Illuminating Cross-Section Photos Reveal the Insides of Fireworks

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If you’re reading this in the US, chances are you spent some part of the past weekend staring up at a night sky illuminated by a series of beautiful, multicolored explosions. And perhaps you wondered to yourself, where do all those gorgeous hues and shapes and ooh-and-ahh-inspiring special effects come from? How do fireworks actually work? Here’s a basic answer, but more visually oriented types might prefer Seattle-based photographer Andrew WaitsBoom City series (spotted via Junkculture). By cutting Roman candles, smoke balls, and other everyday fireworks in half and photographing the results against a stark, black background, Waits gives us a rare hint of what happens after we light the fuse.

Mighty Cracker. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Blue Thunder Roman Candle. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Orange Ammo Smoke. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Ground Boom Flower. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

World Class Clay Color Smoke Balls. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Pop-Its. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Lightning Flash. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Flying Colour Butterflies Rocket. Photo credit: Andrew Waits

Moon Travelers Bottle Rocket. Photo credit: Andrew Waits