300 Sunny Days in Colorado

Susie Lindau

Susie Lindau
Boulder, Colorado, USA
April 11
Writer and illustrator
I am a Boulder writer who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride! I finished a paranormal thriller based on my own experiences. Creepy, right?


Editor’s Pick
JULY 5, 2011 10:45AM

In Case You Missed It!! A Photo and Video Essay

Rate: 33 Flag


I remember piling into the family car and driving to the Henry Vilas Zoo to watch the fireworks. People from all over Madison would search the park grounds for a patch of grass with an unobstructed view free of tree branches. As it became dark, we would anticipate the boom of a blank which would be fired off to silence the crowd and start the display. Finally one would soar overhead and explode into a myriad of blazing color. "Ooh. Ah!" the crowd would exclaim.


The echoing of blasts from pyrotechnics were not the only sounds heard. Howler monkeys would chime in with their cries.  Camels, bison, and emus would join in the choir of discontented howls. Winky the elephant would trumpet out his confusion. Disgruntled peacock’s hoots would pierce the night. Then the lions would begin to roar and join in the choir of restless and distressed animals.


The finale would come when several rockets were lit by hand and sent up all at once. The crowd would cheer in amazement. Tired, but happy, we would stumble back to the car and drive home. The zoo animals would quiet down, relieved the deafening sounds had ceased


Years later, the zookeepers spoke out about the displays and how it stressed out the caged animals. Eventually, the fireworks were moved to the neighborhood parks located throughout Madison.


This year we drove down to Folsom Field on CU’s campus for the fireworks display. They are now computerized and timed to music. Crowds soon filled the stadium. There would be no obstructed views in here. After a wonderful and heartfelt sing-a-long including “This Land is Your Land,” and concluding with, “The Star Spangled Banner,” the show was ready to begin. My family and I speculated on where they were going to be shot from. I was amazed to see they all were blasted from small boxes set on the north end zone bleachers.


What a fantastic display! I wanted to share my photos and video of the finale. No animals were stressed out in this presentation. Well, maybe a few neighborhood dogs and cats.


I love the special effects feature of my camera.














 It was fun to play with color that seemed to be drawn on the sky. I will have to wait until next year to experiment again!


Watch the finale!

All photos and video by S. Lindau 

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Absolutely beautiful.
I was wondering how they got the ones
that looked like plasma globe
special effects
upon special effects
how very cool
thanks for sharing and the great video finale
rated with love
Thanks Neil! I used a feature on my camera that opens up the aperture for about 6 seconds. I really enjoy playing with it.
It was the end of a great day with the family!
I did not watch the fireworks.. I was glued to my TV watching hardcore pawn.. not porn .. pawn..

Great pictures and I am glad they moved them for the animal's sake..
Really nice, didn't see them this year, thanks for this.
Gorgeous photos, Susie! I'm glad you and yours had a great day : )

...and those poor animals back when!! I was shocked to read they ever had fireworks at a zoo. Glad someone came to their senses.
Linda - I wonder how many years they had the fireworks at Vilas. You would think it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it was harmful to the animals. Haha! Rocket scientist! -a little lame Monday morning humor!
Thank you Susie. Terri and I stayed home and watched a movie. Believe it or not, these were all I saw this year!
Thanks for stopping Rita! I had no intention of blogging today, but when I looked at the photos and video, I had to share.
What Neilpaul said.
Thanks Just Thinking!
It is shocking to think back at how they allowed the fireworks to be presented at that location. The deafening sound must have been terrifying!
Hey Scanner!
Last year it rained and we were at a party when the fireworks went off. I was amazed when I heard that they shot them off in the rain. We are definitely going back to Folsom next year!
Your photos are excellent! What kind of camera do you use?

Thanks RP! I missed a bit of the finale setting my camera up in video mode. It was fantastic this year!
I missed them this year, so I'm glad for this post. Thanks, Susie.
Fantastic photos! I just watched a documentary on PBS called 3,2,1 Fireworks. I now have a much deeper appreciation for them.
Myriad - Thanks for stopping to take a peek!

L- I have a pocket Coolpix camera. It is great for flash and outdoor pictures. But, I have found that it is pretty slow like a lot of digital cameras. Twice I tried to take pictures out my window of a beautiful fox that stopped to look back while running through my backyard. Both times the camera took too long to start up to get a decent photo. Thanks!
I am glad you stopped Sarah!

