Thursday, December 9, 2010

Frosty the Snowman

Brandi has been playing around with different perspectives. Scott has been using HDR and both have been getting some great shots. Poor Jay'me has been having some technical difficulties and doing a great job working with what she has. My latest photography obsession has been getting those awesome warm, glowy, Christmas lights as a background. I have spent the last few nights practicing, messing around with all my settings to get this right. It is probably because the Christmas season is in full swing. We, down in the central part of the state have no snow (all you northerners are stealing it from us) to use for my Christmas portraits, so lights it is. I actually love Christmas lights, they are one of the absolute best parts about Christmas but I have always had a hard time getting them right. So while this shot is far from exactly where I want to be, considering where I was at (read, I shudder at looking at my Christmas light picture archives) I was pretty pleased with what I got.

Nikon D2X
ISO 400
Lens My Nifty Fifty again (love this lens!!!)
Aperture - F/2.8
Shutter Speed - 1 sec.
No Flash

All I did to the picture was give it a touch of fill light in Lightroom. Mr. Snowman was an absolutely perfect subject. He never argued or gave me a goofy, unnatural smile and he always sat exactly where I wanted him to sit. I had a lot of fun practicing on him. My connection to Brandi's picture is tenuous at best. If you look at her shot you can see some holiday lights and decorations set up around the storefront, that's what I used as my connection. Sorry but it is the Christmas/holiday season and I had to jump on anything I could :).

The key to getting nice Christmas lights is to have a really, slow shutter speed, so use a tri-pod or something to help you stay steady, and as low(wide open) an aperture as you can get to get that nice blur look. Also your subject should be not too close to the lights themselves. Mr. Snowman here was a few feet away in reality, and do not, I repeat do not, use a flash unless you absolutely must. Here is an article worth reading about to help you with those holiday light pictures.

Now settle yourself down with the lights off and your holiday lights on, grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or whatever floats your boat, and join me in enjoying this most beautiful part of the holiday season.

1 comment:

  1. What's up Frosty? He's so cute. I know what some of your holiday light archives look like (the benefit of being your friend for almost 20 years) and I can say this is without a doubt your best work yet. To get good holiday lights (without just unfocusing your camera) you have to really understand how lights and your camera work.
    Well done!!!
    A tip for others trying this. If you have a moving subject in the foreground (lets say a child) and can't use a 1sec shutter speed you can place a table lamp (60 watts-ish) in front of your subject giving your subject more light allowing for an increased shutter speed but not casting any light onto the Christmas lights and washing them out.