How to Photograph Holiday Lights

The Plaza at night, from atop a parking garage.

Every holiday season the Country Club plaza in Kansas City is decorated in lights. It's a beautiful scene, and well worth the visit if you're in town. Light displays like this are a lot of fun to photograph, if you know a few simple tips to get the photos you want.
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Birthday Poster

Happy birthday Sharon!

My wife Sharon had a birthday this past weekend (can't tell you her age, but it rhymes with "nifty") and celebrated with a big party. One of my gifts was a poster of photos of her over those years, which was a big hit at the party. This can be pretty easy, if you just follow a few simple steps.
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One Fan of the Nikon 1

ISO 200,

As someone who loves taking pictures, I try to have a camera whenever possible. It's not always convenient to carry an SLR, though, and point-and-shoots can be disappointing. So I was happy to hear that Nikon was entering the "small camera with larger sensor" market. And after using the J1 for a couple of weeks, I've become an ardent fan.
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The Joy of Traveling Light

Vespa tour of Chianti Region.

I’m often asked what gear I take when traveling. And the answer is always the same – it depends on what I want to do. In the case of our recent vacation to Italy, the plan was to relax and enjoy the time together, not be out shooting from pre-dawn into night. Which meant little gear. But I still hoped to make some nice photos.
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Luck and Lightning

St. Peter's behind the Tiber. Jackpot!

My wife and I just returned from a vacation to Italy (yes, it was wonderful).The second night there, Sharon was tired and went to bed early, so I decided to take a walk. And was reminded once again that skill is important in photography, but luck can be even better.
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Love My VALS

My VALS in action.

One of my favorite accessories when doing flash photography is a VALS - Voice Activated Light Stand. In other words, a person you can direct to put a light where you need it. Recently my wife Sharon played this role for me, and is just one of the many reasons I love her :)
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Tethered for Speed

Tethered to Lenovo W510

Most of the time photographers tether their camera to the computer for instant feedback during a studio shoot. In my case, it was so I could deliver photos faster.
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PC Lenses

Cathedral01

PC (Perspective Control) lenses were first developed decades ago to bring tilt/shift functionality to 35mm cameras. View cameras have always been able to do this, but since 35mm cameras didn't have bellows, they couldn't. I recently had a chance to spend some time shooting one of the new models, and found it to be a lot of fun.
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Great Photo Conference

View from Mt. Sugarloaf, near the campus.

Earlier this month I attended the New England Camera Clubs Council annual conference, in Amherst, MA. I'd heard good things about it for years, and was pleased to find it lived up to its reputation. If you have a chance, you should really try to attend.
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My Big Summer Project

For the past nine years I’ve worked on the same big project each summer. And each fall I take that project and go on the road with it, starting another season of Nikon School.
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