Fireworks a moment of peace


One of the highlights of my year is getting to take fireworks photos during the Independence Day celebration that is held every year in Iosco County. It’s more than just a “point and shoot” activity, it’s something that has taken years to get down and do right to get really good end product. You can view some of the photos I’ve taken this year on the front page of the B Section, or visit to check out a photo gallery.

It was a stunning display this year that I viewed with family from Furtaw Field in Oscoda. I had my camera ready to go with the right settings for the time exposures that would capture really colorful, sharp and interesting fireworks shots, as I chatted with my sister and waited for it to get dark. 

A pair of nephews, in town from Texas and visiting for the summer, were at the field with us, and kids — not just my family members — were running around complaining about the show not starting. It wasn’t even dark yet, but the kids ran around, were playing on smart devices, causing confusion, noise and general havoc, and were getting reprimanded by adults, including myself. In short, they were being kids and doing what kids do out in the public.

The air began to get cool, it got darker, and the mini shows of personal fireworks, being lit around the field and in town, were giving a nice preshow for my sister and I as we waited for the main fireworks show to start. Meanwhile the kids were not paying attention to any of this and continued complaining and waiting for the show. Finally it was dark enough and a giant shell came whistling into the air from the pier at the Oscoda Beach Park, hit its apogee and suddenly burst forth in amazing color in the darkened sky.

The air was cool and it was the perfect temperature to sit outside, and as I watched the fireworks and took my photos, I noticed something. The kids were no longer loud and complaining, but suddenly stopped and were huddled on a blanket watching the fireworks show quietly making comments to each other on how good it was, how cool a particular firework shell looked and comparing notes on what it looked like in the sky.

The whole field was like that, and except for the occasional car driving through town, Oscoda was quiet except for the sound of explosions in the sky. I would wager it was a similar scene when fireworks displays began all over the state and country. There is something about viewing a fireworks show that gets those in attendance to calm down, sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

It is also a way to get kids to pay attention to what is going on for more than five minutes at a time, but having a constant fireworks show going off in the background during our daily lives is probably not practical. The fireworks display proved to be one of the calmest moments of the weekend, however, which was marked with an extraordinary amount of people who came “north” to enjoy the holiday weekend.

As early as Tuesday last week I noticed that several Iosco County communities were brimming with people coming to enjoy the nice summer weather and holiday festivities. In fact Tuesday I needed to head over to East Tawas and the office there, when I noticed that side streets were clogged with parked vehicles and people steadily walking down to Tawas Bay.

“Is there an event going on and I forgot about it?” I thought to myself, only realizing that the event was 4th of July week. It seems that more and more the holiday is turning into a week of vacation and enjoyment instead of one singular day of celebration.

I like to see people coming to the area to enjoy what it has to offer, but there are also drawbacks. The influx of people into the community can create traffic confusion and congestion that many people who live here year round are not used to. But it’s only for a weekend, or this year, most of a week, and Monday morning as I look out the office window, it’s calmed down again and is back to the somewhat sleepy summer I’ve grown to love.

I just wish there was something, like a nice fireworks display, that could be employed all the time over busy holiday weekends to put a damper on the craziness tourists can bring to Iosco County.