camera, we took these pictures. We had recently bought a big jar of Jelly Bellies from Costco, and tried to get an "artsy" picture of them:

Sunday the Fourth, we participated in a park-wide potluck supper. We cheated a little: bought a couple of large containers of macaroni salad at Safeway. Suzy added her own touch to the mix, adding shredded cheese, chopped onion and a couple of other things, then put the new mix into a serving dish and topped it with sliced boiled eggs. What a treat!

Because of the hefty meal at 1:00, we're putting off grilling the baby back ribs until Monday, which, after all is the Federal holiday. We like to spread out our celebrations.

While all this is going on, we are working on plans and preparations for our 50th anniversary celebration at the end of the month. We'll have a potluck dinner at 4:00pm Saturday July 31 (you are all invited, by the way), with some family time in the evening. Sunday August 1 is our actual anniversary, and we'll be in church at 10:00am for a Mass concelebrated by our pastor Father Mike and our lifelong friend Father Ken Krall. Ken and I go back to before first grade. Suzy met him on our honeymoon while Ken was in the seminary in Oregon. We've visited back and forth all the years since.

And that's how we are spending the holiday weekend as part of ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. Well Jerry, your photos with the new camera are totally awesome. Especially that close up of the jelly beans. If we hadn't spent so darn much money on stuff this year, I'd head out and find me one them there new cameras!!

    Happy 4th to you and Suzy!

  2. What an amazing camera!! The pics you took of the fireworks were terrific...lots of good clear lines and color. Like a starburst!
    I like the jelly beans also. Very vivid. Is that lens a Leica Lens?
    We looked at a Lumix a few months ago and I think the salesman said it had a Leica Lens and he just raved about that. I can see why!

    Sounds like you all had a great
    4th of July! We, of course, are camp hosting at FDR State Park and believe it or not it has been a very enjoyable weekend. No major problems. Thank goodness!

    Take care!
    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  3. The jellybean pics were awesome - I love jellybeans! Now that I know there at Costco, I'll have to get some - just to see how my pics turn out of course! Purely for art's sake!

    Suzy's salad looked very tasty - that's a pretty neat trick too, I'll have to remember that for our next potluck.

    Looks like you're getting the hang of your new Lumix pretty well. I keep forgetting to use all the special settings on my Canon.

  4. I'd say the new camera did an excellent job. I looked at your fireworks 2010 album and found it hard to believe you were five miles away. And those jelly beans look good enough to eat!

    I went to Clear Lake, IA, many times when I was growing up in Osage, IA. My family would go there to cool off in the lake after haying in late summer. There was a good bakery in Clear Lake, too. Fun memories!

  5. Your fireworks pics look great, both present & past. Another little trick for fireworks is to keep your shutter open for 20 or 30 seconds or maybe a minute & let the frame fill up with multiple firings. Don't know if your cam has a 'B' setting though. Those Belly Jelly's look good enough to eat for sure. Now, grab that camera, head outside & get us a photo of the twinkle in a roadrunner's eye:))

  6. Just great fireworks shots, both years, but I think the new Lumix is a little sharper, Hope you have a good Monday we are going to enjoy and extra day before Donn goes back to work, Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  7. Great fireworks photos, Jerry. Glad to know that the city of Benson had a celebration. And we loved the Jelly Belly photos, too. Don's ready to find a Costco so he can stock up!

    Happy Independence Day to you both!

  8. OH CRAP!!! I was gonna publish a few of my fireworks pics on today's blog, but after seeing your fabulous photos, mine look like a pre-schooler took them on an old box camera (remember those?)..Our Kodak digital is 5 years old, and the way technology works, that is retirement age in camera years...HMMMM...Maybe I can fenagle Den into a new one...???

    Great Jellybeans too!! and...what time do you want us for your party?? smile...

  9. Loved the Jelly Belly shot!

    We had a wonderful time grilling with our friends and then walked down to watch the fireworks from a safe distance with the babies (theirs and ours).

    See you two at the end of the month!

  10. Great pics! Now I'm mad we didn't get to see any fireworks this year. Boo Hiss!!!



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