Don’t miss out on shooting holiday lights!

This is such a fun time of the year for creative photography!  Holiday lights are endless amounts of photo opportunities.  I can spend hours with lights!  Here are some ideas for you to try!

  1.  Long exposure zoom.  Try a 1 second exposure and zoom your lens DURING the exposure.  You drag the lights out!  I like setting my shutter where I want it and then letting ISO and aperture fall where they may within reason.  Play around with the settings…they aren’t nearly as important with some of these types of shots.  Just make sure the image looks the way you want it.
  2. If you have a lens collar on your telephoto…try rotating the CAMERA while exposing.  Just loosen the lens collar enough to free spin.  When zooming or rotating…start your motion before you press the shutter so all movement stays smooth.
  3. Get in close with a wide angle lens.  Even if you dont have a fast aperture…go long exposure and use a tripod.  Being in so close will still create great separation and bokeh.  Get right up to lights and ornaments or decorations and show them from a perspective we aren’t used to seeing.  Imaging them being life size.  What would they look like?
  4. Use a telephoto to really compress and knock out surrounding elements.

Make sure you print them too.  I have used these as holiday cards before.  Even just printing some 4x6s and writing your message on the back works!  People love receiving your work.  It adds such a special touch to the season.  You can use these images for holiday cards, as backgrounds for other projects and images, as creative wrapping paper (some companies print wrapping paper!), and even as holiday decorations.  Print a few 5x7s out and cut them into ornament shapes and hang them around the kitchen during a holiday party.  They will liven up the atmosphere and be great conversation pieces!  People will be blown away by how awesome your photography is.  Can’t really make these with cell phones!

Here are several images i’ve made!  You will notice my ISO even as high as 800 on some of these.  I could have used 200 and gone for longer exposures…truth be told…I was lazy.  It was late at night and I didn’t want to wait 30 seconds between shots!  It was more important that I had fun exploring different angles and ideas and keep moving versus watching the same lights for REALLY long exposures due to ISO.  Be mindful and don’t force limits that are not necessary.  Especially with abstract images.  Have fun!  Let your creative side play for once!  Put “reason” on holiday!

Take care all and be safe this holiday season!  Lot’s of great stuff coming up in the new year!

This is an example of zooming. (these were lights on my neighbors bushes.  I was shooting with a long telephoto!  Talk about creepy!  HAHA )

This was getting in close and panning the camera during the shot.

A mix of zooming and motion.

This was a long exposure with a quick zoom right before the shutter closed.  5 seconds at f/16 ISO 800.

F/8 15seconds ISO 200.  150mm or so.

5 seconds at f/16 ISO 800


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