Just occasionally I catch myself doing some real nutty things. Yep, I know that may surprise folk but its true, I promise you.
And this evening (given I’m writing this at half-threeish in the morning, last night it would have been if we wanna be precise) was one of those occasions.
Sat at the old computer desk my attention was being constantly interrupted by some flashing lights outside the window. Over the other side of the street in fact.
Damned irritating Christmas illuminations; way over the top, flashing away to themselves, wasting power and serving no useful purpose whatsoever.
On more than a couple of houses.
They’ve not really distracted me before (either this year or any of the previous years in which exactly the same Christmas lights appear to have been used) so not too sure why they did this time around. Just one of those oddities of Life no doubt.
Call me a miserable old sod if you want but I don’t really have a lot of time for Christmas illuminations. I s’pose as a kid I thought they were quite pretty (but even then I suspect it was very much a “take them or leave them” begrudging acknowledgement of their “prettiness”. Ok, so I was prob’ly born a miserable old sod; I’ve no problem with that).
Ordinary street lights and such? And shop window lights? And lights shining through house windows? I just love ’em! Totally fascinated by them in fact. Very often it seems to me there’s something almost magical about them. Especially when seen from a distance.
But Christmas “illuminations”? Pah!
I think its the falsity of it all that kills it for me.
Now those particular ones across the street I’ve tried snapping before (the first Christmas after I originally got into this digital photography caper I do believe) with not a great deal of success as I seem to recollect. And that was trying to do it properly, with a tripod an’ all. And getting a bit closer than I was this evening.
That experience rather dampened whatever enthusiasm I may have had for attempting it again.
And so it has been. Until now.
When suddenly the urge came upon me to give it another bash… see what this ‘ere Lumix camera will make of it using the onboard scene mode of Night with the submenu setting of Illuminations.
Sure, the lazy man’s way I know. But hell, I’ve been promising to try out the various automated settings the camera offers under a whole range of different modes from practically the time it first came into my possession.
And there’s the purely incidental consideration of my innate laziness to take into account. I’ll have you know I work really hard at this whole “being lazy” business! It gets to be quite a strain sometimes.
So that’s what I did. Switched out of Aperture Priority and away from what’s getting to be my default black and white (for this camera at least) and into Night Scenes – Illuminations.
And fired off a coupla quick shots. Real quick in fact. Hand-held (can’t be doing with all that tripod nonsense) and, well, that was it really. Just point and shoot. Literally.
Result? Much as expected… very noisy. On balance though I think I was rather pleasantly surprised, cos they turned out somewhat better than I was anticipating.
Taken in JPEG, I imported into Lightroom and tweaked just a little (tried to reduce the noise as much as Lightroom allows, and applied the standard “Punch” Lightroom preset) and that was it. Then uploaded to Flickr.
But I can justify it by labelling them “test shots”. A good excuse for uploading all sorts of rubbish. In fact, I think in future everything I upload to Flickr should be regarded as either “test” or “experimental”.
Yeah. Definitely. Without a doubt.