Photographing Hartford's Riverfest 2014 fireworks from the Connecticut River.

Photographing Hartford’s Riverfest 2014 fireworks from the Connecticut River.

This past Saturday, Hartford, CT’s Riverfront Recapture’s put on Riverfest 2014 capped off with an amazing fireworks show by Atlas Pyrovision! As has been the case in year’s past, it was a spectacular show on the Connecticut River, with crowds lining both banks and the bridges. After photographing the Riverfest 2009 show, I had a vision of the kind of shots I wanted to create, and knew they would require a bit of extra effort to make them  happen.

There were no sight lines available along the shoreline. But who says we have to stay within the lines?

It’s a nice story, but I want the photos!


wpid3596-20140712-_JP_6484.jpgAfter a morning working our new Go Nearly Naked website, Crista and I headed out to East Hartford where we met up with some friends and family. With nieces and nephew in tow, Crista went off to explore the country fair on the East Hartford side while I did some further location scouting. My original plan was to walk down to the Charter Oak Bridge which offers an amazing view north up the river with Connecticut’s capital as the backdrop. However, some earlier preparation found a few references to recent years’ closures of the pedestrian walkway during the fireworks show! After finding a few backup options along the banks, I found some East Hartford police and, after a brief chat with some radio inquiries, was informed that the bridge was indeed closed! So much for pre-site research and planning! Time to improvise!

Back down to the most likely place I had found along the bank, only to discover that three photographers had already set up shop along all of the sight lines available along the shoreline! With the show starting in 20 minutes, it was beginning to look as if I’d have to compromise my original vision more than expected. A few deep breaths, and a few moments of reflection and thinking about various options, it went “click” and I realized the answer was lapping at my feet.

Thanks to my friend Tony for the action shot!

Thanks to my friend Tony for the action shot!

There were no sight lines available along the shoreline. But who says we have to stay within the lines? So a few pokes in the water with my tripod and some removed-shoes later, it was out into the river for me! Huzzah! Sight lines down the river, with downtown Hartford with the backdrop.

It turned out to be as good a spot as I could have planned for, and arguably was better than the bridge might have been. Amusingly, I also went from being the aberration to the trendsetter, as during the show, a few more photographers went from giving me sidelong glances to following my lead once they realized how great the view was from there! There were even some regular spectators that came on in and were exclaiming about the great viewing angle.

In all, a great place to watch and photograph the Hartford Riverfest fireworks 2014, and I hope you’ll enjoy the set below from the show. See you all next year at Hartford Riverfest 2015!


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