Having a Blast (Original Photography)


It was overcast. Droplets formed on the windows, running together to create tiny streams that obscured the view through my bedroom window. A few taps on the phone, still charging on the folding table next to my headboard, indicated that the rain might let up for Herman Fest.

After pulling myself out of bed and getting ready for the day, I decided to try and walk to the coffee shop. Umbrella in hand, I set out and made it about twenty feet. My foot and ankle just started hurting for no apparent reason Thursday night and, though the swelling and pain had subsided, it wasn't up to the task.

Despite the morning's gloom and rain, things were looking better around noon and I decided to drive to New Ulm and see if the festivities were, well... festive. The rain mostly dissipated for the afternoon's main event and the music with live cannon fire went off without a hitch.

Defenders of the Ball Field]()

After walking up to the Herman Heights park and climbing the Herman the German monument, I walked back down the hill to get some photos of the concert. There were a couple other photographers where i was planning on getting photos and we ended up chatting for awhile.

One of them told a terrible photographer joke: "What's the difference between pirates and photographers?"

"Look! An eagle!"]()

My vision isn't the best in the world, but I was actually able to keep track of the guy signaling when to fire, this year. It makes timing the canon fire a lot easier. Dressed in a gray outfit, he goes from cannon to cannon armed with sheet music. Apparently, he's a munitions and percussion specialist. Unlike the guy pointing at the sky in this last photo, when the signal guy raises his hand, the entire team looks tense.

... with good reason! The first blast was so loud, I jumped! I wasn't the only one. Even knowing it's coming doesn't prepare you for that first blast! Another of the photographers got a great photo of the grass!

Nice Outfit]()

This guy's role was a little unclear. He seemed to walk between the cannons and musicians a lot. I was hoping to get a photo of him coming toward me in this spot, but the smoke only worked out in this particular instant. What's with that right sock?

When You Love Your Job]()

This kid was having a blast! (Sorry about the pun!) Seriously, though, he seemed to be having a great time with the cannons. Then again, playing with a piece of 19th-century artillery does sound like a lot of fun. I was focused on the cannon, but he's still in decent focus.


This is one I took before things got loud. They were still pulling cannons onto the field with four-wheelers at the time. The combination was a little strange to behold.

Home Team Advanatage]()

Deciding not to stay for the fireworks, I headed off toward my distant Jeep. Surprisingly, walking around in hiking boots actually seemed to improve my foot and ankle. I would have stayed longer, but had to make the trip back to Rochester, MN this morning. I'll be watching Vern (my parents' dog) for the week, while trying to find work. I will also be setting up an Etsy store, or possibly go through another site, while I'm home. If I can sell prints, maybe I'll make enough money to warrent upgrading my camera some day.

Thank you for taking a look! If you enjoy my work, please click the upvote button. Comments are also greatly appreciated.


"Pirates shoot Canons. Photographers shoot Nikons."

Comments 30

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08.09.2019 20:10

That is so awesome, what a fun shoot! You did a good job with all the re-enactment series. The fist and last photo with the fire coming out of the cannons are my favorites, it's pretty unique results. Well done! xox

Good luck with your online print selling, hopefully it works out for you and become on your way to your new camera.

08.09.2019 21:51

Thanks. I still haven't found a good name for the Etsy shop.

I'd love to find a battlefield reenactment. There are a few of them every year, but I never seem to find our in time.

09.09.2019 02:25

I'm sure the name will come to you at the right time. Perhaps keeping the same name as your steemit so it can easily be recognized in the future if steemit ever goes to the moon one day. Maybe something like Fotosdenada's & wild friends. hehe

I don't think e have battle re-enactments here in western Canada since it was more of a fur trade and later settlers so not much battles here. One day you'll find your battle in time. Lots of things are like that for me too, I find out when it's too late but I take note for the next year so I don't forget. Fakebook is actually useful for that.

10.09.2019 00:43

I thought about using Fotos De Nada, but I'm not sure it's a great fit for what I want to sell. We'll see.

I may have missed all the battle reenactments for the year, but I did discover that Pickwick Mill has it's anual celebration next Saturday. That's a beautifully restored grain mill from the 1800's. They'll have all the equipment running and people showing how the place worked. I fully intend to be there, camera and tripod in hand :-D

I bet you have plenty of fascinating historical things up there, though. I heard that in Alberta and Saskatchewan have some impressive stone medicine wheels. Are there any fur trading posts or forts around?

I'm not sure, exactly, why people are so interested in the US Civil War. I like the visuals, as a photographer, though. All that smoke and cannon fire make for some interesting images. They're definitely better without chain link fences or cars in the background, though.

10.09.2019 02:55

Well I'm sure you will find a suitable name that reflects your work. It will just come to you all of the sudden at the most random moment!! haha

We do have quite a bit of historical stuff here in Edmonton and across Alberta given it's importance in early access to the north of Canada. We do have a fort, I have never been yet. Lots of farming type exhibits across the province like history related or just for amusement like sunmazes and corn mazes and stuff. We are also a mineral rich province so def lots of history in coal and oil mining along with many dinosaur fossil discoveries and museum( we have the largest fossil collection in the world held at the Royal Tyrell in Drumheller). Much of our history is also cultural in nature since Alberta is the land of opportunity for the brave. Many different unique experiences to be had and much of it also centers around indigenous culture. We have medicine wheels and pictographs. Many other sacred sites as well. They sacred sites are more difficult to get access to because we are an international destination with a lot of tourism and most outsiders do not respect the land and traditional ways and end up damaging it , littering and leaving garbage everywhere or taking stuff home from it , disturb the rare wildlife or plant we are trying to protect in the first place and it really breaks our heart every time.

