Watching the fireworks on New Year’s Eve

If there is anything truly exciting about New Year’s Eve, it’s the annual burst of fireworks from Seattle’s signature landmark, the Space Needle. Even though the light and the noise only lasts for eight minutes, there’s something fun and adventurous about staking out a location and patiently waiting to capture the illuminating explosions set against the dark, typically cloudy, sky.

New Year’s Eve 2007 was no exception. Not wanting to suffer in the cold, I waited to make the journey to a suitable lookout until the ten o’clock hour that night. I chose to watch the show from Wallingford’s Gas Works Park, less crowded than the streets of Queen Anne, but with a clear view of Seattle Center across Lake Union. To my surprise, the show started late and stalled twice, but my disappointment was muted.

Unlike the throngs of people standing on the concrete pier or muddy knoll nearby, my anticipation of a splendid, uninterrupted display of pyrotechnics had not been building for hours, and I used the sudden quiet to adjust the settings of my camera.

Fireworks are notoriously difficult to record, whether digitally or on film, without equipment programmed to the proper settings. Though I spent only twenty minutes in Gas Works Park, I got all the footage I wanted, and happily reveled in the good tidings shared with me by my fellow observers.