Fireworks and Smoke Over Chicago: The Tall Ships at the Navy Pier

The Festival of the Tall Ships came to Chicago this last weekend. Touring the Great Lakes this summer, the Tall Ships are large, traditionally rigged sailing vessels, some of which are replicas of historical ships. Despite the heat and forecast of rain, we headed to Chicago to see the ships for ourselves and compare their sailing adventures to ours on Lake Superior.

We booked a nighttime sail on the Appledore IV, a “gaff schooner” (whatever that means) to watch the Festival fireworks. Although the evening threatened rain, the night came in with a cool breeze and calm seas. On the Navy Pier, we boarded the Appledore with about 25 other people. Once we were in the open waters of Lake Michigan, the Captain and crew raised the sails. I brought my camera but not a tripod, as that was not permitted.

Photographing fireworks from a sailboat cutting across the water in darkness was a challenge. Not having a tripod made it even harder. And because the ship was turning and coming about frequently, I had to change sides of the boats so that I was facing the city. Several times I tripped and stepped or fell on other passengers. Fortunately they were good humored about it.

The photos I feature here are my favorites. The featured photograph shows the scene after the fireworks ended, when smoke from the explosions blew over the south lake shore, illuminating the city. The photograph below shows the fireworks. I’m not sure why, but the photo appears darker here than it does in Lightroom.

Smoke and Fireworks

Fireworks for the Tall Ships




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