Happy Fourth of July!

Carmel Performing Art Center
Carmel Performing Art Center

It’s the Fourth of July, and in America it’s a big holiday. For many, it’s the green flag for the start of the summer, and for many of us it’s a time to celebrate our independence with parades, picnics, hamburgers, and hot dogs. For most of us, it’s a time to get together with family and friends and celebrate all the things that are important to us.

For me, it’s a reminder that this freedom and independence that we all enjoy didn’t come easily. Countless people have served and died for this country so we can enjoy days like this. For my wife and me it is a particularly important day, as we are very proud between us to have had three sons serve in the military. I still have one son who has been serving since 2001, and Debra’s daughter works on a daily basis with vets and their life challenges.

Red, White and Blue balloons
Red, White and Blue balloons

The Fourth of July for us photographers is a day we need to take out our cameras, get out there to photograph the day, and capture all the color and spectacle that comes with it. No matter what kind of photography you do, I encourage you to change gears and shoot your community parade and the activities that surround this special day.

It’s a great time to experiment with dragging the shutter or even testing your skills at photographing fireworks. Play with different lenses. Use a long zoom to get closeups and isolate others. Use a shallow depth of field to blur out backgrounds and keep the focus on a subject. And, in the evening, get the tripod and cable release out and have some fun shooting fireworks.

I'm gonna tell you . . .
I’m gonna tell you . . .

Then on the next day with your morning coffee, load the images into your favorite editor and have some fun finding the best pictures. Crop and adjust and then share your images in whatever way you can. For me, I have Facebook and Instagram, and then I’ll retreat to the gallery and make some prints. If you are talented at Photoshop and you kept your tripod locked down at the same position, you can easily composite multiple fireworks images together. If you are anything like me, this will be an overwhelmingly satisfying feeling.

Big men and little cars
Big men and little cars

The images above and in the gallery below were made at the Carmel Fest in Carmel, Indiana, a community I used to live in, and now I’m still only ten minutes away. The celebration there, like many communities in America, consists of a giant parade and a host of other celebrations. People actually stake out places to watch the parade the night before. After the parade, the town has a big area set up with live music and food vendors, and you can literally spend the whole day there having fun and eating fair food to your heart’s content. Topping the day off is an enormous display of fireworks.

I was lucky and by calling ahead was able to make arrangements for Debra and me to be on top of one of the buildings in the Performing Arts Center complex of Carmel. From the roof, we had a perfect vantage point with a great foreground. We had a blast, came away with some great images, and had a perfect day.

So, get out there today—and for that matter any day there is a celebration—and photograph away. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun as I do, and you’ll possibly come home with some images you’ll be proud of. There is no better therapy out there than a good day of fun and photography.

Enjoy your Fourth of July!

The following is a gallery of images I have made at the 4th of July Parade Carmel Fest)  in Carmel, Indiana


Kevin Raber
July 2019
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 47 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of pictures taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through photoPXL.com, this site as well as Rockhopper Workshops and other projects as well as teaching at my Gallery in Indianapolis.

Article Type: News, Columns, MISC

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