Photographing the Holiday Season

Holiday lights, season and spirit in images and memories

This past weekend I helped decorate the tree for the holidays. While I’m not into decorations of any kind and find the holidays extremely depressing (especially this Covid-19 year!), I also see them as a bittersweet reminder of bygone days, of a simpler, yet worry-free life. As a child, I used to enjoy the holidays. Everybody had a preassigned task, a particular job to do to get everything ready for Christmas Day. My mom and granny would spend days in the kitchen preparing special meals for the holidays. Dad was usually sent out (and out of the way), grocery shopping. Grandpa and I were in charge of decorating the Christmas Tree. And so, we’d escape in our own magical world of lights and decorations. There was no rush, no fuss, no stress, just a certain kind of calm and gentleness, and I absolutely loved it! Then, the night before Christmas, I’d discover several gifts waiting for me under the tree–among others, dolls, when I was very young; then a bike from my grandparents or a pair of blue skis with ski boots from my parents.

Those were the holidays that I remember, the memories that come to mind when I decorate the tree these days. And, yes, we make new memories and traditions, and add them to some of the old ones, but it’s not the same, because some of the loved ones are not around anymore. And while that’s life, I know, still, holidays have become my least favorite time of year, especially this year. …That said, maybe there is a holiday spirit, perhaps trapped inside those lights and decorations, occasionally showing itself as glow.

What I do like about the holiday lights nowadays is that I get to photograph them. So, here are a few images capturing holiday lights, seasons and spirit:

Poinsettia and the moon surrounded by holiday lights. Photo captured with the Bokehmaster by Alina Oswald.

For Christmas 2018, Santa brought me a Sigma ART 105mm f 1/4 lens, a.k.a. the Bokehmaster. Check out these two #tbt images of poinsettia (above) and of the Empire State Building photographed through Christmas Tree lights (below):

Looking at a NYC Christmas. Happy Holidays! © Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Looking at a NYC Christmas. Happy Holidays! © Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

And since I’m yet to properly photograph the holidays this coronavirus year, here are a few iPhone images from this 2020 holiday season:

Covid-19 Christmas Tree decorations. Holiday season 2020. ©Alina Oswald.
Covid-19 Christmas Tree decorations. Holiday season 2020. #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald.

[For those interested: I captured the images using my iPhone in Portrait mode, and then edited in Snapseed to achieve the look I was after.]

Covid-19 Christmas Tree decorations. Holiday season 2020. #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald.
Covid-19 Christmas Tree decorations. Holiday season 2020. #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald.

And here’s another, wider shot of the tree with lights and decorations. I also experimented with cyanotype, to give the image a frosty look:

Covid-19 Christmas Tree decorations. Holiday season 2020. #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald.
Covid-19 Christmas Tree decorations. Holiday season 2020. #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald.

Christmas tree decorations and lights in regular colors and cyanotype. #iphonegraphy ©Alina Oswald

Also, winter days are pretty short in this corner of the world. Basically, it gets dark at 4.30 – 5pm, by 5.30 pm it’s pitch dark. But that means that I don’t have to wait too long to photograph the holiday lights in the city. Here are a few images from the waterfront:

Christmas tree lights on Jersey City pier at night. In the background, Freedom Tower and Lower Manhattan. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Christmas tree lights on Jersey City pier at night. In the background, Freedom Tower and Lower Manhattan. #shotoniphone #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Note: when photographing holiday lights or light displays of any kind, an idea would be to capture silhouettes of people, animals or objects against those lights.

Christmas tree lights on Jersey City pier at night. In the background, Freedom Tower and Lower Manhattan. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Christmas tree lights on Jersey City pier at night. In the background, Freedom Tower and Lower Manhattan. #shotoniphone #iphoneography ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

I’ll post more images soon, but until then, I hope this finds you well, and wish you safe and Happy Holidays!

As always, thank you for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

2 thoughts

    1. Hello Klaus,

      Thank you so much and wish you and yours, too, a safe and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a wonderful and prosperous New Year! And thank you for all your kind words and support. Appreciate it! Frohe Weihnachten und Glückliches neues Jahr! Alina

      Like

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