Hurst resident Mary Hulshouser parked her car in a lot next to the Hurst Athletic Complex, set up a tripod and prepared to shoot a few photos of the night sky on July 3.

Across the lot and behind a wall of trees, the Hurst Fire Department shot off fireworks in the fire station’s lot to begin the town’s Fourth of July celebrations. 

With a loud boom, crackle, pop and a click of a camera, Hulshouser took a photo that would eventually win the Fort Worth Report’s July photo contest titled, “Patriotism.”

Hulshouser, who said she submits a photo to the Fort Worth Report’s contest page every month, said she was excited to finally win one.

“Oh, well this is awesome,” she said after hearing the news.

Last Fourth of July, Hulshouser said she went to five different firework shows across Tarrant County to take photos. This year, she decided to keep it a little more lowkey. 

“This year, with my photos, I just stuck close to home,” Hulshouser said. 

Usually, she takes a lot of nature photos of birds, flowers and bees. But, for this occasion, she decided to venture out of her comfort zone and shoot some fireworks, she said.

While the fireworks shot off into the sky with a bang, her Canon camera froze the world around her with a snap of the shutter.

“Photography is calming,” Hulshouser said. “It’s also fun to watch myself try to progress and try to get better.”

Hulshouser has been heavily into photography since she moved to Hurst from Shreveport, Louisiana, seven years ago. She moved because of a promotion with the United States Postal Service, where she works as a retention operations specialist. 

She lives by herself, with no pets, but has family in Shreveport, who she sees a few times a year. 

Next time she’s there, she’ll spend a lot of time taking pictures. Hopefully, she can win another Fort Worth Report contest soon, she said. 

Matthew Sgroi is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Matthew Sgroi is the 2022-23 Fort Worth Report multimedia fellow. He can be reached at or (503)-828-4063. Sgroi is a current senior at Texas Christian University, majoring...