My love of photography and photojournalism is very well documented. Just the normal day-to-day routine of documenting my community is a joy.

But now and again — pretty regularly actually — I enjoy the perks of being the guy who walks around with big cameras and lenses swinging from my shoulders. Access.

I’ve been able to shake hands with Muhammad Ali and photograph an American president. I’ve eaten Mexican food with a “Beverly Hills 90210” star and walked the golf course with World Golf Hall of Fame members.

On a more local level, I get to be a part of a lot of great wine, music and entertainment events right here in my own backyard. I’m “The UB Guy” to a large segment of the population.

And my cameras are my all-access pass.

Sometimes it’s glamorous hobnobbing, and other times it’s gloriously nitty gritty. And those are often my favorite things to share with readers.

Last year I checked in with the folks at Western Fireworks Display about spending some time with their pyrotechnicians to shoot some behind-the-scenes photos of the setup for future publication. The answer was something like: “Sure. No smoking.”

While I expected electronic fuses and computer consoles, what I got was delightfully old school and hands on, right down to the use of standard road flares for ignition. My only disappointment was not being able to rub shoulders as they lit the mortar shells, which would have required a license.

So here, courtesy of my Nikon ‘passes’ is a small look behind the scenes at what goes into the fireworks display you’ll see this July 4th at Walla Walla Community College.

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