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Photographing the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Summer Symphony 

click to enlarge I used a wide lens to make a fun portrait of these two patriots attending the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's 45th Summer Symphony at Memorial Park on July 4th. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • I used a wide lens to make a fun portrait of these two patriots attending the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's 45th Summer Symphony at Memorial Park on July 4th.
I was invited by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic to photograph its Summer Symphony on July 4th in Memorial Park. The symphony is one of the Philharmonic’s marquee events, running for 45 years.

When I think of July 4th, I think of fireworks, red, white and blue, and good old-fashioned fun. This year I got to document the event and create pictures that illustrated a great American holiday and the symphony’s long-held tradition.

Colorado Springs is about as patriotic a city as you can find anywhere in the country, especially with several military bases in the area. There’s not another holiday that shows off Springs residents and their patriotism better than Independence Day.

I wanted to capture that feeling as I roamed Memorial Park during the symphony performance.

Using a long lens, I filled my frame with faces of happy, patriotic people, and captured behind-the-scenes moments of musicians and the audience. A long lens also helped me clean up the busy backgrounds.

But better than a long lens is my wide lens — I like to get close and layer the images from foreground to background.

As sunset over Pikes Peak kept getting better, I was able to saturate the images with color and make layered pictures filled with fun moments.


The next time you're at a holiday like the July 4th or a concert performance, bring your camera and practice these techniques. You won’t regret it.

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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