After a diligent weekend of doing laundry, cooking and paying bills, I skipped out after supper to take a night walk at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. I wasn’t planning on taking pictures – I really wanted just a walk – but I hadn’t taken any daily pictures. Oops. So I took my camera and tripod and practiced some night photography.
This year’s theme is bicycling, a nod to Lewis Ginter’s bicycle club as well as the 2014 USA Cycling Race that came through Richmond this summer and the UCI Road World Cycling Championships coming in 2015. There were a number of bicycle themed decorations, but the Christmas tree made up of all bicycles was the best! I’ve ever quite seen a Christmas tree like that before.
If you blow up some of the other pictures, you’ll see that I figured out the aperture settings on my camera to get the little starbursts on the lights. Cool! I was really pleased with it. I even got a flare on the moon – that’s not a Topaz effect – I got it with my camera.
Because it was nearly 8 pm by the time I got to the gardens, I didn’t have a lot of crowds getting in the way. As closing time came, the garden emptied out quickly. Of course, being so cold helped encourage the crowds to leave. I wore my heavy hiking boots, but even with that my feet got cold after several hours.
Since I have more time this holiday season, I plan to go back and hone my night photography skills more. Well, no, I mostly want to go just to enjoy the lights and pretty things. Because it was just fun to walk around in the cold, look at the holiday decorations, and simply enjoy being there. But working on night photography skills just sounds so much more noble.
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale