Archive for July 8th, 2009

Canada Day fireworks


Birdgirl here; Mom has gone to see her family back in the Toronto area for a few days, and has no internet connection for the duration. I’m housesitting while she’s away, looking after the menagerie in her absence. She invited me to supply some guest posts while I was here, and I’m happy to oblige. I arrived late this evening, so am drawing on a few photos I took this past weekend for today’s post.


My sisters and I joined our parents here at Willow House this past weekend for a belated Father’s Day, and given the timing of the event, we thought it would be fun to indulge in a few fireworks, as well. I recall occasionally doing home-firework displays when we were quite young, but it’s been a number of years since I even attended an organized public event.


I grabbed my camera and tried to take a few photos of the fireworks. It was more challenging than you’d at first think. Getting the focus right is tricky when you have nothing to focus on prior to ignition. Pointing the camera in the right spot in anticipation of the firework is also hit-or-miss. And the fireworks themselves would illuminate the smoke that they create, resulting in a washed-out cloud in the camera’s exposure, even though the eye doesn’t pick it up. Of a few dozen photos I took, only a handful are worth posting.


We had a good time. We started off with handheld sparklers. I set my camera to long exposure and we took turns trying to spell out our names (mirrored, so it would read correctly in the photo). Here, Fiddlegirl spells out her nickname, since it was short (there is a story behind the origin of the nickname, which has nothing at all to do with her real name, but the details have faded from my memory with time). Yes, it says “Imp”.


The various shapes of the explosions are determined by the density of material used, the specific arrangement in the tube, and the size of tube. The colour of fireworks is controlled by the chemical compound included in the “fuel” (the combustible solids that burn creating the visible displays). Every colour in the standard rainbow can be achieved through different substances. For instance, copper compounds glow blue or blue-green when burned, while calcium burns orange and sodium creates yellow. White is produced by a number of different compounds, including aluminum and magneisium. You can try this out for yourself by placing a penny in an open flame such as your fireplace, or try this.


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