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Greetings!  Sorry for the delay for the PotW this week.  The United States and Americans worldwide celebrated the Independence Day holiday over the weekend.  In that spirit I took some days off of work and enjoyed a four-day weekend!  Many of you have noticed that I have been doing a poor jab managing stress recently and it caught up with me last week.  This weekend was the perfect remedy: relaxing with good friends at pool parties and quite a few adult beverages!

I’m now back at work, feel relaxed, and am ready to take on the world.  Just because I’m me I may even book a trip to Europe to celebrate!  Anyway, America loves fireworks around Independence Day.  One of the biggest fireworks displays in the country is in Addison, Texas, a suburb very close to Dallas.  They call it Kaboom Town, and for good reason.

It’s billed as one of the biggest fireworks displays in the United States and it’s a wonderful show.

I wanted to get a distinctive image from the event.  I’ve taken pictures of fireworks before and wanted something different this time.  So, instead one epic shot I wanted to blend a bunch of shots together to make it look like the world exploded with patriotism!  If you’re interested in the How, please see the For the Photographers section below.  If you’re not, then simply enjoy this week’s Picture of the Week, I call it Kaboom!

Kaboom! by Andy Luten

Kaboom! by Andy Luten

For the photographers

This one really wasn’t that tough, it just took some time.  I made sure my Sony a7rII with the 16-35mm lens was on a tripod for the duration of the show.  I recently switched to back-button focusing which meant I just needed to focus once and from that point on I just fired the camera whenever I saw a shell heading into the sky.

I loaded the photos as layers in Photoshop.  My base shot was a picture of the trees with a blank sky, which I placed at the bottom of my layer stack.  From there I took each firework layer, applied a black layer mask, changed the blend mode to Lighten, and brushed in the part of the image I wanted to be in the final photo (this helped me avoid having a bunch of smoke from the fireworks in the image).  Once I got the firework burst how I liked it I hit the V button and moved the burst to the area in the image I felt made the most sense.  Then I simply did that about 40 more times before throwing it into Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add quite a bit of contrast.  The only area I didn’t execute well is the area around the trees in the foreground.  Not only is it a boring foreground but you can see some soft parts where I did a poor job brushing in fireworks (or brushed out too much).

As you can see, the final image looked like all the fireworks exploded at the same time.  I’ve seen an image like this done before so I simply wanted to try it myself and I’m happy with how it turned out, especially because it did really well on social media!  Let me know if you have any post-processing questions below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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