Thursday, January 16, 2014

July 4th celebrations

Ok, It's not the 4th of July today. I thought I'd share with you some splendid photos I took on July 4th a while back. These were actually shot on Dreher Island on Lake Murray, South Carolina.

I remember the day well. I'd decided to head out early, assuming an hour before would be sufficient to get onto the island to take photos. Oh boy, was I wrong! I drove as far as the entrance to Dreher Island and passed a car-park just before the causeway to the island and got onto the causeway. I got no further than half way along the causeway. It seemed that the whole of South Carolina had made the same decision.

In the end, I set up my tripod beside the road and started taking photos. Nobody was going to go anywhere.
Parade of boats, Lake Murray, South Carolina
I picked a fairly decent location though I would have preferred to be somewhere else. I didn't want to get too far from my car though as events like these are popular for thieves as nobody is minding the cars.

The Parade of Boats has just begun to line-up as darkness began to fall. I grabbed this shot fairly quickly then moved and set up my tripod for the remainder of the photos.

Parade of boats, Lake Murray, South Carolina
Now darkness began to fall and the parade began. It's interesting that the boat in the foreground stayed relatively still on the calm lake even though wakes from the now moving parade boats were beginning to reach the shore.

After darkness fell, I half expected somebody to start grilling something - it's what we'd do in Britain. This did not happen. What happened instead was that everybody watched the fireworks with reverent silence. The following photos were taken with my tripod and my camera set on B. I think I must have used maybe 5 second exposures. It's always a gamble as to where the fireworks will burst. Zoom in too close and risk missing the majority of the burst; leave it zoomed out too far and the burst is an insignificant pimple on the horizon. Wind plays a part too - look at the pictures and you can see there was a stiff breeze, blowing the fireworks from right to left. 

After the rather pleasant hour or so of fireworks, it was time to pack up and head home. The Park Ranger advised everybody to jump into their cars a few minutes before the display ended as he expected cars to be racing off Dreher Island the instant the display ended. It didn't happen quite like that. It was probably another 5 or 10 minutes.

After that, the fun of getting back home began. Nobody was allowed to do a simple turn in the road and head out. We all had to follow the leader all the way onto Dreher Island and then all the way around the island before heading back along the causeway. From there onward all the standard roads were choked. Thank goodness for GPS and some ingenuity. I managed to get home quicker than the vast majority of the people who'd been on that island.

Next time, I shall park in the car park before the island and walk!

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