Friday, December 7, 2012

The Tree

As I say every year, it is my greatest challenge.  Photographing Marywood's Christmas tree has always been really difficult for me.

Technique, in a moment.  First a little history.  I always wondered why I go back for the tree lighting every year, but I was never there as a student.  Marywood's president said yesterday this was the 30th year for a tree in the Liberal Arts building rotunda.  Before that, it was a decorated tree outside.  So, the first year for the indoor tree would have been my senior year.

I took an excess number of credits during my freshman and sophomore years.  I took classes every summer.  By the time my senior year rolled around, I was only at the school a couple days a week.  In fact, I had only one class as a second semester senior.  In other words, I was never around.

Marywood does Christmas right.  My favorite aspect is the Christmas season doesn't get rolling until AFTER Thanksgiving.  I wish more institutions and retailers could be like that.

The rotunda is spectacular without the tree.  The addition of the tree and the lights cannot be described, and I've yet to see a picture that does it justice.

That brings us to the technique.  If you use the flash, you see the tree, but wash out the lights.  If you go in the other direction, you see the lights, and nothing else.

I consulted the internet for tips.  It seems I'm not alone.  A lot of people are challenged by holiday light photography.  The suggestions I read involved two things-- keep the camera open, and use a tripod to avoid shake and blur.  Check.  Also, take a shot or two on every setting on the camera.  Double check.

It took a while Wednesday afternoon, but I came home with a few shots I liked.  They're not perfect, but they are OK.

Merry Christmas!