Driving around, looking at holiday lights is one of my favorite things to do in December. It's not too late to show off your own hard work. I find to get the best color, photograph your lights after sunset and underexpose the exposure by at least a stop (-1) to keep shadows dark. Also, having an ISO setting at 100-200 will allow for better saturation and detail of the lights. Use a tripod for the best stability, turning your lens stabilization (VC) off in the process. This method is ideal and will create beautiful night photographs like image #1 (F11 ISO 200 2.5 Seconds). Now 2.5 seconds is great, but let's face it, you do not always have time to set up a shot like this. In a more practical situation, the other photographs were taken while caroling the other night. With luminaries lining the streets, and festive garland everywhere, it was hard not to stop in-between houses.
No tripod, no time, how did I capture these photographs?
The secret is in your ISO settings. With a higher sensitivity, you can speed up your shutter speed and take good low light photos on the fly. ISO 1000, shutter speeds closer to 1/4th or 1/20th, I am using the Tamron SP 17-50mm F2.8 VC lens wide open. Granted the lights do not stand out as much, and any movement is blurred, but they turn out pretty good. Again with the VC off, I am using a light pole, or park bench to stabilize myself.
Happy Holidays everyone! See more light related photographs on my Facebook page: BellTamronUSA.
I would love to see some of your own holiday displays – share them on my page!