Photo 101: I’ve been seeing double the holidays

I’ve spotted something odd and interesting off to my right every evening when I’ve let Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle out to the backyard of the Little Bitty my dear wife Karen and I share in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood.

When I received the Photo 101 lesson 19 of double from Cheri, I figured it was time to take my iPad Air out to the top step and take a shot.

Two blue lit trees.

Two blue light trees.

I knew my neighbor three doors down on the next street back presented a far-off target for iPad photography, so I zoomed in as far as my equipment allowed.

A little better blue lit trees.

A little better blue lit trees.

Still, my vision of two blue Christmas trees still curiously glowing in this neighbor’s house on March 25 didn’t look quite so magical in my photo edit process.

On went my waterproof mocs and off I went across the still-snow-covered lot between my house and the neighbors to the right, hugging the fence line. I got as close to that holiday spirited house as possible, my head and iPad dodging tall fences and taller trees, in quest of knowledge. And a better picture.

Bad angle, apparently.

Bad angle, apparently.

The ground level and proximity only blurred the subject.

Facts, however, I found.

What Karen and I have been commenting upon for more than three months is a single decoration hanging on the inside of one window. Apparently the lights are bouncing off a mirror inside our neighbor’s house and reflecting out a second window, to be seen again only from the proper angle — such as from our porch.

Our neighbor's holiday house.

Our neighbor’s holiday house.

The situation, in this morning’s light, looks drastically different. Look hard for the triangular tree in the window facing straight toward the iPad Air.

Bob the Builder, sideways.

Bob the Builder, sideways.

Finally, for the rotation portion of our lesson, I offer Bob the Builder apparently taking a nap on his stroll during the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Day Parade earlier this month.

Did you think it was two real objects of light in my photos? Which of the “tree” photos is your favorite, and why? What might I have done to capture the blue light more favorably?

56 thoughts on “Photo 101: I’ve been seeing double the holidays

  1. Ooooo! A mystery! Ha! I like the first photo best Mark. The second shows more detail, and yet it doesn’t have the same “feel” – whatever that means. Bob the Builder is one honkin’ big guy – whew.


  2. Yes, I thought it was two blue lights. Okay, so the problem is that a camera cannot focus on all black or all white. And since it is black between the two blue lights, that’s why they are coming out blurry like that bottom shot. To remedy this, you need to focus the center of the photo on one of the lights. Now is where my level of expertise diminishes…. I don’t know how you’d fix this with an iPad camera. However, with a real camera, you would hold down the button half way while you focused on the blue light in the center, then while still holding down the button, you’d move the camera to where the black was in the center, then push the button all the way down to snap the photo. But of course, with your button being digital, that’s not an option. As such, I’d probably just keep one light in the center and take it that way, then crop off the other side later.


  3. I liked the top picture the most MBM. Even though it was further, farther?, away it felt more clear. At first I thought it was 2 TV’s on in the house. I chuckle at you out there sloshing around trying to take pictures at night of your neighbor’s house….. SOME may not think that a good idea! πŸ™‚


  4. Love the first photo. And that you caught the reflection. If they hadn’t kept their decor up, you would never have captured it for us to see and share.

    And if the tree lights are blue perhaps your neighbors are utilitarian and pretending they are lighted Easter eggs? Or not. . .


  5. So have you seen anybody going in or out of the house since Christmas? This could be a sinister story indeed… a possible episode for NBC Dateline?


  6. The second one is the best in somewhat capturing what was there. I wouldn’t have a clue of how to improve the image, hopeless with a camera. I’m more amazed that your neighbor still has his/her decorations up. These are recent pictures, right? Sorry for the brief rant, this is a pet peeve of mine.


  7. With that first picture, I am reminded of all of the great photography of alien spaceships they used to show on “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Sightings” back in the day. Is it really a mirror, or are we not alone? Let your readers be the judge…


  8. Very pretty photos. I like the first photo best. I was wondering why a tree with blue lights at this time of year, then a wreath with a yellow ribbon. I’m taking a guess that possibly, a blue star mother? Yellow ribbon for a lost child in the war??


  9. Oh gosh, I don’t know diddly about photography. I’m still wondering why my cameras can’t see out the window with the same view I do, lol!
    I like the first pic best, because it really does look like two trees. I had thought, at first, that the neighbor had a blue tree lit up in all of her windows!


    • You thought what MDW Karen and I have thought since stinkin’ December, Joey! This photo lesson certainly taught me something about assuming stuff. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I’m glad I took this workshop. I started with a good eye and little knowledge about iPhone/iPad camera technology and technique.

      Liked by 1 person

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