Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Decorations at Night

Taking photos of your Christmas decorations at a challenge. Right at dusk seems to be the best time for me, when the sky still has just a little bit of light and color, but the shadows are deep. That's when your Christmas lights look their best!

My Christmas decorating style is classic, but minimalist (translation: lazy). You won't see a lot of tableaux at my house; no Santa and his reindeer on the roof or a huge wreath hanging on the door that I made by hand from materials I lovingly gathered from our property. I'm just not creative enough for that sort of thing. I keep hoping that one morning I'll wake up and channel Martha Stewart, but so far that hasn't happened.

In the meantime, I nagged until my sweet hubby hung icicles along the roofline. Considering the color of our home's exterior, the traditional white wire icicle strings looked very out of place, so we had to look long and hard to find icicle strings with green wire. But we finally lucked out and they practically disappear in the daytime, blending in with the siding and roof.

Our front porch is very small so there's no room to decorate out there, so I hung a couple of wreaths and called it "done". Maybe by next Christmas I'll come up with some better ideas, but for now this is the extent of our exterior Christmas decor.

So...back to photographing your Christmas lights. When I first went outside, it looked like dusk to me, but not to the camera. There was still a lot of light so the icicles couldn't really shine. So I went back inside, waited 10 minutes, and tried again.

Much better! Both times I tried to stand in roughly the same spot, ensuring that the Christmas tree in our living room was centered in the sidelight next to the front door.

But the pictures are still a little dull, looking straight on at the front door. So I changed my angle from looking straight on to looking at the front door from an angle. Once again, earlier:

And the same angle a little bit later:

Better! The sky is so blue yet it's dark enough for the lights to show up brightly.

Now from a distance:

And from a distance a little later:

All of these photos would have been crisper if I had put the camera on my tripod, but frankly I was freezing my tootie off and didn't feel like dragging it out and starting over.

Once I was done, I was going back inside and noticed the way the Christmas tree's lights were reflecting through the prisms of the front door's leaded glass panel.

Pretty! But if you step in just a little bit closer, it becomes...

Magical. *sigh* Isn't photography fun?

In case anyone is interested, I did not use manual settings on my camera. I decided to be whimsical (translation: lazy) and used my camera's night photography setting, which on a lot of cameras is an icon with mountains and a moon. I turned off the camera's flash, held my breath, and slowly pressed the shutter while being as still as possible.

Now get out there and take some pictures of your Christmas decorations at night. Have fun!



  1. Beautiful Pam
    Ok so Santa is dropping me off on your rooftop to visit, hope you have a spare room LOL, I am taking lessons from you on this camera business!!!

    I love your home!

  2. What a Beautiful Home you have!
    Love the pictures of the lights especially the last one where the tree reflects through the glass.
    Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week!

  3. Oh Pam - your decorations and photos are positively magical!!! I love white icicle lights - and you have the perfect roofline for them....Funny - we have a brown house and I have FITS when the DH goes to replace burned out strands with the ones with white wires....grrrr....He doesn't quite "get it." And you will likely not be seeing any photos of our outdoor decorations - because there aren't any yet - and it's not looking good. Each year some strands are burnt out, don't work, go missing, etc. and have to be replaced - since he hasn't started that task yet, the odds of finding the correct color lights and wire are pretty much nil. :o(( Makes me so sad. Snowing here again today....Hope you have a great week! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  4. Pam,
    Your home is beautiful...and even more so with the Christmas lights. And I love that last photo you took of the tree showing thru the magical!!!

  5. Great tips and beautiful photos! So pretty and festive! Love the colors of the sky, too! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

  6. Love the pics of the lights and you are right about taking them at night. The only thing I have right now to take pics is my cell phone and we know they never turn out good unless of course you spend $300,00 for your phone. Yours are very festive. All of ours except a few went out and I was going to try and take some pics and there was nothing lit up except the porchrailing and a few bushes :( Will try to get them fixed tomorrow when it is light out

  7. oh I love the photos you took..especially the ones through the prisms.;) they are awesome.;)

  8. Oh, I love that beautiful blue sky behind the brilliant lights! You have a gorgeous home! WOW! ♥♥♥


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