Christmas has arrived on our front porch! Actually, it has arrived at some places inside the house as well. But the front porch was completed first, so here is is for your viewing pleasure.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we got out our downstairs tree on Friday night and got the lights put on it. We had thought about finishing that tree on Saturday. But when Saturday came around, it was a nice, warm, sunny day outside. Laura suggested that we take advantage of that opportunity to put up our outside stuff. Because I have memories of doing all of the outside work in quite cold temperatures in years past, I readily agreed, and so did Jaylin. So we enjoyed the warm day outside instead of staying inside, and we got the outside of our house decorated, too.
As you can see here, we have some of the usual things. The front porch Christmas tree is there once again, as are the lights around the center columns. The icicle lights that replaced the old snowflake lights we used to have are there once again as well, along with what we affectionately call “Trash Heap Mickey.”
As you may know if you have read some of our Christmas posts before, several years ago a friend brought that Mickey to us, saying he had seen it in someone’s pile of trash beside the road, and he thought of us. It was just the plastic shell without any electrical parts, so a quick trip to the hardware store provided what I needed to have him up and running again. One of these days, I will change out Trash Heap Mickey’s compact fluorescent bulb for a new LED bulb, but not until the CFL bulb quits.
Earlier this year, Laura had hung a wagon wheel on the front porch. As we were getting out our Christmas stuff, we had an extra line of flashing lights in our front porch box, so I said, “Wouldn’t it be funny to put that on the wagon wheel so that it twinkles at night?” And that is what we did. You may not be able to tell from the photo that it twinkles, but it does. And it is pretty cool.
Also, the red and green dots on the wall of the porch are from the laser projector out in the yard. Also out in the yard but not visible here are an inflatable Mickey Mouse and Olaf (the snowman from Frozen, if you did not know). But I just stayed under the porch roof for this photo on this particular evening. There was the threat of rain, and the wind was blowing pretty strongly. The wind in particular makes it difficult to get a good long-exposure photo of those inflatable things. Maybe some other time.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:20-21
About the Photo
As I mentioned in the last paragraph above, this was a long-exposure photo. Specifically, this was a 5 second exposure, with the aperture set at f/16 and a setting of ISO 400. Needless to say, a tripod was used to steady the camera, because there is no way I could have held the camera still for that long.
However, I used a different exposure for Trash Heap Mickey, because in the original version he just looked like a Mickey-shaped white blob. Maybe that compact fluorescent bulb is a little too bright for him. So I shot a separate exposure at 2 seconds for Mickey. Because the camera was on the tripod for both shots, lining them up in Photoshop was not much of a problem. And then I masked in the darker Mickey over the blown-out version. This way, you can tell what he is supposed to be.
Fortunately, I did not fall off the porch as I was taking this. The lens on the camera zooms out to 28mm, and I was right at the edge of the porch trying to get everything in the photo. I could have switched to the Olympus camera and the fisheye lens that I have for it, but I think for this photo that would have ended up just a bit too wide.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: November 29, 2018
Location: Home, Williston, Tennessee