Note from Scott: I am republishing this post from late November, 2010. I know information gets buried in blogs and wanted to bring this back up to the top for you all.
Right about now I am still out doing some Black Friday shopping. Thought this would be a good time to review how to photograph all the Christmas Light displays from your neighbors to large community celebrations. You know me, what better place to demonstrate photographing light displays than Walt Disney World.
Notice the Exif data for the above photo. I was shooting in manual mode to keep the ISO at 200 wiht an aperture of f/4. I experimented with different shutter speeds and the amount of power on the Nikon SB-600 speedlight. I settled on a 1/4 second exposure with the flash set to its lowest power setting of -3. Using the SB-600 in Rear-Sync mode allowed enough time for the camera’s sensor to gather in the colorful lights with the flash filling in the details of the sidewalk and bicycles right at the end of the exposure. Otherwise, you would only see the bright lights.
Here are some links for more tips on how to get colorful Christmas lights in your holiday photographs:
Photographing Christmas Lights at Disney and Photographing Christmas Lights at Disney II are articles I wrote for AllEars.net which are applicable to photography of all kinds of light displays at any time of the year.
16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas – A set of tips from the Digital Photography School blog covering parties, children, lights and more.
How to Photograph Christmas Lights by Strobist – Tips from the popular Strobist blog by David Hobby.