A Second Too Soon

Life is different through a point and shoot.

At least it was for me July Fourth, DSLR-less and left to my own devices. The point and shoot, so compact and handheld, drifted its focus from the fireworks above water to the silhouettes a few feet away.

It didn’t help that I’d neglected to bring mine, probably a first now that I think about it, and had to use Phil’s. On Federal Hill overlooking the Inner Harbor, I clumsily fumbled through its settings in between bursts of light.


Fumble fumble.


Fumble fumble fudge.

I missed half the show. And this time, so did the camera.

Perhaps I was asking too much. It was dark, and my arm was a poor substitute for a tripod. While my bulkier-than-most point and shoot allows some room to play with settings, this one’s manual functions were virtually nonexistent. Most of the pictures were too grainy, too blurry, just a second too late.

There’s still something to love about  the point and shoot, though. Its picture, stripped of the excesses of its heavily equipped counterparts, hinges solely on light and composition. Wild angles are more accessible. It slips into purses, can be held in one hand and waved wildly in the middle of a wine-fueled street parade.

But its one true advantage, I’ve got to say, is our ability to blame a bad photo on the camera’s shortcomings — never our own.

I tried my best to argue, erm, reason with Phil. “It’s my first Fourth in New York since I was 13!” I told him. But he didn’t budge. I had a longer weekend, and it was my turn, he said. I begrudgingly made the trek to Baltimore and returned so well-rested and well-fed. It was great.

Kid: Does she bite?
Phil: … Is she white??

This kid was not impressed by the lame fireworks in front of him.

And neither was anyone else.

That’s because the real fireworks were elsewhere.

Walking back to Phil’s place, we stumbled upon more fireworks, rooftop parties, and drunk guys soliciting girls from the back of pickup trucks. I loved her pose in this picture, despite only capturing the fringes of the explosion. She’s a “Woo” girl.

A second too soon, but good enough.

3 responses to “A Second Too Soon”

  1. Haha! “Is she white?” Sounds like something I would say, I’m a little hard of hearing, lol.

    But I’m glad you had a good 4th of July in Baltimore even though you didn’t get to capture the fireworks the way you wanted to. It was my first time shooting them! I was sometimes too late also. Ah well!

    1. karenmaywrites Avatar

      Fireworks are tricky beasts. I took pictures of the D.C. ones a few years ago and had a much easier time then. Of course I was using my own p&s. I hope you had better luck with your pictures than I did!

  2. Your photos are so evocative. Great shots.

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