Special Events

Fourth of July Fireworks Info

You feel that? It’s the anticipation of the Independence Day National Fireworks! One of the greatest things about living in DC is getting to see the fireworks fly against a backdrop of national monuments, and it’s easily one of my favorite yearly events. Over the years I’ve imparted my knowledge of the event to help improve our readers’ experience. You can get some advice on what to expect; some great viewing locations around the area; and even some photo advice for taking your own firework images.

I have very little new to add this year, so just read (or reread) my posts from years past. I highly encourage everyone to go and see the fireworks, so ignore that inner pessimist that’s telling you to “avoid the crowds.” Go forth and celebrate the independence of our country by seeing a small part of it blown up!

And if you’re going out to take photos, get some inspiration from previous firework displays: 2011, 2012, and 2013!

Special Events

Fourth of July Fireworks Viewing Locations

Oh, the 4th of July fireworks on the Mall! If you ask me, this is one of the great things about living in DC. And yet, I know most people either avoid them completely, or, are so overwhelmed by the idea of how many people come out for them, they decide staying home and watch the display on TV. Well, I’m here to tell you seeing them in person is the best, even with the crowds!

A few years ago, I put together this handy post on seeing the fireworks; it’s still quite good and worth a read. However, I’ve decided that what’s needed is something more visual. So, I packed decades of Mall fireworks excursions, and a few years of photos, into this handy Google Map (it’s after the jump, as well). And if you want some nice photos, here are my 4th of July shots from the past few years. Continue reading

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Photo courtesy of gerdaindc
AdMo fireworks
courtesy of gerdaindc

It’s hard to get a good street photo that includes fireworks. After all, most people don’t want to get too close to something that’s exploding or spouting fire. But Gerda pulled off such a shot nicely. Check out what looks like a couple of families having an impromptu fireworks display on the streets of Adams Morgan. The father and daughter fascinated by the large sparkler in the street; the boy off to the side with his personal sparkler just being lit; and all of the spectators simply enjoying the show. This shot looks like something from a 1950s movie; hard to believe it was taken last week. It’s nice to know that this is still a sight that can be seen on the 4th.

Special Events

Fourth of July Flashback: 2012

Photo courtesy of mosley.brian
2012 – Fourth of July – Party in America
courtesy of mosley.brian

Another hot July 4th with the unfulfilled threat of rain. And as usual, we got through it! Hope everyone had all the grilled food, adult beverages, and what have you to celebrate the Fourth. And if you did or didn’t get a chance to see the fireworks along the Mall, you get a chance to relive them below. Enjoy, and remember only 363 Days until the next July 4th! Continue reading

Special Events

Fourth of July 2012

Photo courtesy of mosley.brian
2010 – Fourth of July – A Moment to Capture
courtesy of mosley.brian

Oh, fireworks; and Fourth of July fireworks, no less! This is one of my favorite times of the year, and the National Fireworks along the Mall is one of the reasons why. It may be a cliché, but this is one of the great things about this town. But it’s difficult to enjoy if you don’t know the ins and outs. To help you out, I’ve got this post!

(*PST*: Before I go further, remember the fireworks meetup tomorrow…ok, I swear that is the last reminder!)

Last year, I went through a lot of the details: locations for the viewings, tips on how to survive the crowds, and even a bunch of great pictures. This year, I wanted to give some advice on taking pictures of the fireworks (or any fireworks for that matter). If you’ve always wanted to get great photos of the fireworks, but never knew how, please keep reading. Continue reading

The District

We Love Meetups on the 4th!

Photo courtesy of mosley.brian
2011 – Fourth of July – Amber Waves
courtesy of mosley.brian

The Fourth of July is a week away, and I can’t wait! Baseball, grilling, and, best of all, fireworks. As I said last year, the Fourth of July fireworks along the Mall are one of the great things about living in the District and everyone should take advantage of it. To that end, I want to set up an official We Love DC Meetup for the fireworks.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a meetup to see the fireworks. I’m thinking this will mainly interested photographers, as I will gladly offer my services to assist people taking shots of the display. But you don’t have to be a photographer to take part; all you have to do is be interested in seeing the show with a group of people. So come one, come all!

The details: I’m interested in setting up on the south side of the Memorial Bridge, on Columbia Island, right along the river. That way the shots will get the bridge, the Potomac, and the fireworks. Also, it will be less crowded than along the Mall; we’ll still have to go through security, but not as bad. Check out this map for locations; note that Arlington Cemetery Metro station is very close. Getting across the Parkway is tricky, and a little dangerous, so I would prefer to do it as a group. I thinking meeting up at 6:30pm is best; not too early but not too late that we get crowded out.

Comment on this story if you want to get e-mail updates (such as if we have to cancel due to weather), or follow me on Twitter. All that’s need after that is to show up next Wednesday at 6:30pm. Hope to see you there. And if not, I hope you have a great 4th!

Downtown, Special Events

So You Want to See the National Fireworks on the Mall?

