Top 5 Picks for Independence Day, 2012

Photography, Fresh Fruit, Decorations, Fireworks, and Blockbusters

1. How to Take Good Pictures of Fireworks

Photo Credit: Digital-photography-school.com

Photo Credit: Digital-photography-school.com

Most of us have experienced the disappointment of trying to capture an elaborate fireworks display on our phones or even using a high quality digital camera.  Out of hundreds of pictures you might get a few that are okay, but they don’t do justice to the amazing show you just witnessed.  Photographing fireworks takes some finesse, but with a little help from the experts and a few adjustments to your camera’s settings, you too can greatly improve the image quality and impress your friends.  Digital Photography School is an outstanding site providing information regarding photography tutorials, equipment, and post production tips.  Check out their post on How to Photography Fireworks Displays for a comprehensive list of suggestions covering everything from framing the shot to shutter speeds.  They help eliminate the guesswork making the entire experience more enjoyable and your shots more productive.  Photojojo also has information on their site with 11 Tips for Sparkling Fireworks Photos.  They offer a few additional practical reminders as well, such as taking along a flashlight, batteries, and plenty of memory cards.  One of the great joys of digital photography is the ability to take hundreds of pictures without the fear of using up your precious expensive film.  So visit the sites for a few great tips and don’t be afraid to try to photograph your fireworks this year.  You might be pleasantly surprised with what you are capable of.

2. Fresh Fruit and Fun Recipes

Photo Credit: glorioustreats.com

Photo Credit: glorioustreats.com

I love walking through the produce sections and farmers’ markets this time of year.  Everything is so beautiful and the fruit is just calling my name.  Bright red strawberries, plump blueberries, and juicy watermelon, I could live off this all season long.  And the 4th of July is the perfect time to take advantage of these ingredients, adding sweetness and nutrition to your holiday desserts and appetizers.  Here are a few of my favorites from across the web.  By simply slicing watermelon and using cookie cutters to form shapes such as stars, you can easily make a refreshing fruit salad when adding in some other berries.  Or using that same principle, place the festive shapes on a skewer to make fun fruit wands.  For a yummy dessert, create a beautiful flag fruit pizza to dazzle and delight your guests.  For those a little more ambitious, try your hand this year at a trifle.  Everyone will enjoy Strawberry, Blueberry Mini Cheesecake Trifles from Glorious Treats.  They look amazing and will add an extra spark to your cookout.  My mouth is watering already.

3. Crafts and Decorations

Photo Credit: marthastewart.com

Photo Credit: marthastewart.com

Patriotic crafts and decorations are a great way to brighten up the home and keep kids entertained during the hot summer days.  Folded paper art and pinwheels seem to be some of the trending craft activities this season.  Use your own supplies, or visit these sites for free printables and instructions: No Biggie, 4th of July Printable Toppers and Alphamom, Stars and Stripes Pinwheels.  You can find an easy DIY wreath to adorn the front door and welcome guests at All You.  If the kids are already complaining about being bored, they are sure to find at least one fun activity to occupy their time and make something wonderful from Ali Lily.  And don’t forget about the summertime parades and a little something for your pets.  Martha Stewart’s website has several options for dressing up bicycles, baskets, wagons, and even a bow tie for Fido.  Roll up your selves, get the family together, and find some enjoyment in embellishing your house this weekend.

4. Fireworks

Photo Credit: statuecruises.com

Photo Credit: statuecruises.com

For Americans, Independence Day would not be complete without some large explosions, bright lights, and oohs and aahs.  Residents of a few lucky states can still purchase fireworks to set off at home, but most of us rely on big public displays for our entertainment and black powder fix.  Check the paper and online resources for shows in your area; many parks, ball fields, and lakes are a great place to gather to take in all the action.  If you are close to a historic area, try to get out this year to participate in their celebrations.  Landmarks such as The Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore provide once in a lifetime opportunities to learn about the significance of this occasion with unsurpassed entertainment.  With all of the excitement and anticipation it can be hard to wait for dusk, especially if you get there early for a good seat.  Help pass the time with fireworks apps for your mobile device.  There are several to choose from; here are the top rated free ones for Andriod and iOS.  If this year it’s hard to find a big display locally due to dry weather conditions, or you just want to avoid the crowds, flip on the TV for live coverage of the country’s biggest events.  PBS is broadcasting a round up of the best the USA has to offer, including fireworks from the National Mall in Washington DC. NBC is covering the star-studded events from New York City.  And as if those were not enough, CBS is airing the famous Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular; you may have to set up the DVR so you don’t miss any of the festivities.  Whether you prefer to feel the ground shake in person, stay in the cool comfort of your own home, or control them digitally with your handheld device, you are sure to find an amazing fireworks display to suit your needs this year.

5. Summer Blockbuster; The Amazing Spider-Man

Photo Credit: theamazingspiderman.com

Photo Credit: theamazingspiderman.com

As soon as Memorial Day hits, our summers are jam-packed with the best entertainment Hollywood has to offer.  For our family, it wouldn’t be the 4th of July without a blockbuster matinee, and 2012 is promising to be a great one. Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man is a highly anticipated film featuring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.  Opening Tuesday, July 3rd, fans are excited to see a different side of Peter Parker, closer to the original comic book portrayals; edgy, sarcastic, and quick-witted.  Viewers are expecting phenomenal action sequences, breathtaking graphics, and a little romance thrown in as he struggles to protect his relationship with Gwen Stacy while also trying to save the city.  Visit the official site for games, trailers, apps, skins, and wallpapers.  Also, watch your station listings or add some of the classics to your DVD list and streaming queue.  Who can pass up a young Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July or Will Smith protecting us from an alien attack in Independence Day?  If you are looking to really expand your repertoire, 1776 is a 1970’s musical depicting the days leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Get your education, entertainment, and a little song and dance all rolled into one.  The Amazing Spider-Man might not have a chorus line, but I can’t wait to see it.  If you get to watch it this coming week let me know what you think.  I’ll also try to give my quick review on Facebook and Twitter; so if you have not already “liked” the Sezen Your Life page and still need to follow me on Twitter, click the links to get in touch.

Don’t forget to share your favorites and feel free to send in pictures of your Independence Day celebrations.  Have a very safe and happy 4th of July!

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