Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A woman photographs her children as they visit a home in Paillencourt, northern France, to admire the Christmas lights.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP

Christmas lights and Christmas trees are on display in front of the Monte-Carlo Casino in Monaco.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: VALERY HACHE / AFP

Families stand in front of the Dearing family home during Dearing Dazzle, a light show that is synchronized with Christmas music in Conroe, Texas.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ana Ramirez / Conroe Courier

Christmas decorations are on display on a house in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: JUSTIN LANE / EPA

An illuminated swan stands in front of a house decorated with a Christmas light installation on in Chotovice, eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: RADEK MICA / AFP

Visitors are silhouetted with decorated lights on trees, to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year at Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong, South Korea.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press

Christmas decorations are on display on a house in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: JUSTIN LANE / EPA

Visitors take a picture of Christmas illuminations, lit by 280,000 LED lights, at Tokyo Midtown business and commercial complex in Tokyo

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Koji Sasahara / Associated Press

Residents of Matraville decorate their homes with lights in celebration of Christmas in Sydney, Australia.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

Boats cruise through Newport Harbor during night one of the 105th annual Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights in Newport Beach.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christina House / For The Times

A group of people gather around the Christmas lights of the project 'Bright Christmas' at the Iberoamerica park in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Orlando BarrÌa / EFA

The atmosphere during the 90th Lighting Of The New York Stock Exchange Christmas Tree outside of New York Stock Exchange is photographed in New York City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

People are silhouetted as they look at light-emitting diode (LED) illuminations in Tokyo, Japan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg

TOPSHOTS People enjoy Christmas illuminations featuring the theme of "Christmas in the sea" in Tokyo's Shiodome.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP

Christmas lights glow at Piazza Duomo in Como, Italy.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

Christmas lights outline towers at the Country Club Plaza shopping center as the sun sets in Kansas City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Charlie Riedel / AP

Chinese shoppers walk past Christmas decorated trees in Beijing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: MARK RALSTON / AFP

Chinese shoppers walk beside Christmas decorated trees in Beijing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: MARK RALSTON / AFP

Fireworks explode over a floating Christmas tree in Lagoa lake at the annual holiday tree lighting event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Victor R. Caivano / Associated Press

Visitors look at Christmas and New Year's Eve illuminations at an amusement park in Tokyo.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: KIMIMASA MAYAMA / EPA

Visitors looking at lights in a giant Christmas tree outside the Ion Orchard shopping mall in Singapore.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: HOW HWEE YOUNG / EPA

More than 450,000 Christmas Lights illuminates the House of Family Vogt in Buecken, Germany.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: David Hecker / Getty Images Europe

People walk past a street with traditional Christmas lights that were inaugurated in downtown Lisbon, Portugal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: MARIO CRUZ / EPA

The photograph taken with slow shutter speed shows a boy playing among the lights of a giant Christmas tree outside the Ion Orchard shopping mall in Singapore.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: HOW HWEE YOUNG / EPA

The world's tallest 'candle' is illuminated in Schlitz, Germany.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: UWE ZUCCHI / EPA

A general view of the Orchard Road Christmas light-up on in Singapore.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images

Christmas lights on Regent Street in London.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ANDY RAIN / EPA

Christmas decorations light up the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Christophe Ena / Associated Press

A Christmas Fantasy Parade travels past crowds lining both sides of Main Street U.S.A. in Anaheim.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit in New York.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: STAN HONDA / AFP

Members of 'The President's Own' United States Marine Band perform during the lighting ceremony for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Front in Washington, DC.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A man rides on a stand up paddle in front of an 85 meter-high Christmas tree at Cantagalo park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: YASUYOSHI CHIBA / AFP

People are drawn to a giant Christmas ball in Rossio Square.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jose Sena Goulao / EPA

The lights in the Christmas tree on the central square are switched on during the traditional candle-evening, while behind the windows of the houses and the town hall around the square hundreds of candles burn. Gouda is well known for its candle factory.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN / EPA

A young couple walk through a tunnel of LED lights during a Christmas illumination event at the Tokyo Dome City Attractions amusement park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Franck Robichon / EPA

Two women take pictures of themselves as they walk among holiday illuminations.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: KIMIMASA MAYAMA / EPA

Two girls are mesmerized by Christmas lights.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: LUIS EDUARDO NORIEGA / EPA

An abstract light-installation Christmas tree illuminates the Grand Place.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / Associated Press

