This is an excerpt from this week's Picture This column.

Molly Fitzpatrick is a poetry enthusiast.

When she's got a lot on her mind, or a jumble of words clogging her brain, she often feels the need to write them down. Not on paper, or in a journal, but with chalk while on her hands and knees on the driveway.

It began with Walt Whitman. Read on.


The July 4th fireworks show went on as scheduled, despite the hard and steady rain that fogged my lens and made for a miserable night for pictures. The annual show at Veterans Field in downtown Ridgewood, traditionally one of the most popular fireworks shows in North Jersey, had less turnout than usual -understandably. The show also began about 20 minutes early due to the rain.

As is often the case, some of the best photographs are made under the most arduous of circumstances. I've shot July 4th fireworks many many times -I usually volunteer to work July 4th, and the weather is usually terrific and the pictures not so much. But this photo is my best yet I think, and it certainly was the most difficult to execute.

The thing that makes shooting fireworks difficult is not the shutter setting, but finding a subject for the foreground that gives your exploding display some context.

Technically, you need a tripod and shoot with a slow shutter speed. Determining proper exposure is the key.
Exposure for this photo:
ISO =400
F-STOP =5.0
under an umbrella, using a low-set tripod

Happy B-Day America!