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Rated 5 out of 5 Santas (More Santas = Better)

Rated 5 out of 5 Santas (More Santas = Better)

Christmas 2008 has come and gone. I am writing this post from the Apple Store in West Towne (sic) Mall, Madison, WI. I stopped here on my way across Wisconsin back to Minneapolis from my parents’ home in Kenosha. The power adapter for my Mac decided to die in a shower of sparks and flame (really!) and there are no new mac power adapters in Kenosha.

I am charging up the battery here so that I if I get stuck at a truck stop in Western Wisconsin, I can at least get something done. Odd weather over here by Chicago, when I got in Christmas eve, there was two feet of snow on the ground and piles taller than me all over. Saturday it was 58F and raining. A true mess. The temperature is dropping as I head North and into the night. I don’t know if I will give in and stay at a hotel or make it all the way home tonight. I hope I don’t end up in a ditch in bear country!

Thanks for all the great comments over the holidays and let’s look forward to an exciting 2009!

P.S. I made it home.

The Blue Spruce Christmas Tree in Rice Park

The Blue Spruce Christmas Tree in Rice Park

This 90-foot tall, 27-foot wide, 98-year-old Blue Spruce is the third annual Rice Park Holiday Tree. Decorated with 30,000 LED lights, it stands majestically over the famous Rice Park, home of the Ice Carving Sculptures during the Winter Carnival and MSNBC during the RNC convention.

I braved the cold and went out taking pictures around midnight with my friend Dave. It was -12F when I was shooting and Dave was very kind to tag along. He even offered to stay in my Jeep so I could leave it running with the heat on. He missed out on the fun, but seemed perfectly happy in the Jeep.

Christmas Lights Minneapolis

Christmas Lights Minneapolis

I found this Christmas light-laden house in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis. Most of the bigger houses have just a few flourishes of lights, but this one really caught my eye.

See the little Christmas bear in the front yard? He’s riding a sleigh and is set on a fountain.

I shot this last picture of the Christmas bear and Christmas lights with my new f/1.4 lens at 1.4 and 1/50 second hand-held while laying on the ground. I wanted to use the shallow depth of field to get the lights out of focus on both sides of him. Not sure if it really works, but laying on the ground in the snow puts a definate time limit on a composition.

We’ve got a blizzard moving in this morning with 6 inches expected. Hopefully I’ll get out and bring home some new photos for y’all.

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

I was out looking for Christmas lights Sunday night for the blog and decided to head North for a while. I’ve been busy with work and with all the holiday stress, a nice drive in the country sounded relaxing. I got a ways out of town, not really sure how far. I left the highway for narrow farm roads. Though I had never been that way before, I felt drawn in that direction.
Soon after passing an abandoned gas station, I saw a flicker of lights on the horizon. I was sure they weren’t Christmas lights, they seemed bluish-green and seemed to be moving across the trees in the distance. As I approached them, I pulled over and dug out my camera. They were hard to focus on, the auto focus kept slipping, so I switched to manual. Still not able to get it to work, I changed to a longer lens. Once I had the lens on I looked up and was startled to see the light approaching across the field toward me. I immediately aimed my camera at them, but just as I did, my camera shut off and wouldn’t come back on. I panicked and tried to start my Jeep, but it too would not work.
The lights pointed at my car and all around me lit up like daylight. It was at that very moment that I felt an overwhelming calmness mixed with déjà vu. They were so brilliantly blue and calm. I wanted to fall asleep and run at the same time.
It’s now 4 am on Friday morning and I have no idea how I got home. I’m sitting at my desk, but I have no recollection of how I got here and what happened since Sunday night. I only have vague impressions of… Well, of not wanting to go outside.
It’s as if I woke up one morning and it was 11 degrees below zero out and I had six clients breathing down my neck and no time to work on my blog. Sorry folks, I never meant to take so much time off from the daily blog. I let the shocking trauma of a cold snap in Minnesota keep me hiding inside working. I finally broke free and headed out last night shooting. This odd little snowman bathed in blue light inspired me to new heights of yarn-spinnin’ & leg-pullin’.
I’m back on track with pictures of lights until Christmas. I let the fervor of the holidays get to me. Just have to remember to keep my stick on the ice and my eyes on the sky.