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But it occurs to me that younger readers may not even be familiar with the phrase “Kodak moment” because it hasn’t been used in years and years! We’ll probably never see it again since, sadly, Kodak declared bankruptcy earlier this year.
So here’s a quick history lesson.
George Eastman invented roll film–obtaining the patent for it in 1884. Before roll film, photos had been made on glass plates that had been coated in light sensitive chemicals. In 1888 Eastman invented the Kodak camera, the first camera to use the roll film and the Eastman Kodak Company, founded in 1892, was one of the first companies to mass produce cameras and other photographic equipment.
Eastman said: “Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”
Sooooo..what exactly does that have to do with photographing Christmas lights? Simple: The more you understand about the nature of light and how to manage it, the happier you’ll be with all your photos, all year long. Photographing holiday lights though, can present a few unique challenges.
You’ll still get the same photo with or without a ball head but trust me, the time and frustration saved while trying to precisely position your camera is worth every penny. And if you get one with a “quick release plate” like the one above you’ll be even happier because you’ll spend seconds rather than minutes getting your camera on and off your tripod.
But you do NOT have to drop hundreds of dollars on a fancy flash. I’ve gotten similar results with a point and shoot camera by softening and diffusing the light from the flash with a tissue, a handkerchief, or even by covering most of the flash unit with my finger so only a little light gets by.
Use those as a starting point then make adjustments to either your aperture or shutter speed until you get the results you want.
Ed a/k/a Traveling Husband