Light Trail

Monday night I found myself gazing out of my bedroom window, fascinated by the lights our neighbors had strung along their fence. I’m not typically struck by Christmas lights, and “Christmas over-achievers” tend to frighten me, but I enjoyed the simplicity of their display. A single looped line of lights which followed an arc of greens, all along their fence line.

There was something about the way the light reflected off the white of the fence in the eerie November night. A front was in the process of moving into our area so the humidity was on the rise, it added a bit of a glow. Struck by the sight, I quickly unpacked my tripod, wireless shutter router, and camera. My wife entered the room just as I was in the process of shutting off the lights so I could begin taking pictures.

“What are you doing?”

“Taking a picture of the lights,” I replied as I opened our bedroom window 1. She rolled her eyes, said something like, “OK creepy,” and left the room.

It’s difficult being married to a wannabe artist.

I captured several images, but found myself having to pause while a car drove through the frame. This led me to shift my focus. Instead of focusing on the Christmas lights, I’d wait for a car to drive though and intentionally allow it to drive through the frame. On my first try I managed to capture my first light trail image ever. I’ll have to take some more!

A light trail of headlights as a car drives through the frame. In the foreground Christmas lights glimmer.
Nikon D7000 with 18-105mm lens
ISO 320
ƒ 9
42mm
5 sec


  1. The top one, so I wouldn’t have to deal with a screen. 

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  1. The light trail is eerie looking in an otherwise static scene. Some of my best pictures are ones that I didn’t plan in advance and just went with the flow.

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