Here are my shots for challenge #2 a close-up of a pack of firecrackers.
goldfish fireworks, I thought these were so cool looking.
my first "nature" shot part of a sunflower.
and for the water.
raindrops falling into the birdbath.
loved the way the water from the rain made the lantern look.
I was only able to come up with one patriotic close-up.
I really could only get one good "patriotic"
and here is my second nature shot sorry it got separated from the other one.
I think Lilies are always an interesting subject, solo or in a group. second nature shot.
so my tips would be
1. think outside the box- like with the fireworks..a good shot of unexploded fireworks can be better than an average one of them in action
2. know the limitations of your camera, my point and shoot, will blur the foreground and focus on the background if i get too close, so by adding a foreground flower i was able to get a better shot .
3. close-up doesn't have to be macro....photographing the tiniest details of something is awesome but some cameras just can't do that, so just get close up to something larger like a sunflower.