Psychological inkblots or fireworks? You decide

So. I have decided it was wise not to kill my boys over the basement flood, even though they might have deserved it. I also forgave them when, a mere day later, my boys were wrestling in the basement and my oldest child put a giant hole in the wall with his knee. (Yay, Dad! Another hole for you to fix on your next visit!)

I have not ruled out selling them to gypsies, however.

But for fun, I thought I'd show you some of my favorite fireworks pictures from this year and tell you how to make some of your own for next year.

I know, it might have been nice to have this information on, say, July 3rd. But what can I say? This is the best you can expect from me this week.

I love taking pictures of fireworks - it's like distorted, colorful works of art that come out gloriously different every time you click the shutter. You never know what you're going to get. Someday I may mount a few of these on canvas and find someplace cool to hang them.

First, your camera must be set to manual for this. For those of you who waste a perfectly good SLR camera by keeping it on the auto setting, turn the knob to the giant "M."

Also, if the previous paragraph applies to you, stop what you are doing immediately. Log on to Amazon, send away for this book, and pray I forgive you for your ignorance.

For those of you who actually know how to use your camera properly, you will be allowed to move on to step two.

Lower your shutter speed until it says "bulb." This is the slowest shutter speed setting and will allow you to manually hold the shutter open for as long as your little heart desires.

You can put your f-stop (or aperture) at whatever you'd like - I played around with mine and found that the wider apertures (or smaller f-stop numbers) worked better as it allowed more light in. I also had my ISO set to 100.

Then, just point at the fireworks and shoot, holding down on the shutter release for as long as you like.

I didn't take my tripod this year, and I wish I would have. Balancing the camera on my knees while shooting in the rain wasn't ideal.

But they turned out pretty cool - each one more different than the last.

And afterwards, it's totally fun to study each picture and find something in the lines, squiggles, and colors. Kind of like a homemade inkblot test of sorts. You can give them to your family for an enlightening night of psycho-analysis. (Get it, en-LIGHT-ening? Okay. Bad pun).

For the record, my children saw food in nearly every picture. What does that say about us?

Is it just me or does that last one look slightly like Daniel Craig? A little? No?

Fine. Party poopers.