As you saw in my previous post, we spent the actual Fourth of July at the concert. On Friday, July 3, we also made the trek downtown but this time our sole purpose was to see the city's fireworks display. Last year we made the mistake of underestimating the traffic downtown and thus we almost missed the beginning of the show as we drove all around looking for a decent parking space. It was highly stressful as we sprinted down towards the lakefront dodging people left and right, just to claim a lawn spot.
So this year we decided to do it differently. We went to dinner near our house at 6:00 at Juniper 61---one of our newest faves. I mean, just look at my 'Midnight Mojito'. Isn't it beautiful?
And our appetizer of chips and dip was out of this world. And huge. We definitely took home leftovers from this little excursion.
After dinner we headed dowtown and arrived at 7:30---nearly 2 hours before the show would begin. We brought our adorable 'all weather' picnic blanket, beer, Triscuits, and plenty of bug spray. Oh, and the camera. Of course we brought the camera.
We found a fabulous spot right near the Lake and planted ourselves down for the long haul. One of my favorite things about downtown Milwaukee is that it's so vibrant, and people are always out and about--whether we are running at the Lakefront, riding bikes, shopping, or just exploring---people DIG this downtown. And I must agree with the locals: it's pretty fabulous.
For the fireworks it seemed like all of Milwaukee poured into downtown. Some families set up huge tents and had horseshoes, basketball, volleyball, and other games set up as they barbequed all day long. You could tell some of the little kids had been playing outside for too many hours because they were just a little bit cranky, but highly entertaining. Some of the adults had obviously consumed entirely too much Miller Lite as well. It was a scene perfect for people watching, that's for sure.
To pass the time, Nate decided he would give himself a little lesson in photography. Apparently I was his unwilling subject:
But when we he went all 'rapid fire' with his shots, I demanded that he stop taking so many pictures. How dare he waste my memory card! The result is some hilarious pictures of me pleading with him to turn over the camera. Nate says this is one of my 'classic' faces. I think it's just plain scary.
I was on the hunt for a perfect Fourth of July shot and here is what I found. God bless America. And the tiny bokeh in the background. Bless that, too.
The pier was full of docked sailboats, while the Lake was full of active boats. I thought this was a neat nautical shot. And now I want a sailboat.
Another one of my symbolic American shots:
So finally at 9:30 the show began. Milwaukee does not play around with their fireworks. Economy be damned, our tax dollars went to a great cause this night as an hour long display shot off from three different locations. Plenty of 'oooooohs and ahhhhhhhs' were heard along with the high-pitched squeals of little kids. My tripod came in quite handy, of course, and here is my favorite shot of the skyline with one of the displays coming off the US Bank building. Note the people watching the other display from the Lake.
One of my favorite shots is this one, which was not with the tripod. I just like the feel of it, even though it's a little shaky:
But I must say, the tripod plus my telephoto lens and a really long exposure made for some cool abstract shots. I got a few classic fireworks shots, too, but I like these close-ups even more.
(my favorite type of fireworks, besides the boomers, are these----when the ends sprout off into tiny little explosions)
Of course I took entirely too many shots, but whatev.
You can see my whole fireworks set here:
Nothing like a showy display of fireworks to make your American Pride shine a little brighter. Did you see fireworks this year, too? Are you as obsessed as we are?