Christmas, Half Moon Bay Style

During the holidays, people everywhere put up lights and decorations. Yet there are still regional differences that can make the displays unique. Take the habit of Arizonans dressing up their cacti.

The folks in Half Moon Bay, California, don’t have any cacti, but they do having fishing boats. And down at Pillar Point Harbor, there’s a tradition of stringing lights on the boats, making for a pretty festive scene.

Christmas lights on fishing boats

Christmas lights on fishing boat docked in Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, California.

This image doesn’t show the gaudy display of lights you sometimes find, and that’s actually one of the reasons I like it: Just a lone little boat with its Christmas lights.

I set the white balance manually here (5300K) to make sure the dominant color was cool to contrast with the warm holiday lights. Had I left the white balance on Auto, the camera would have tried to compensate for the blue hues, and made the overall image warmer. And while that may have been more accurate (probably in the 7500-8000K range), it wasn’t the look I was going for.

The real challenge was the length of the exposure. You see, boats tend to move around when they’re floating on the water. My exposure was 4 seconds, so I had to take several shots to get one that was reasonably sharp.

Final image specs

Nikon D300
Nikon 17-55 f/2.8
4 seconds at f/11

More Christmas lights

Photo gallery of more Christmas lights »

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