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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

Fireworks over Long's Park

Silhouette of a boy watching fireworks explode in a blue twilight sky.
Fireworks explode over Long's Park in Lancaster County, Pa.

THE LOCATION: Long's Park, Lancaster City, Pa.

THE EQUIPMENT: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM | Peak Design aluminum travel tripod

GPS: 40°3'42.2856" N 76°20'4.4196" W

THE STORY: "Stand still for just a bit," I said to my 10-year-old son.

To achieve a great fireworks image, one element to include in your shot is something ... or someone ... in the foreground.

It gives the image context. It tells a short story. It makes a connection with your eyes and maybe your heart.

Lancaster County, where I grew up and still live, has many fine Fourth of July shows, but one of (if not) the finest is in Long's Park.

It's not unusual for as many as 30,000 people to stroll into the grass lawn, set up chairs and blankets, listen to the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" perform, and enjoy the pyrotechnic sky blossoms when it grows dark.

Honestly, creating a good long exposure image of the show is a challenge. The foreground element is often people, and when you have your shutter open for 10, 20, 30 seconds, well ... most won't just stay still so you can nab a great picture.

My son stood up from his chair, I guess to grab a better look of the fireworks as they exploded above his head. He gave me the moment. And 24 seconds later, the image.

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer. He lives in Lancaster, Pa., with his three sons. You can contact him at

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