Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

I have achieved a few good photos of my Christmas lights in years past.....on accident.  This year after reading Courtney's "How to Photograph Christmas Lights" I thought I would take the plunge, finally taking a photo of my Christmas tree using manual settings.  Last night, Sam went out to get us a Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake from Chick-fil-A (have I mentioned that it is the greatest mik shake EVER).  He came home to my tripod blocking the door, as I was set up trying to figure what shutter speed, ISO, and aperture I should use to photograph our tree.  I knew I needed to have my aperture closed up if I wanted a starburst effect (Courtney has posted here about achieving star burst effect), so I tried shooting at f16, f18, f20, and f22.  I was most pleased with the shot I got at f16. 

Here is SOOC: 
ISO 500, f16, SS2.5

I used various ISO settings and 500 seemed to allow enough light in to help with the warmth of the photo.  Not only did I use a tripod, but I used my timer to avoid any potential blur. 

Definitely better than the 2009 Christmas tree photo seen below.
(I am linking up to Pixel Perfect's Before and After, because I feel my last year's picture compared to this year's is much improved.  I did not do any post-processing, but these two pictures are evidence of before and after).
I also took some ornament photos that I am not as pleased to display, but here is one SOOC that I hope to process a little differently and use in another photo challenge later this week.
This is one of my favorite ornaments, but I would like the picture to show a little more detail and be a little brighter, so I'll have to work on it.  Feel free to offer critiques and suggestions.

By the way, if you have any interest in improving your photos and I stress ANY, be sure to visit Courtney at Click It Up A Notch.  She has excellent tips that ANYONE can use.  It doesn't matter if you are the casual point and shoot picture taker or a professional photographer.  I believe you will enjoy her blog.  If you stop by, follow along and recommend Click It Up A Notch to your friends who may need some photog assistance.  I know it has encouraged me to begin shooting in manual, to try new techniques, and to LAUGH along with those who make the same mistakes or have the same frustrations as I.  
Click it up a notchPhotobucket


Anonymous said...

I LIVE for Chick-Fil-A's Peppermint Chocolate Milkshake---except I have to drive over 45 minutes to get one :(
(But it is well worth it!)

Love your before and after---I too experimented with the starburst effect this week, but on the sun. I love the ornament picture, and can't wait to try the new effect on some of my ornaments! Wonderful job!

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

very pretty!!

and, oh, how I miss Chick-Fil-A!!!

carlotta cisternas said...

Your tree is beautiful! We have yet to get ours up, but I'm hoping to do so this weekend :)

Courtney said...

What a difference from this year and last year!! Great job!! I love the glow coming off your tree!! Just beautiful!! Your settings looks great and I'm so glad you busted out your tripod and remote. This picture just screams Christmas night and I can hear Santa coming down the chimney :O) I love the starbursts, especially those coming off your banister :O)

What is this about a Peppermint milkshake?? Oh how I miss Chick-fil-a! It has been over a year since I have had it :O(

Thank you for your kind words about my blog :O) Thanks for linking up!!! Just love it!

Amber said...

Love the comparison between this year and last year. This years shot is awesome!!! It makes me want to lie on the floor and look at the lights.

Ashley Sisk said...

Your tree looks absolutely beautiful. I need to shoot mine!

Mandy@ a sorta fairytale said...

Absolutely gorgeous!! You're tress is shaped so perfectly! And I love the lights on the stairs, too!

Anonymous said...

Love your shots and all of your wonderful decorations! My kids decorated the tree this year and didn't put half the ornaments on! I am so sad!

Janell said...

your tree is beautiful! Love the sparkly twinkling lights.

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

So pretty, the settings are perfect as it captured the star burst and reflection on the floor. I can hear the children's laughter as they running down your stairs.

I have yet to photograph my tree or play with starbursts. It's on my list of things to do this week.

Agree, nights shots definitely require the self timer or the remote. A remote is on my Chrismas list.

Teamarcia said...

Beautiful work Amber! And that shake sounds amazing!

Anonymous said...

Great photo! I love it. Now I want a milkshake.

Angie said...

Loving the reflection on the floor. Almost candy cane like

Mama Monkey said...

LOVE that starburst affect!!! Now I wish we had a Chick Fil a nearby! Haha

Us said...

I like the reflection of the lights off the floor. Nice shot Amber. I know I always feel so proud of myself when I get great shots on manual settings!