Readers challenge: Holiday lights

Nothing visually epitomizes the holiday season than Christmas lights, which is the subject of the current Readers Photo Challenge assignment. Some people put up simple yet elegant white lights while others put up those of every color in the rainbow. Either way, from neighborhoods to shopping centers, they lend a festive air to the season.

15 people sent in 49 photos. All of the images can be seen in a gallery at Here are some of the best examples.


The blue hour is the time after sunset and before the full blackness of night sets. Equipped with a Canon 70D DSLR camera Christine Blue of Stockton used the blue hour to great effect for her photo of Morris Chapel on the University of the Pacific’s campus in Stockton. The Christmas lights at the chapel are simple white lights gracefully adorning the rose bushes and trees in front of the building. The warm glow of the lights are complimented by the deep azure of the blue hour sky which not only provides added color to the scene but also definition to the church’s roofline which would have been lost to the darkness of a later hour. The result is not only a festive scene but a beautiful one as well.


Part of photography is seeing things in a different way. Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon D5000 DSLR camera to photograph a lighted Christmas display in the backyard of a home in Jackson. The house backs up to Jackson Creek along Highway 88 so the owners put up their decorations in the backyard so that drivers on the road could see them. Instead of simply shooting the display Silva used their reflections in the creek to create interest in the foreground and added even more color to the scene by nearly doubling the lights.


Most of the entries featured Christmas lights as the main subject of the photos but Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton took a little different tact with her photo. Bokeh is a photographic term referring to pleasing out of focus highlights caused by large lens apertures. Using her Nikon D90 DSLR camera Spurgeon photographed a snowman decoration her home and used the bokeh created by the blurred lights on her Christmas tree to add a festive background to her holiday photo.


The challenge will return in two weeks with a new assignment on January 8, in the mean time enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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