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Independence Day Weekend

America turned 234 years old last weekend.  (It blows my mind to think this whole country sprung up in just 234 years!)  Here are some events I attended in Washington, DC that marked the celebrations of USA’s independence from Great Britain.

Friday the 2nd :

Max Impact, the Air Force’s super fun, friendly, high energy and highly talented pop/rock band, performed a great blend of patriot music ranging from pop, country, musicals, to some original songs.  They’ll be performing their patriot program 2 more times at the Air Force Memorial on the 21st and 28th of July along with an 80’s Tribute on the West Capitol Steps on July 13.  Concerts are FREE and start at 8pm.

Saturday the 3rd:

“A Capitol Fourth” marked its 30 year anniversary this year and was hosted by Jimmy Smits.    (One sad note rang to mark the passing last year of Maestro Erich Kunzel, who directed the concert for the last twenty years.)    The rehearsal is staged the night before the fourth and is normally less crowded and a lot more relaxed with a great mix of spontaneous fun that you don’t get during the live national taping.   Not all the headliners always make it, but it’s a unique way to experience the production while still getting to see the fireworks up close the next night.

Sunday the 4th:

Few things bring me so much joy as fireworks do.   I love them big.   I love them loud.   I love them filling my whole field of vision.   I especially look forward every year with great anticipation to the Independence Day fireworks in DC.   Always a fantastic show.

For all you curious sorts…If you’ve ever wondered how fireworks work, here’s a great gallery of images and explanations or here’s a six minute video if you prefer a watching a scientist burn up chemicals to demonstrate how the colors are made.    This site will tell you the names of the common shapes.

For tips on how to photograph fireworks see my tutorial.

Enjoy my image highlights from the weekend!   Click on “Stars and Stripes Forever” or a really great version of the National Anthem if you want to listen to the music in the background while looking at the photos.  Can’t forget the hilarious Muppets version of “Stars and Stripes Forever” for some fun. 🙂

Friday the 2nd

Max Impact performs a powerful mix of patriotic songs at the Air Force Memorial.

Saturday the 3rd

A punchy Jimmy Smits keeps us entertained with his unscripted comments at the rehearsal of “A Capitol Fourth.”

This poor couple must have been interviewed a ½ dozen times. Sitting front and center in patriotic, color coordinated garb will get you on camera every time.

Lang Lang

Behind the scenes look at the rehearsal and taping during John Schneider’s performance of “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In.”

John Schneider and Reba McEntire

Reba practicing receiving her award.

Sunday the 4th

Our camp neighbors next to us proudly reveal a cleverly decorated cake for America’s Birthday. Pity not enough cake to go around.

Regular crowd shuffles in…

First booms blast off at 9:10pm as dusk barely settles in. Then 17 minutes of joy follow!

Grand Finale!

  • Tom Wieczorek - July 8, 2010 - 3:06 pm

    These pictures are incredible! You did an excellent job of capturing the fireworks while they were exploding! Super!

  • Marci McKinnon - July 15, 2010 - 9:51 pm

    Renata these pictures are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing the gift of your photography with us.

  • Jen - July 24, 2010 - 7:14 pm

    Gorgeous! …and I have *no* idea how you got these. Time to wander over to your “photography tips” section!

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