When we got out the trees for the back deck this year, we discovered that they would not light up anymore. These are the pre-lit metal trees that you can find at most drugstores and chain stores. I came across the 90% off sale at CVS one year after Christmas and bought a few (I just can't resist a bargain!). The trees have been subjected to extreme weather conditions for several years, so it was inevitable that they would "die" eventually. Rather than toss them out, my husband had the great idea to keep the trees and just wrap some new lights on them. We chose to use more of the super energy efficient LED lights that we have been using on the back fence and deck railings for several years.
I have been experimenting with taking photos of the lights and the trees. I often turn off the flash on my camera but then I find that my photos are sometimes blurry. I finally decided to get out my tripod and do a few experiments with the lighting and camera settings.
To add even more light, I filled a large glass vase with some white lights and placed it in the base of the table, with some of the lights nestled around the vase on the outside.
I got this vase at Costco several years ago - you can often see similar ones there for fairly low prices. If you are lucky, you might find something like this at a rummage sale or in a thrift shop.
Here is the first photo I took of the candies on the table. This was taken with the ceiling lights on and the flash turned off. The slow shutter speed needed for natural light makes it difficult to hold the camera perfectly still long enough and the photo is blurry.
Using the flash gives a bright and sharper photo but the image is a bit harsh and flat looking.
When I used the tripod with the flash turned off, I got this image - the items are in focus and the light is much prettier. You can see that there are no harsh shadows when you compare this to the flash photo just above. The tree lights also have a pretty glow around them.
Here is a close up example - candy in natural light, no flash, hand held camera - blurry photo (it might be less blurry if you have steadier hands - not all of my photos without flash turn out this blurry).
Flash used, in sharp focus but the colors are washed out and there are reflections of the flash on the foil wrappers.
With the tripod and no flash I got a much prettier and more realistic image. The candies are in focus and the reflections on the wrappers are from the lights on the tree.
Since I had the tripod out, I decided to try some outdoor photos. It was rather chilly so I didn't take very many but I am planning to bundle up and take more photos of our house and the decorations in our neighborhood with my tripod. This is a view from the lawn, looking back toward the house and the trees on the deck.
This was taken from the far corner of the lower deck and you can see some of the lights on the lower fence in the lower left corner.
These are the lights on the lower fence, taken from the deck - I really like the clear jewel colors of the LED lights and they are so much more energy efficient than the old style lights. I don't particularly care for the white LEDs (they are not as warm as the old fashioned white lights) but I think the colored lights are very pretty.
Using the tripod makes such a difference because the shutter can be open for a long time with no motion blurring. I think this photo took about eight seconds of exposure. I like the way the landscape lighting on the tree in the center also lights up the tall tree above.
This photo also shows the landscaping lights along with the holiday decorations.
This is one of my favorites. The reflection of the lights strung on the inside of the railing makes such a pretty glow on the slats.
Here I cropped in on a small section of the railing - wouldn't this make an interesting background paper?
I have had a tripod since high school when I got my first "good" camera. I used it a lot but then fell out of the habit. It really is not much trouble to set it up and I am looking forward to trying more low light photos with the tripod.
On the Craft Gossip site I saw a link to a blog with some more information about shooting photos of your Christmas tree. Click HERE to go to the August Tea Photography blog to read Rachel's helpful post.
Just a couple more things to mention today...
It's Monday, so there will be new sales posted on Blitsy. They are having a "Race to 20,000" on the site right now. When the 20,000th member joins that person and the person who referred them will each get a $200 gift card to spend on Blitsy.
So far the items for sale have been great with lots of Tim Holtz, Spellbinders, Ranger products, Zutter, 3M ATG gun and LaBlanche stamps! If you haven't joined this free membership site yet, here is my link that you can use to sign up - there is no cost or obligation for you to sign up.
After you join, you can refer your friends and family - go to the "invites" page to get your link and you may earn some credits to use for shopping on the site. Sales last for a week (while supplies last) and new items are posted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m. Central Time. If you become a "fan" of Blitsy on Facebook, you can get a code for 10% off your first order - on top of the great prices they have already!
I'll be stalking the site at 10 a.m. Central to see what new items are offered today - and may be placing my third order!
Lettering Delights - new Bundle
If you like the style of the Cricut Imagine "Snow Angels" and "Nursery Tales" cartridges, you might want to take a look at a new bundle from Lettering Delights with artwork by the same designer, Sheri Berry.
There are cupcake wrappers, a paper pack, and alphabet and four graphic sets (labels, borders, ornaments and snowflakes) in the bundle - all for $20. You can also take $5 off an order of $20 or more with the code "snowflake."
Just click on the name to see everything in the Holiday Frosting Bundle.
My "to do" lists are getting a bit shorter but I still have some more decorating, shopping and wrapping to do. How are your holiday preparations coming along? I hope you have a great day and can cross some more off of your lists by tonight!
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