Thanks Ischmoopie! I would have enjoyed that documentary too.
What Neilpaul and Myriad said. Thanks for sharing this.
Terrific! And thanks for the zoo memory. Vilas was the zoo of my childhood.
That was tremendous, tremendous fun!
Thanks Fernsy!

They still don't charge Matt. Remember the prairie dog village? - and the monkey house? They have a foundation which raises additional funding each year.

Thanks Monsieur!
Yay!!! I love the special effect feature of your camera too. I'm also glad to hear they moved the fireworks away from the zoo. Thank you for the photos and the video, it was a real treat.
Thanks L'heure for stopping by to read!
Nice camera work. I forgot to bring my good camera last night. The only one I had in the car was a pitiful little thing so I didn't even try to photograph the night sky. Glad you brought your fancy pants camera along. I enjoyed this.
OMg these are a real blast.
Thanks Blue! It is actually just a Nikon Coolpix!!
Thanks Algis! That means a lot coming from a real photographer!
Neat pics!! Well worth the EP and Cover!! KA-BOOOOOM!! :)
Ha! This is just simply lovely, Susie. Wonderful pics, Happy 4th to you too. R
Well shut the front door! I've got that same, exact camera and had it with me last night. It's fairly new and I have been less than satisfied with it. Now I'm thinking I may just need to learn how to use it (not one to read directions). Bet you didn't know you would be helping a clueless woman get aquainted with her camera did ya?
Great story and brilliant photos.
This stuff is magical--I mean, I know how fireworks work and all, yet, despite that, I am still mesmerized by them, the way they rip open the night sky with light and color. So . . . magical. Thank you for these photos.
I am glad that I could help you out Blue!
Thanks Mary! I am glad they turned out~
Thanks Mary! I am glad you stopped by!
Thanks Jerry for stopping by!
Thanks Miguela! They were amazing this year.
terrific photos/commentary r.
Thanks for stopping Jon!
I love how you describe fireworks setting off zoo animals. I could hear them distinctly.
I watched fireworks from a hill this year, they were kind of distant and blurry. I think I like your photos better!
Thanks for reading Leon! I remember asking my mom when I was in high school if they still had fireworks at Vilas and she responded that they had shut them down years before because of the animals. Looking back I am stunned that they ever had them down there. What were they thinking?? A person can observe the family dog getting nervous when it is inside the house and firecrackers go off!!
Well done, Susie, considering (at least from personal experience) that it is difficult to photograph fireworks. I love them, but at the same time I'm conflicted about burning all that money for a few minutes of spectacle - Montreal hosts the International Fireworks Competition every summer June-July.
I bet that is fantastic Fusun!! In Boulder a real estate company pays for most of it and the rest comes from donations!!!!
Hooray! With New Mexico ablaze everyone was so uptight about a forest floor that the paper described as essentially "freeze-dried gasoline" that it was hard to enjoy the fireworks (and there was a fire set by one of the city's own shows). I suppose Colorado can't be much better (I hope you're not getting our smoke the way we got AZ's!), but what a show! (And what a showcase on that show!)
Too bad we didn't have cameras (and photographers) like you back in the 60s! Most psychedelic.
Thanks, Susie! I missed the 'works this year and loved your gorgeous photos-- their bright but ghostly tails evoke magical deep-sea creatures. So cool.

Makes me want to move to Colorado by next July! (Actually, I've been dreaming of Colorado since I fell in love with the Rockies on a one-day business trip to Denver eight years ago... What am I still doing here in Virginia?! Cursed inertia!!) Thank you for posting!
wow. what terrific photos!
Glad to hear from you LoveinMexico! Recently, we did get a tremendous amount of smoke and today seems a little hazy. It is still really green here. We have gotten a lot of rain this year. I was a afraid we would get the dust from the recent Arizona storm. We have gotten those in winter before and it is weird to see the orange-brown color everywhere!
Thanks for stopping by Luminous! My son is a part-time DJ and creates electronic music. He borrowed my camera last night for a gig and am looking forward to seeing some of his psychedelic photos once he wakes up!!!
Thanks for finding my blog JJ! That's what I thought when I looked at them. It is fun to play with the open aperture. I never know what it's going to capture.
Move on out! It is still really green out here even though the temps are in the low 90's. The mornings and evenings are cool. You would love it!
Thanks Sheila and Candace! I hope you saw the video. These were the best fireworks I have ever seen.
I am looking forward to next year!
Somehow I DID miss this stunning photo essay. Gorgeous. Added you as a favorite and rated for being so gorgeous!
Thank you so much Christina!