‘2010 – Fourth of July – I Stand with the General’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

So you want to see the National Fireworks on the Mall? But you’ve heard all this about talk about crushing crowds, insane Metro rides home, and a constant threat of rain just before the fireworks are supposed to fly. Yeah, that all happens. But I can help with alternatives and easy to handle ways of dealing with the above problems. Because, really, the fireworks on the Mall are one of the great things about living in this city and everyone should enjoy them.

I’ll go over locations, best ways of getting home, and even a short gallery of pictures. If you want info on security checkpoints to get onto the Mall, and any other info, check out the Park Service’s page on the fireworks. Continue reading

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

IMG_8562b by D©Bloom

Independence Day has come and gone, but I couldn’t resist highlighting this patriotic moment captured by D©Bloom.  While our Flickr pool was inundated with oodles of “Ooooo!” and “Ahhhhh!” photos of the fireworks on display at the National Mall, we see a more personal and patriotic celebration here of Uncle Sam launching some bottle rockets in his back yard.  I stared at this photo for a long time and wondered why I loved it so much until finally realized that it reminded me of how I feel every 4th of July.  Being born on Independence Day, I can’t help but to claim it as my own, as my day.  When I see the rockets’ red glare, my surroundings fade to black, the crowd disappears, and it’s just me and a shower of colors bursting in the night sky.

This photo was taken with a Canon G9 which, next to the newer G10, has earned a reputation of being one of the best point and shoot cameras on the market.  Unlike most point and shoots it offers full manual control of the camera and takes 12.1 megapixel RAW images, resulting in large, uncompressed photos that you can print big if you have a winner.  It’s a great all around camera and fairly compact, making it easy to sneak a photo of Uncle Sam when he isn’t looking.

Entertainment, Fun & Games, The Daily Feed

Aaaaand They’re Back

Photo courtesy of
‘Friday night fireworks at Nationals Park’
courtesy of ‘randomduck’

It seems that the great-fireworks controversy at Nationals Park has drawn to an end a mere 24 hours after it started.  You may recall that DC Fire Chief Dennis Rubin suspended the displays after debris fell on him during a game on Sunday.  After what must have been some intense negotiations, Nats officials caved and agreed to change the firing angle slightly to better protect the crowd. Hooray.

Fun & Games, People, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

No More Fireworks (for now)

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘randomduck’

WAPO reports that the fireworks displays at Nats Park were suspended by DC Fire Chief Dennis Rubin after ash fell on him while he attended a game.  While he was not injured, and there have been no fire concerns up to this point, the Chief wishes to conduct a safety review before the displays are reinstated. If this seems a little asinine, let’s be honest: at this point, the Nationals don’t really deserve fireworks, anyways.

Petworth, The Daily Feed

DC Neighbourhoods Ablaze!

Photo by Wayan

Washington DC has its official fireworks on the Mall, but forgive me I find them insignificant. For me, the formal symphony + lightshow is a distant second, if even ranked, when compared with the neighbourhood effort.

And that would be every neighbourhood in this city – from Congress Heights to Foggy Bottom, Park View to Palisades. On every block, on each street, we have an orgy of light and sound, all amateur, and therefore, so much more creative and intimate.

In Petworth, we had our own fireworks festival. With the full block party audience in attendance, we had all kinds of sparkling, shootings, and showers of crackling through the night. Even Taxi Dog got in on the show.

And this morning? Happiness with firework detritus strewn about.

The Mall

Fireworks Timelapse

So the weather tricked me into staying in, but I did get to view tonight’s pyrotechnics from a friend’s apartment with windows facing towards the Mall. My camera sat on a tripod, set to do a time lapse video at one-second intervals. Here is the result, consisting of 1,271 frames taken over a course of 21 minutes:

Thanks to the Internet Archive for the 1913 Edison cylinder recording of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. Sped-up video plus tinny Sousa makes for a whimsical little piece.

The Daily Feed, The District

Fireworks and Storms

As often is the case for the Fourth of July in Washington, the weather has been largely unstable: heat and humidity mixing with occasional showers. We’re now just about a half-hour from the scheduled start of fireworks on the Mall at 9:10 AM, and another wave of showers with some lightning has just finished sweeping the area. Here’s a closeup of our weather radar as of 8:30 PM:

The system that brought us that surprise rain twenty minutes ago is leaving to the northeast, but another system is forming to the west, and seeing that and considering the instability in the local atmosphere, my instinct — coupled with a general disdain for sitting in mud — is to stay indoors rather than go out to join the crowd of fireworks-viewers. But hey, that’s just me. There’s also a chance that system will dissolve into vapor and leave the district dry at 9:10PM, in which case, the show goes on.

Watcha gonna do, DC? If you’re living downtown, you now have under thirty minutes — just enough time to hop on a Metro or dash out to the Mall and maybe make it to a good viewing spot amidst the mass of humanity already there. And hey, if you’re reading this on your mobile device from out on the scene, send us a status report.

Update: Thankfully for those out there, the rain held off! We watched from the safety of a friend’s apartment, and I’ll have a time lapse video ready soon.