WEEK 52: B&W Holiday Lights

One of my favorite photos that I’ve taken for this photo challenge is my B&W square format photo from 2017 WEEK 48. I had never considered taking photos of holiday lights in B&W, but that challenge made me see things differently. Not only does B&W give a feeling of timelessness to the image, but it is also unexpected since most holiday images are shot in color. (In fact my search for example photos this week showed me just how rare it is!)

Old Town Holiday Lights by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero  

Your goal this week is to take a B&W photo with holiday lights as a component of your composition. There are lots of possibilities for creative images with holiday lights which is why I have once again chosen them for a challenge theme. One obvious choice would be traditional light displays. Remember to pay particular attention to good composition since you won’t have color to dazzle the viewer: things like leading lines, symmetry, rule of thirds, etc.

Christmas Lights by Charles (Chuck) Peterson  

Street photography is another option. In this style of image, the lights add a festive element to the image, but aren’t the main subject. You can decide whether you want to stop the motion of people (as in the photo below) or take a long exposure to eliminate them completely (which is what I chose for my Old Town photo).

Christmas Walk by Jannick Timm  

Portraits are another possibility this week. These are typically shot with a shallow depth of field to throw the lights out of focus in the background. The resulting bokeh can be quite beautiful.

Concentration by Jason Cipriani  

Alternatively, if you use a small aperture so that both the lights and your subject are in focus, you can create starbursts due to the refraction of light through the aperture. Note that you might need to increase your ISO if you have a moving subject, since you won’t want a long shutter speed. Another option would be the use of a star filter on your lens, which I believe is what was used for the image below.

pug wishes by Denise Rosser  

Still lifes are another option this week. Again, you get to decide if you want bokeh or starbursts for the lights. Feel free to create your own composition from holiday decorations if you aren’t able to find an existing one that you like.

Comfort and Joy by hjl  

The use of bokeh shapes can be used in any of the above options or used solely to create an abstract image as in the example below. It’s clearly a tree, but the bokeh shapes take it out of the realm of the ordinary.

IMG_1637 by Costantino Beretta  

This week’s challenge:

  • Create a B&W image with holiday lights as part of the composition.
  • I encourage you to be creative with your technique to create more than just a shapshot.
  • Your final image should be a B&W grayscale image. You can come to that image any way that you would like from capturing B&W in camera to converting in post-processing.
  • Don’t ignore proper exposure, contrast and composition which are especially important in a B&W image.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to our active community on our Facebook Group, Flickr Group or 500PX group (or all three). Tag the photo:  #10thanniversaryphotochallenge #2018photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2018 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.


About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa

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