With Christmas just a week away, here is a look at our downstairs Christmas tree. As you may remember, this isn’t the first time this Christmas season that this tree has been seen here. It was first seen in the Decorating the Christmas Tree video, and then it was seen in the background of the photo of Christmas Cowgirl Laura, along with Mickey and Minnie that are standing in front of the tree here.
But now here is the Christmas tree in full view and unobstructed, more or less, but not quite completely unobstructed. You can get a good idea of how it looks here, even with some giant, well dressed, smiling mice in the way. Those two always seem to have to be in the forefront of everything, don’t they?
As you could tell if you watched the video, we like lots of lights on our tree. Lots and lots of lights. Enough lights that the room is lit up light Christmas, so to speak, when the lights on the tree are turned on. A beacon in the night, calling you to remember all the good things you love about Christmas trees, and allowing you to see enough that you don’t stub your toe on the furniture that has been moved around to make room for the Christmas tree. Thanks to those newfangled LED lights, our electric bill doesn’t run up nearly as much as it used to. And we don’t have nearly as many lamps go out, either, which is nice. And thanks to realistic-looking artificial trees, we don’t have to worry about all of those lights catching the tree on fire, too. Isn’t technology grand? All those lights also light up the air vent right above the tree. Hopefully that isn’t too distracting in the photo. You probably didn’t even notice it until I mentioned it, did you? I should have kept my virtual mouth shut.
I’m not sure exactly who came up with the idea of putting ornaments and lights on a tree for Christmas, or what the significance of all that is. I’m sure someone on Wikipedia would be more than happy to enlighten me, if I really wanted to be enlightened, but that doesn’t really matter all that much. I do, however, know that there are about 3.57 million different opinions, give or take a million, on how Christmas trees should be decorated. Some people think all white lights are the only way to go. And those of us who like to live more colorful lives like some color on our Christmas trees. You can probably guess which side of that argument we fall on. Not to say that the all-white light people are boring or anything, even though that may be what I am thinking in my brain. And some people like only a few ornaments, but you can see we blow right through our ornament quota almost as quickly as we blow through our light quota.
But seriously, you are welcome to decorate your Christmas tree however you want, just as we are. And I won’t judge you for yours if you don’t judge us for ours. Deal? Deal.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” - Luke 2:13-14
About the photo:
For this photo, I did something a little different. At first, I shot a traditional long exposure photo of the tree with all of the lights turned off, except for all those lights on the tree, of course. But because the lights were coming from behind Mickey and Minnie, their faces and the rest of their front sides were rather dark. So I next shot an exposure with the overhead light in the den turned on. Because I hadn’t moved the tripod in between those two photos, it was easy to line them up in Photoshop. I put the overhead light photo on top, and then masked that entire layer, painting over Mickey and Minnie with a white brush on the layer mask, revealing them in the light. Then for good measure, I reduced the opacity of the brush and painted some over the tree to bring out a little more detail and tone down the washed out spots where the lights are.
Photo: Two separate RAW exposures, processed in Photoshop. Read more about the photo software and gear I use at the camera gear page.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR
Date: December 16, 2015
Location: Our house, Williston, Tennessee