On July 4 I went to a party at a friend’s place whose house directly overlooks Greenbelt Lake, where the city of Greenbelt, Maryland has its annual Fourth of July fireworks. The party started in the afternoon and the original plan was that we would all head outside and see the fireworks from my friend’s place. It was a great plan.

Except it rained on July 4. The party went on as scheduled but we all got word via the Internet that the official Greenbelt Fourth of July fireworks would be postponed until the following evening. Instead we watched a broadcast of the Fourth of July celebrations from Washington, DC, which featured fireworks that briefly became a controversy when footage showed the people attending the pre-fireworks concert wearing rain ponchos while the stage was wet and the sky was cloudy yet the fireworks themselves showed them being launched in clear pristine skies. (It turned out that someone at Maryland Public Television decided to show recorded fireworks footage from a previous year instead of live broadcasting this year’s fireworks because they were launched in thick clouds.)

Having the city of Greenbelt postponed the fireworks for the following evening prompted the cancellation of a scheduled late afternoon pre-fireworks performance of patriotic music by a local orchestra because the members of that orchestra are all volunteers who have day jobs. Since July 5 was a workday many of them couldn’t abruptly take leave from their jobs to arrive by 2 or 3 in the afternoon so they could set up and perform. But a community drumming circle that was scheduled to perform after that orchestra was not only able to go on as scheduled but it even took over the outdoor stage that was originally reserved for the orchestra.

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Basically people were free to join and leave the drumming circle as they saw fit. (The organizers of that drumming circle provided drums and percussion instruments for those who didn’t bring their own drum.) I even joined in at one point, while I played on my small Ron Jon’s Surf Shop bongo that I brought with me from home. I shot a video of the entire Fourth of July festivities, which you can watch below.

Here are the rest of the still photos I took at that event, starting with a gathering of people late in the afternoon just before sunset.

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I took a telephoto shot of the area where the fireworks would be launched from.

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There was this vendor who was going around selling all kinds of glow-in-the-dark toys for kids to the crowd. The police showed up and started to grill the vendor. I saw the vendor show this pink slip to the police but apparently it wasn’t what the police wanted to see and he left soon afterwards. I have a feeling that he just showed up selling his wares without formally applying for permission to sell his stuff but I don’t know for sure. I was near the action but I wasn’t within earshot (plus there were other people talking all around me) so I can’t say for sure what was going on.

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I took a few gorgeous sunset photos.

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The rest of the pictures are ones that I shot of the fireworks. I didn’t take as many firework shots as previous years because I’ve already taken numerous fireworks photos and I decided to just enjoy the spectacle for a change. I did take a few token shots because just a few days before someone had posted this article on Medium.com saying that you shouldn’t use a smartphone to take pictures of fireworks because they never turn out well. I wrote another post rebutting that assertion while providing evidence (mainly firework pictures I’ve taken with my smartphone in the past). So I took these firework photos with my smartphone in order to provide recent examples of, yes, it’s possible to take excellent photos with a smartphone.

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