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Rockets’ Red Glare

America’s night on the Charles


My first memory of experiencing fireworks is as an Army brat. Stationedacross the Potomac at Fort Myer, my dad would take us each Fourth ofJuly to the National Mall to watch the fireworks cascading over theWashington Monument. I forever associate fireworks with patriotism.

But despite being the seat of federal government, Washington, D.C.,didn’t yet exist on the original Independence Day, so Boston ishistorically a truer embodiment of patriotism. I have shot photographicimages of our own patriotic rocket’s red glare each year since 1975,when Boston Pops maestro Arthur Fiedler made the Fourth fireworks aBoston tradition.

The artistic fun of shooting time exposures of fireworks is capturingwhat our eyes don’t see in real time — the colorful streaks of lightemerging from each explosion continuing to trace patterns for as longas you care to keep the lens open. The enjoyment of photographingBoston’s fireworks, I find, is selecting a different vantage point eachyear. Over three decades, I’ve managed to literally surround thespectacle from all sides — even from above.

Wherever the location — from the Esplanade looking up or the Hancocktower peering down, aiming from the Longfellow Bridge toward BostonUniversity or the Mass. Ave. Bridge toward Charlestown, from BeaconHill rooftops looking over at MIT or Cambridge office towers staringback at the Back Bay, or from BU perches at the School of Law, theSchool of Management, or a Student Village dorm room — for me it’salways a favorite night.

Happy birthday, America.


One Comment on Rockets’ Red Glare

  • Anonymous on 07.02.2009 at 3:42 pm

    Some of those photos are from New Years. (Any facing East from govt. center)

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