A couple of days ago Melissa and I were at one of our favorite SE neighborhood joints, the Night Light Lounge (tremendous happy hour people, just a hint), talking with the talented Amy Nieto and her friend Lesley. The subject range was broad, from full body Darth Vader tattoos to past 4th of July experiences. I think we probably scared Lesley with some of the strange stories Melissa and I had about our past 4th of Julys. The Mitchells notoriously have weird holiday experiences, mostly I think due to the fact that we travel a lot and have moved pretty far from our places of origin. We usually attempt to do something fun on the 4th, and sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we just have “experiences.” For some years I attempted to take photos of fireworks, but I can’t say I’ve ever been truly wild about the results. It’s one of those things photographically that I find kind of over done. So in thinking about memorable photos to post of past 4th of July experiences I came up with two that popped out, both of which are not of fireworks. I think I will save the stranger of the two stories for next year.
So way back in 2004 our plan for the year was to go to Seattle’s famous Gasworks Park, to watch the fireworks over Lake Union. Seemed like a cool thing to do. As it turns out, like most cool things to do on a 4th of July it was also an extremely popular attraction. Melissa and I usually aren’t ones to want to be in massive crowds, but we were new to the area and didn’t have any established traditions, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Our group going consisted of a couple of girls Melissa had met through her job at the time, and their group of guys they hung out with. Now we didn’t really know these guys very well, and one of them was an ex-boyfriend of one of M’s work girlfriends who had sort of shown up unexpectedly. Once we had arrived and parked we had a long walk from the car to the gate to get in to the park, and as no big surprise there were police at the entrance checking coolers and bags. Well these guys we are with once they see the bag searches basically stopped walking towards the gate and started talking amongst themselves. We figured they were just dumb and had packed a ton of beer in the coolers and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. So, the girls and I just went inside to get a spot, figuring they were having to go back to the vehicle to drop it off. Well as it later turned out the ex-boyfriend guy had decided to bring a handgun, and then put it in the cooler! What?? Who the heck does that? Why would you bring your gun to a crowded park on the 4th of July? Okay so this has absolutely nothing to do with the photo, but it’s an interesting story right? I don’t really recall the outcome, but we remained in the park packed in with thousands of other unarmed 4th of July enthusiasts.
On to the photo part of this story. So what I found far more visually fascinating than the actual fireworks themselves, was the massive inflatable Statue of Liberty head that they had blown up and put on one of the hills. I’m not sure what the story behind it is, but apparently it’s there every year. Pretty much the only thing I could think about that night besides handguns in coolers was the final scene in the Planet of the Apes where Colonel George Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) discovers the remains of the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand. Hmm… Charlton Heston… NRA… handguns? Maybe it IS all tied in. Oh yeah, and as far as the mechanics of the shot, this was back in my pre-SLR days, so I imagine most of it was luck and not skill, aside from the composition itself. So happy 4th people! Remember to leave your handguns at home! And I promise an equally odd Photo Story for next year.
Sony DSC-F717 Cybershot | 16.4mm focal length
f/2.2 | 1/30s | 100 ISO | Program Mode