I was contacted by John Polk at Alpha Lee Fireworks here in Austin on account of that fireworks shot that somehow ended up in the Smithsonian -- it turns out his company shot those things off. He invited me down on Saturday night behind the scenes of their big fireworks show here in Austin.
John mentioned to me that the fireworks shot got a lot of people he knew interesting in HDR photography... and they all were visiting my HDR Tutorial ( stuckincustoms.com/2006/06/06/548/ ) - cool!
I brought Ethan and we got there about 2 hours before the show. He took about half an hour to show us around the trailers, the shells, the wiring, the firing board, and everything. It was very cool and interesting, especially since I have shot so many of these things to see how it really works backstage.
He then granted Ethan and I up close and personal action while we sat right by the trailers. We wore earplugs because we were so dang close... I used a 10 mm, so you can see the launch point as well as the peak of the explosion here.
See the larger one at stuckincustoms.com/2008/03/30/ground-zero-at-the-fireworks/