Sweet freedom

By Catherine Keefe

“Freedom: to walk free and own no superior…”
           Walt Whitman

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Today’s a perfect day to play with Walt Whitman’s poetry. The Poetry Foundation says:

Walt Whitman is America’s world poet—a latter-day successor to Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. In Leaves of Grass (1855), he celebrated democracy, nature, love, and friendship.

Whitman’s legacy is as a poet of the people and his poetry reveals optimism in the great democratic experiment that is America, one that I think needs a little shaking up these days.

Here’s one Walt Whitman original.

America
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.
And my new poem: 

keefe-4

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May your day be spent in the company of those who make you feel most free.
May your freedom be spent sweetly.

Happy 4th,
~Catherine

 

 

Fireworks!

fireworks 2There is that makes a celebration grander than fireworks! Watching the flare ascending and then bursting with colors filling the sky with light gets my spirits soaring as high as those fireworks.

fireworks 4July 4th marks our country’s 237th birthday and it’s the perfect occasion to take in a fireworks show. I have the opportunity to be on the edge of the continent, in a bay and when the weather is nice, I can see many displays from a seat at the local beach.

fireworksWhen one show ends you simply sit back and wait for the next one to begin.

fireworks 5Sometimes the down time is filled with people’s own shows.

fireworks 1With so much going on, it’s the perfect opportunity to capture the revelry.

Here are some tips for you to capture your experience:

First you need a camera with manual mode. To minimize camera shake, a tripod and a remote release are recommended. Set your camera to a low ISO setting of 100-200. Fireworks are bright and an f-stop in the mid range of f/9-f/16 lets enough light in to allow the colors to stay true and not get washed out. Set your shutter to bulb (B on Canon), this setting will keep the shutter open as long as you hold down the shutter button.  Make sure your lens is on manual focus, and focus to infinity or wait until the fireworks begin and focus on them. A medium  telephoto zoom lens works well, I use 24-105mm. Now position yourself so you will have an unobstructed view and you are ready to shoot. Listen for the launch and release the shutter and hold open for anywhere from 2-30 seconds. The longer you hold it open the more bursts you will capture.

fireworks 3Some locations add music and the fireworks exploding to beats in the songs makes for an especially thrilling experience.

fireworks 6Happy Independence Day and hope you can get to a fireworks show to celebrate, and stay until the grand finale!

~ Susan

Stars and Stripes and Fireworks!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, here in the United States. A fireworks display is one of the traditional ways we celebrate. The sight of the colorful bursts of light illuminating the night sky never ceases to raise my spirits and inspire awe. So, I have taken to capturing the shows with my camera. I have fun trying to capture the many bursts. Last year, I was lucky to be home on the Fourth of July and it wasn’t foggy! I was able to catch the fireworks show off the local beach.


If you have ever wanted to try photographing fireworks but weren’t quite sure, I will share a few of the techniques I have learned. First you need a camera which has manual mode. A tripod and a remote release are recommended also. Set your camera to a low ISO setting of 100-200. Fireworks are bright and an f-stop in the mid range of f/9-f/16 lets enough light in to allow the colors to show up well. Set your shutter to bulb, which allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you hold down the shutter.  Make sure your lens is on manual focus, and focus to infinity or wait until the fireworks begin and focus on them. A medium  telephoto zoom lens works well, I use 24-105mm. Now position yourself so you will have an unobstructed view and you are ready to shoot. Listen for the launch and release the shutter and hold open for anywhere from 2-30 seconds. The longer you hold it open the more bursts you will capture.I was also in France on Bastille Day last year and was able to catch another fireworks show in Juan-les-Pins.

On my last trip to Chicago we saw the fireworks show off Navy Pier one night. . .

I tried another lens, an 85mm f/1.8, and I played with bokeh.

Remember you can check your camera’s LCD periodically to check your composition and exposure and make adjustments if necessary.

I hope you have a Happy Independence Day and get the opportunity to watch a fireworks show. If not tomorrow at some other event or location this year, and get out, experiment and play.

~Sue