This year, working from the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada Day on July 1 gets all the attention. But with July 4 quickly approaching, I find myself looking back through fireworks photos from years past across various American towns.

I have always been a fan of long exposure light photography. Cars’ headlight trails… glow sticks waving in the air… you name it! But it is all too easy (for me, as opposed to a light master like Barry Underwood) to veer into a predictable flashiness with this kind of imagery. Then one year, I thought, well July 4th is intentionally predictably flashy! What a fantastic pairing.

So every July 4th, I head out with my DSLR and wave it around in the air with a long exposure over the course of a fireworks performance (not stopping to review images because who has time in the deluge of fireworks!). And then, at the end of the night, flipping through photos, I always find images captured something my camera saw that I did not. It is the closest I still get to the special joy from developing a roll of film where the results are a delightful surprise (or disappointment), but regardless, the delayed gratification tremendously increases my pleasure from the entire process. Whizz crackle pop bang whoosh!