Siouxland in lights, North Sioux City, SD

24 Dec

The other night a friend invited me to drive around parts of Siouxland to photograph Christmas lights. When I previously worked for newspapers I had shot my fair share of night time holiday lights. A year ago I photographed a large display of lights in the country which was raising money for charity. The temperature that year along with the wind made is feel like I was photographing in minus 10 degree weather. This year there has been little snow. And it was raining the night we went out to photograph holiday lights. She wanted new images to create cards. I went along to take in the sites. My friend did all the correct things in photographing Christmas lights. She used a tripod, shot with a low ISO and did 4-6 second exposures. She got some really nice images. I on the other hand after working so many years for newspapers took the easier route. High ISO, slow shutter hand held, a number of frames and hoped for the best. That is not to say that all newspaper photographers shoot this way, but I was being lazy. And sometimes that can lead to unexpected results. As nice as my friend’s images turned out, I was not unhappy with some of my results. Especially as I sat inside her vehicle as she photographed a scene, I photographed through a rain drop splattered window and got some interesting results using a slow shutter and unsteady hands. The wet weather, much like having a fresh blanket of snow, helped in adding more illumination to the scenes. Maybe next year I will use a tripod again. I have two of them, but sometimes I just like to wing it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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