I walked around my neighborhood last night to do some Christmas lights photography. What drew me out was the fog that developed because it has started to warm up a little; it was up to 32° F and the snow was starting to melt! Even though it was 32° F it felt really cold in the fog and my hands went numb quickly in my thin gloves. So, I decided to not take the time to set-up a tripod and just hand hold my camera using ISO 1600.
It took me a good 15 minutes to settle on a camera position to create the kind of compositional interest I wanted. I can’t help myself—even with something as cliche as Christmas lights—the classic compositional building blocks apply:
FOREGROUND, MID-GROUND, BACKGROUND…
f5.0 @ 1/15sec., ISO 1600, Lens @ 24mm
What immediately attracted me to this view was the street light’s glow in the background (I loved that hazy glow created by the fog.).
As is usual with my style I tend to build my images from the BACKGROUND—FORWARD.
The fountain, as center of interest, is in the mid-ground. Then I “placed” my foreground object, that tree on the right, to fill the void on the right.
This kind of composition is all about alignment of the various elements, which I find much easier to do when I’m not using a tripod. Even with my Canon 5D MKII I expected some noise at 1600 ISO, but the RAW files looked remarkably good and after I ran my JPGS through NICK’s DeFine 2 noise reduction they looked really nice.
Now I’m scouting some more really elaborate Christmas light displays to photograph!
’Til next week…
Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com
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