A simple photo caught my eye for today’s Featured Photo. Phil was able to get this tight shot of a star on one of the smaller Christmas trees with the National Christmas Tree in the background. Two things drew me to this photo: one, the lovely color of the lights, and, two, the bokeh of those lights. For those who don’t know what bokeh is, it’s that fine blur in the background of photographs. One of the pluses of bokeh is that it helps the viewer focus in on the main subject matter of a photograph; this is because our brains naturally want to pay attention to what’s in the focus. This effect certainly compliments Christmas lights because it gives them a dreamy, yet colorful, look; a look and feel I love to associate with the Holidays.
Bokeh. I swear it’s an actual word…though, granted, it is Japanese. It describes the aesthetic effect of having a blurred background or depth of field in a photograph. It’s a hard effect to get, mainly because you have to have a really good (read: expensive) lens to get it. But when you can get the effect, it can look great. And the ways of using are almost infinite. It helps that all the Christmas lights give it a way to shine…so to speak.
Dwood Photography uses the bokeh to great effect in his shot. Not only does he keep the shape of the National Christmas Tree, but he also has the Washington Monument in shot, giving it that DC flair. It helps that the lights on the tree have a nice circular look, giving the shot a unique look. Definitely a shot that can get one into the Season!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … or at least – it almost is!
The White House Christmas Tree is ready to sparkle in the night sky. The lighting ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday evening, featuring The Obamas and musical guests Sheryl Crow, Common, and Ray LaMontagne. Click here for a complete list of the night’s performers.
This year’s tree will be draped in 750 strings of white LED lights while those 2,800 folks who got seats and the 7,000 dedicated American’s who nabbed “standing room only” tickets huddle together for warmth, basking in the glow of the illuminated blue spruce.
You can catch entire ceremony from the warmth of your own living room live on WETA – TV or at WETA’s website.
As you may have heard, there’s no more standing in line for tickets to the National Christmas Tree Lighting anymore– this year, the lottery is where it’s at. The submission period starts tonight at 12:01 am and runs through Friday, November 6 at midnight, so get those typing fingers limbered up and your four leaf clovers/lucky gym socks/rabbit’s feet ready. Log in here to register tonight, and good luck! I hear it helps to have some good Christmas music queued up, too. They can feel your Christmas spirit through the application.
Getting ready to stand in line for tickets for the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony next week?
Don’t bother. The National Park Service is changing the process, much like they did for the White House Easter Egg Roll, to “open the ticketing process up to more Americans across the country.”
The new procedure? You have to enter an online lottery between November 4-6 (log in here at that time to register), between 12:01 a.m. EST on the 4th and 11:59 p.m. EST on the 6th. The lottery will include 2,800 ticketed seats and 7,000 standing room tickets. (If you don’t have a computer, you can call 877-444-6777 between the same time period to put your name in the lottery.)
Beginning November 9, ticket seekers can check the status of their request online; tickets will be mailed by November 15.
NPS is handing out more tickets this year, hence the change of tradition. The December 3 event will open its gates at 3:30 p.m. for all ticket holders.
Over by the National Christmas Tree there is a Santa’s Workshop where children can line up to visit Santa Claus and have a picture taken. I don’t have kids but when I visited Saturday night, the view through the window was a cozy, picturesque scene of a jolly old man smiling as he held wide-eyed children on his lap, and I had to get a photo — which, of course, came out blurry in the dark.
As I was fiddling with my ISO settings an elf-suited girl told me, “You can’t take photos through the window, the flash will just reflect off the glass and distract Mr. Claus.”
“Thanks,” I replied amiably, “I have flash off.”
“Well, you still can’t take photos!” said a man by the exit, bodily moving to block the window. I believe he may have been trying to sound intimidating, but it came out as more obnoxious than anything else. Not wanting to make a scene, I said nothing more, put away my camera, and walked off in a huff.
Yesterday was the unveiling of the National Christmas Tree. (Well, as much as you can unveil something that has been there since August.) But there were festivities, and the tree lit up, Christmas joy, and all that. The tree will be lit from now until after Christmas, with nightly performances from Saturday, December 6 to Tuesday, December 23, 2008. I’ve collected some first-look flickr pics for your viewing pleasure, in case you missed it yesterday. Continue reading