Monday, July 05, 2010

Getting a Closer Look

Even though the thumping at first reminded me of mortar fire, (I just finished a great book on the Vietnam War) I quickly realized that some community on the western side of the San Pablo Bay (that's the north end of the SF Bay to non-locals) had decided to go with fireworks on Saturday night (3rd). Since I had just set-up my new Zhumell 20x80 Super Giant Astronomical Binoculars with optional adjustable tripod, I was quickly able to zoom in on the show. I must say it was pretty cool and the big red, white & blue finish was extra super special cool. After the final flashes had gone out I was surprised by how long it took those last audio echoes to reach me in Berkeley.

I was going to get out my old slid rule and do some calculations when I decided it was better just to look up the nearest fiery attractions for Sunday night the 4th of July. I was fairly sure that San Francisco would hold it regular show from Pier 39 but I suspected that Treasure Island would block the lower part of my view but I was really more concerned with the foggy overcast that really hasn't burned off the past several days and really regroups as the solar heat decreases in the early evening.

I wondered if there were any East Bay displays, lo and behold there it was Berkeley 9:30 PM off the Berkeley Pier. That puts a big display about 2.5 miles from my elevated perch and I still have the SF fireworks in the distance.

So the new toy is fine tuned, banana bread is defrosted, Oohs and Aaaahs are at hand.

[8:30] one hour to go and the overcast (undercast?) is really coming in. I think the San Francisco fireworks will just be faint glows in the mist. As of right now I can still see the Berkeley Pier, but this is going to be an interesting pyrotechnical evening.

[10:15] Muted is seldom a word used to describe fireworks, but that is the perfect descriptor for tonight. The top third of the Berkeley display disappeared into the clouds. Many of the mid-range starbursts had their tops or bottoms dissected. Geometrically this was a display like no other I have seen but am betting those waiting in line to get out of the Marina parking lot might feel a bit dampened. Mother Nature has her way with us yet again.

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