Magic Tree


Each year an artist named Will Treelighter, in Columbia, MO, wraps a few trees with lights. I don’t mean a couple hundred or even a couple thousand, though. I mean more like tens of thousands of lights, all different colors and all lit up and glowing and all free for anyone to come look at. These trees really are a sight to see and if you ever find yourself in the area with some time to spare I highly recommend giving it a look.

When we were in Columbia visiting family over Christmas we made sure to check out the trees and I brought my Fuji X100F to see if I could get a picture worthy of Weekly Fifty. One big issue was the fact that we had our kids with us which wasn’t really a problem, because it would be silly and selfish not to bring the kids, but added some challenges and constraints in terms of getting a picture. For one, I didn’t want to spend half an hour ignoring my boys while my wife and mother-in-law got to enjoy the tree lights. It was also cold, and we had a time constraint in that we were up against the boys’ bedtime and I didn’t want to sacrifice that for a blog photo.

I had my tripod with me and tried a few long-exposure shots from about a hundred yards away but they just didn’t seem to capture the scope and scale of the trees, so I shifted things around and went for the opposite approach of getting real close instead of real far. When I got this shot we were about one minute away from heading home and I had to think fast, so I ran up to the tree, put my camera in manual focus, and got a couple pictures of this green bulb with a thousand points of light in the background behind it. I still don’t know if it quite captures the essence of what these trees really look like, but somehow this seemed to do a better job and result in a more colorful image than any that I shot from far off.

I guess the lesson to be learned here, if there is one, might be that shifting your perception of a scene can lead to some dramatic results much different than what you might expect but equally interesting in their own right. And maybe next year I’ll be able to experiment with some different types of images with these trees, as long as my kids cooperate :)

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