Silent Night

Posted 12/20/2008 by fotoloka in Labels: , , , ,

For years, I've made it a tradition to create my own holiday cards. Occasionally, however, the muse of good ideas skips out on me and I trawl through the racks of commercial offerings hoping to be drawn to an image I like with a message I also can live with. Or vice versa. Sometimes it comes together, other times, my Virgo nature kicks in and I skip sending out cards all together rather than settle for something less than "perfect." It almost came to that this year. No inspiration was bubbling up, nor were there any cards on the rack that called to me. One was close, until I saw it was drowning in sparkle. Not a love match. So looking at my bulletin board in my studio the other night, I was drawn to a photo I did long ago during a candle ceremony at my meditation center in LA where I then lived. It became my card that year. For this variation, I added words with Photoshop. My procrastination precluded getting them printed in time and I couldn't deal with my printer to make them myself (don't ask) so I had them made up as 4x6 prints at the local Wolf's Camera, and hunted down those cards with the frame to slip in the picture of your kids or dog/cat and send off to all the aunts and uncles. Five stores later, I found some that looked ok. Horray. Done. Out the door into the mailbox....whew.

Then, two nights ago, I fell in love with a scene I'd been looking at for a few weeks as I drove from my drive-way up to the road. A neighbor with a forested front yard had strung colored lights on a scrawny little pine tree. It was endearing, but I didn't find it special enough to bother dragging the camera out into the night. I've also been rather lethargic during these early darkness times; wanting rather to be in the house, much warmer and cozy. was so appealing as I passed it this time, heading home. The night silent and still, the air soaked with a fine mist created a scene embued with a life of it's own........a mysterious space surrounded by large old trees, this ungraceful little tree wrapped and glowing with light.

I shot it as a sequence of frames set at different shutter times, counting up to over a minute on bulb setting to get the darker areas to show some detail in the shadows, then did some short exposures to get the lights not blown out. Later, layering two of the raw digital frames after doing some fiddling with Photoshop, I carefully brushed in the less exposed string of lights from the second layer which I hid behind the main image. It took some time and small brush sizes to get the darker lit tree exposure to blend in realistically with the original level of light surrounding it.

Now I was faced with having an image I wanted to share, but I mailed outthe other one....what's a girl to do?....At 2am this morning, an e-card design was born in I was able to share my new night photo with all the rest of my friends online. Yaaaay technology.

Happy Holidays to everyone....Let hope ring out in 2009!

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