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree makes a splashy appearance every year.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kathy Willens / Associated Press

Fireworks explode above a Christmas tree that appears to float.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Silvia Izquierdo / Associated Press

Illuminated trees decorate the Garden of Morning Calm.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press

The London Eye looks particularly festive at this time of year.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: LEON NEAL / AFP / Getty Images

A man looks at Frank Hudak's home, known as the "Christmas House," which is decorated with approximately 65,000 lights using about four miles of wiring.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP

People walk among illuminations along the Medellin river.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: RAUL ARBOLEDA / AFP

Strollers walk beneath illuminated stars.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: PETRAS MALUKAS / AFP / Getty Images

Ever-transforming LED lights create a magical environment in the Shiodome.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP

Christmas illuminations and vehicle lights decorate the Champs-Elysees.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images Europe

A sales assistant adjusts lights on display at the Ideal Home Christmas Show.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images Europe

London 2012 Olympic athletes officially illuminated the Christmas lights on Regent Street.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

Spectators watch the 104th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade from docks lining Newport Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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Christmas lights from around the world

[Updated December 23, 2013] The Christmas season is the the most colorful time of year, given the variety of decorative lighting on display throughout the world.

In addition to this gallery of worldwide images, I’m including a few of my tips for taking photographs of Christmas lights, offered in some of my previous photo columns. Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

mall-tree

Creativity – Holiday lights offer a great opportunity to try a little creative technique. Panning at a long exposure is one of my favorites.

Break the rules – Once in a while it’s just fun to break the rules and be creative with your camera, especially during the holiday season. With so many twinkling lights aglow in every direction, it’s a snap to use them to your advantage and try something a little different.

Cellphone camera – It’s crazy, but sometimes I seem to get better results with my iPhone without any exposure controls than I do with my Canon 7D DSLR. I wish I had an answer for this, but I don’t. What could be better? You don’t need an expensive camera and there are lights everywhere this time of year. You can even try out any of those creative photography Apps you bought for an iPhone. Remember, there are no rules!

Panning – You need to use the sports photography technique of panning.  Panning is a technique whereby you start moving the camera in a direction before you click the exposure. Practice is important. Start moving the camera, click and keep moving the camera. Don’t stop when you press the shutter. It’s not difficult, but it sort of goes against the normal hold-it-steady technique.

Twirl – Most advanced cellphone cameras will give you the long exposure you will need. It’s up to you as to direction: straight, curves or twirls. Just keep experimenting.

DSLR – If you have a DSLR or compact camera with manual exposure controls, you might start at ISO 400 1/2 second exposure at f5.6. Results will vary depending on the brightness and color of the sides, so it’s important to experiment. Having the display screen on the back of the camera for instant results makes checking your results a snap.

Flashlight – This is probably my most import helper. Even though there are plenty of Christmas lights against the night sky, your camera just doesn’t come backlit, nor do any of the dials you may need to set, for that matter. Even though your camera might have a bright LCD screen, there are plenty of other dials, buttons and switches that are not illuminated. Trust me, cameras are not getting any easier.

Jacket – Don’t forget this and even an extra sweater as you set out on this excursion. You’ll be standing around waiting for the perfect shot, getting colder and colder. You may consider gloves depending on your location. This is supposed to be fun, so keeping yourself warm is important. A thermos with hot chocolate or coffee is a nice addition to the adventure.

bluelights

Tripod – If you have a tripod for your camera, be sure to use it here. There are plenty of lights out there, but they seem to be getting dimmer, not brighter. The new low-power consumption LED lights seem to need longer exposures. I started by setting my camera at IS0 400; 1/2 second and  f/4. Depending on your lens, you may need to drop down to a full second. It is possible to get some good results as you hold your camera steady, but if you want sharp and consistent photographs, I recommend a tripod.

Remote cable release – Using a remote cord to fire the shutter really helps to keep the camera steady.  Without it you really need to be careful as you release the shutter with a soft touch to eliminate any camera shake. Unless your tripod is very steady and your camera is locked down tight, this can be a tall order.

Experiment – Once I’m out I always like to experiment with my cellphone camera. It amazes me how good the pictures look. My iPhone adds the feature of touching the back of the screen to change the exposure. It usually picks the brightest lights to darken the overall exposure.

Photos: iPhone 4S photographs – Christmas tree at South Coast Plaza and lights in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Robert Lachman

robert.lachman@latimes.com

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Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman

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