When Christmas lights and car lights collide

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Earlier in the week I spotted this beautifully decorated tree. I thought it was very tastefully lit-up for Christmas and would make a marvellous photo.

Christmas, decorations, traffic, cars, Christmas decorations, expsoure times, shutter speed, photography,
A beautifully decorated tree, complemented by passing traffic.

What seemed like a good idea just didn’t work. I simply couldn’t avoid getting car headlights or brake lights in the image as the tree was situated next to a busy road.

As I couldn’t win the battle with the passing traffic, I thought I’d join it. I decided to incorporate the lights into the picture.

To take this shot, I mounted my camera onto my tripod, set the exposure time for 20 seconds and used a remote to avoid camera shake. I quite like the effect and think it adds something to the decorated tree.

What do you think? Does it work? Have you experimented with shutter speeds and long exposure times? Please do leave a comment if you have, I’d love to know of your experiences as I’ve only done a tiny bit myself.

I have linked this picture to the brilliant #MySundayPhoto linky hosted by the equally brilliant Photalife blog. If you’re into photography, do click on the badge and pay the linky a visit.




32 thoughts on “When Christmas lights and car lights collide”

    1. Hadn’t thought about that actually, the two do contrast against each other well don’t they, they white light and moving red and yellow lights?

    1. The tree is great and I thought I’d have a go merging the car lights. I wasn’t sure if it would work but it seems to have done.

  1. That is a gorgeous tree and I like the contrast with the lights from the cars.
    Experimented with shutter speed? I wouldn’t have the first idea how! Maybe when the kids are bigger and I no longer have to be a taxi service 24/7 I might give it a go.

  2. That’s a great shot. I’ve tried with a fairground ride which worked well for the lights, but couldn’t make out the people underneath because the lights took over. And have tried outside my office with car lights, but there were too many other lights around, and I was only on my phone, so 1 sec wasn’t really long enough. I never get out my tripod especially when out and about.

    1. Yeah, it did require effort. I found myself with a spare half hour and just happened to have my camera with me so went for it. Defo needs to be longer than one second though. Some of the shots I took were exposed for 30 seconds.

    1. I think the lights are left up all year round. In fact, I couldn’t help but notice a huge fuse box mounted high up in the tree!

    1. I can well imagine you have tried similar! With your burgeoning reputation for photography I’d be upset if you hadn’t.

  3. Very impressive! If I tried to do what you did it’d take me an hour and I’d still probably take a picture of a bin in perfect focus. I am a RUBBISH photographer.

  4. What a great shot – very artistic! It’s interesting seeing the two mixed together. There’s definitely some great things you can do and capture nowadays with technology!

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