Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.
We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.
On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!
Manhattan Beach dresses for Christmas. They have festive lights. The pier is lit. We arrived on the perfect weekend. We didn’t even notice there was no snow.
Is this worth a post? Well, here’s the thought process. We came upon this scene at dusk. The lights and sunset, the trail of lights out along the long pier, my surprise and delight at finding this scene was visceral. We stayed for several days, three nights. And, in that time I tried to get a quintessential image. I knew the scene was special in terms of its graphics and color and potential as a night shot. Heretofore I would not have been able to capture anything of the essence. Film was simply not very good to do this task. Digital and the spiffy camera computer processor gives me something to work with. I never got exactly what I wanted. Wait around? Try again? Do something! Nah! Time moves on and my companions don’t want to stand around forever while I explore options. My modus operandi is to catch what I catch on the fly. It works and it doesn’t. Sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. Huh?
I know. But I had a post for Xmas. So, I’m squeezing this in at New Year. Happy! I’ve been in a lot of stores around Thanksgiving. Santa shows up before turkey. Turkey is for eating. You sell Santa for the holiday. Happy! … that would be all the holidays. This new year will be different… and better.
I have switched hard drives (not enough storage space) so many times I did not know what I would get when I did a search for brother John. It’s been a few years now. I try to remember on his birthday. This one image popped up. I didn’t take it. Ha! It’s an early iteration of my Manhattan apartment before many renovations. We all had mustaches. That’s funny (to me). I kept mine all these years, Eric and John were more casual. Their significant others did not insist… It’s Christmas. We had an almost uncanny knack of duplicating presents. This was the year of the overcoat/raincoat. Everyone got one. “Like minds think alike?” It happened way more than this one time. Yeah, Cabbage patch and pound puppies and tickle me Elmo, but overcoats? Gimme a break.
Great ideas! At Christmas each family comes and distributes their gifts into the waiting basket with your name on it. There are a bunch of variations on the scheme but it makes chaos so much more organized.
And for an even better scheme – use ribbon. String the ribbon from a central point and let the recipient follow his/her color to their gifts. You can put a few in the interim and make it even more fun. Either way, it’s a good idea. Too late for this year and there are a lot fewer kids around these days. But keep this in mind if you still entertain hoards for the holiday.
What do you get for someone who has everything? And I do have everything I can think that I need. Don’t try to think of anything. I have left many a person in despair. But this is about my recent Xmas excursion. The past few years I have been an Amazon shopper. Delivery and done. No lines, no stores, no pondering, no waiting for a great gift idea to fall upon you as you wearily trudge into another store for inspiration.
This year, along the way, I managed to Christmas shop in an actual store. I modeled. It’s not for me. The coat went to my brother Eric. The hat was for Dave. Where I am, the last thing I need is warm clothes. But the boys work and live in cold weather. So the warm gear will be welcome. What you don’t see and will not get to see, is the long underwear. Everyone got a pair. When Jules marries in March, it will be an outdoor wedding. No coat, suit and tie, in cool California weather, psst, a hint to the wise, dress warm. The party’s outdoors too. So long underwear will be our little secret. No one should be cold if forewarned.
How appropriate! Right after Christmas I am able to sneak in a dive shot that works for the holiday season.
These tiny creatures are about ½ inch in size. I do not see them too often. Now I have found a group of them and will take the opportunity to get better shots. The colors vary. There are blue, brown, yellow, and orange so far that I have seen. There are usually two trees that stick up and then there is a smaller side projection. The worms will disappear folding themselves into nothing as soon as danger is perceived. If you swim upon them and slowly move closer you might get a shot. But the tiny subjects are really at the limit of my camera’s ability.
Yes. Camera envy. I could get a much more expensive set up. Then it would be really like work. And there is the heartbreak if the camera gets wet and dies. And remember I am doing this for fun. Yes. Yes. It is for fun. There is a fine line between madness and fun.
I have tried to stage this shot all different ways. It is not easy to get a group shot. Someone blinks. Someone frowns. And those in front are larger than the group in the second row. The ladies hide their weight. Lighting is tricky. When it all comes together it is the annual family photo. And someone is always unhappy with how they look. This shot was about ten years ago. A lot has happened since then. Let it be at that.
It is another holiday I will miss at home this year. We had a lot of nice ones when the kids grew up. The annual tradition was to decorate the tree. We collected ornaments as we traveled so there were very few ornaments the same. And there were a lot of them at one point. The other tradition was who got to put Santa on the top of the tree. Somehow the kids kept track year after year. For a long time I had to lift them up without letting them fall into the tree. I was never forgiven the one time I slipped.
And there was a year when we were traveling on Christmas eve. In order to have time to make Christmas, Lisa decided not to tell the kids and we planned to have the day on the 26th. Shhhh just don’t tell. The airline pilot almost spoiled it when he spied reindeer off the plane’s wingtip. Lisa recovered quickly to Jules’ question by saying that Santa had to start early in order to arrive on time.
The next day the 26th was just like it was December 25th. The family arrived, I taped Xmas music from the radio complete with commercials, and we recreated the day without the kids noticing. I did not confess for about ten years.
Meanwhile we continued the tradition of Santa leaving a stocking full of small gifts. Santa doesn’t wrap so the kids could distinguish presents. The stockings continued well into the kids’ early twenties at which time I inquired as to when they knew there was no Santa. I guess we all kept the charade for a lot of years. Funny, though, the next year we stopped doing stockings. Bittersweet.