I just finished putting our Christmas lights on the outside of our home. I use multi-colored lights inside and out. White lights are beautiful and elegant. But, I'm old-fashioned and multi-colored lights bring a feeling of nostalgia and Christmases of the past.
I began to think about Christmas lights and wondered when they were invented. I wasn't surprised to learn that electric Christmas lights were connected to Thomas Edison. During the season in 1880, Edison, who had invented the incandescent bulb the previous year, hung strings of lights outside his laboratory in New Jersey. The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Edison. He had Christmas tree light bulbs especially made for himself. He displayed his tree which was hand-wired with 80 red, white, and blue lights the size of walnuts. By 1990, businesses started stringing up Christmas lights in their windows. Lights were too expensive for the average person; so electric lights for Christmas trees did not become popular until 1930.
Now, that you have a history lesson, let me show you a few lights I've captured. I'm still learning how to take night and inside pictures with my camera. For the first two pictures inside, I propped the camera up and when I was outside, I used my tripod to prevent camera shake.
To achieve this first image, I put the camera on manual. I focused on my Christmas tree and then slightly unfocused, creating these little round circles.
You can also create what is know as "bokeh" by placing an object a few feet away from the background. This will cause the camera to focus on the object in the foreground and blur the background.
To get this unusual image of my Christmas tree lights, as I snapped the camera, I slightly twisted the camera. I like the way the lights seem to be in motion.
This image was a fun to capture. I was trying to make a heart-shape with the lights, by using a slow shutter speed as I moved the camera in the shape of a heart. It totally didn't work out. But, when I rotated the image I found these candy canes. You can see that my Christmas tree is upside down! It's fun to experiment and play with the camera. You never know what'll you get!
Now let's move outside. I love the old-fashioned big lights in my bushes.
Here's a picture of my home. There are lights on the bushes and around the porch. The lights on the right are on a rock wall by the driveway. I guess I was taking these during the Blue Hour, because the sky is such a pretty blue.
I have a few other photos, with outside lights. My sister and I attended a living "walk through Bethlehem" this weekend. I was intrigued by the lanterns that were hung lighting the way.
The above photo is of the tanner's shop that we passed by. It was like a play that we were part of. The acting was well done and each scene was amazing. There were a few times that my sister and I even jumped when the Roman soldiers yelled for everyone to clear the streets!
The journey ended with the Baby Jesus in the manger. That's a live donkey back there. There were also sheep and camels. This just reemphasized my desire to slow down and bring Christ back into our Christmas celebration.
I think this is my favorite; I like the trees in the foreground.
I've linked these Christmas lights to Kat Eye View Of The World and her Exploring With The Camera. She has many helpful hints on her blog to help you capture beautiful Christmas light photos.