There is a good deal of nature preservation and awareness, animal sanctuaries , national & provincial parks along with various other protected eco-systems/ bio diversity and university programs that have public access. Of course we also have the fun urban stuff too. There is no shortage of diversity in experience and learning opportunities around here, it makes it difficult to pick at times so the most significant are kinda hush hush.

Old preserved grain mills and other infrastructure is fun indeed! Even the abandoned ones are cool. I always like visiting even if it's just once. They make for cool photo sessions. On our roadtrips we find so many cool random things just as we drive by. It makes long drives even longer tho when you stop everywhere...Haha, still worth every second.

If I went to Ontario or back home in New-Brunswick, there would be more battle related stuff from early settlements like frigates in the water and many battle forts. I think military history is a big part of any country. Something like the civil war was a big event that shaped the lives that every American experience today it's natural to have many fascinated with the subject.

10.09.2019 03:33

Great photo reportage. First one you got right in a moment...

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08.09.2019 22:17

Thanks. Now, if only I could find a reenactment somewhere in the countryside, so as to have an easier job with the background :-)

11.09.2019 16:47

Is this a fest about a victorious battle in the civil war? Looks like a nice one!

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09.09.2019 03:10

This one is just a festival to celebrate the town's German heritage. I'm not sure how the cannons fit the narrative, other than as accompaniment for the 1812 Overture and John Philip Seusa marches.

09.09.2019 03:14

I ve read sthg about Germans in your post but i thought that they were part of the North troops and celebrating a victorious battle... Thanks for answering .

10.09.2019 15:18

Great shots, man! I imagine it being quite difficult to capture the splash of fire coming out of a cannon :)

09.09.2019 08:54

Thanks! If you look closely at the second photo, off to the right there's a guy in gray with papers in his hand. He's hard to spot, but he actually signals the cannons when to fire. I used high-speed burst on my camera and held the shutter down when he instructed the cannon crew to fire. It's still a bit tricky to get it, though. Most of my shots were the smoke plumes with some residual sparks.

09.09.2019 15:26

Okay, I spotted the guy :) I was wondering if you could capture it in a different way - using longer exposure and a ND filter - but then I realized that the cannon probably "jumps" when firing. Thus, not only the people will be motion blurred.

10.09.2019 00:48

Yeah, those cannons actually roll about a half a meter back when fired. If the scene had been a little less cluttered, I could have done a longer exposure and used trees or something to anchor the scene. The 1/50 second shot wasn't even usable - lol

10.09.2019 02:45

What wonderful shots I would love to visit an event like that

10.09.2019 01:07

Thanks! If you do go to one, I highly recommend ear plugs... Which, of course, I forgot!

10.09.2019 02:43

Thats a very good point i must remember that if or when I go to one

10.09.2019 09:22

Fantastic photos! I've been been to a concert that fired canons during the 1812 Overture. It is quite dramatic! I was trying, but didn't figure out the pirate riddle!
Good luck getting your online store set up!

10.09.2019 02:40

Thanks! I put the answer to the terrible joke at the very end.... Lol

10.09.2019 03:24

I was happy that you had it down there. Because I sure had not guessed on my own!

10.09.2019 03:48

Such awesome shots. Perfect timing on the cannons.

10.09.2019 23:22


11.09.2019 02:49

Howdy sir fotosdenada! Wow that is so cool and interesting! You got some great shots for us too. That's alot of canons, alot of noise and alot of smoke. That one canon looks like it's brass-plated.

What was the festival celebration for?

11.09.2019 00:14

Thanks. This is New Ulm's Herman Festival, celebrating the town's German heritage. There was beer, bratwurst, polka...

11.09.2019 02:48

Oh Polka! you can't get any funner than that! lol.

11.09.2019 15:16

Very impresive post and all shots. Could not walk away without leaving my full power UP

12.09.2019 04:49

Thanks. It was a fun shoot!

17.09.2019 14:40

Haa, thanks for pointing out where the answer to the joke was!! That was uber cool to see the flames spew out the canon and making it work with your camera was even better!

I didn't know Etsy stores were a place that you could start up a business. Hope you do well, and give Vern a pet for me!

14.09.2019 00:40

Thanks! I really should have remembered the ear plugs. It was hillarious to watch people jump. I would have taken photos of that, but I generally try to avoid people photos. Unless I know them and have permission to post the photos, anyway. The cannon folks were basically a presentation, so I figured they had better be ok with photos... lol.

I'm still debating the name for Etsty, as well as trying to figure out the details. There are a couple printers out there that can print on thicker, lightly textured papers that would be up to my standards but I'd have to purchase the prints, have them sent to me, then open them up and add my details before sending them on to the customer. I'm going to have to check in with some of the local printers in Minnesota and see if they can help stream-line things a bit. Even if it's a little more expensive, the result would be easier and more professional.

15.09.2019 18:28