Category Archives: Christmas Lights

Christmas with the “P” Setting on the Canon SX40 HS

(A little over the top on the lighting intensity but that is how I’m rolling with my P mode this days.)

My “big” camera is a Canon SX40HS Powershot. It is a nice point and shoot with a Superlens which combined with great low light capabilities makes for great concert photos and is “concert legal” because it is is small and doesn’t have the separable lens. The only time I’ve ever been interfered with is at a Sting concert last year at an Indian casino in Thackerville, OK and all the ushers were doing was waving their finger at me. I’d put the camera away for a little while and then resume when they got busy waving their finger at somebody else.

(I think ice and Christmas lights go well with the P  mode.)

Anyways, the camera has been pretty much locked into the “A” for Automatic setting most of the time unless I used the low light option at a concert. I was using maybe 1% of the camera’s capabilities and I was okay with that.


The problem was that I was a little frustrated with several things. First off, taking pics inside under artificial light often gave everything a yellow cast and then taking pictures of things like Christmas lights didn’t turn out very satisfying. Also, taking of back lit objects led to dark shadows. I learned to live with all that. I don’t strive for perfection in my photos, I just forge on ahead and go with it.

(Heather and Rascal, with no yellow! And some detail on Rascal. He usually comes out as a black blob.)

But recently I’ve learned about the “P” setting on my camera and a whole new world has opened up. It’s got adjustments for everything that has been troubling me. It gets the yellow out of inside shots. It has ways of correcting the exposure on back lit objects. You can emphasize or deemphasize colors. I feel like I have a whole new camera!

(Nana, the world’s great MIL and Fiona.)

Sure, I read the manual a little bit but the fastest way to learn this stuff is via Youtube videos. My favorite are those made by an English lady who goes by “Snapdragon.” Here is her 5 minute video on the “P” mode.

I just love her voice. I understood her perfectly on this video. On some of her other videos I had to replay certain sections and I still had no idea what she was saying. Is their an English to Okie hack out there so I can get a translation?

So, I’ve been playing around with it. The bear shot above would have been almost impossible before I used the P setting. Now, I’ve learned how to get the camera to using the right exposure.


This is the kind of shots I was getting before learning the P setting.


I love inside shots without the yellowish tint.


And how to make colors pop out. Don’t be yakking at me about how I’m altering the pic to something unnatural. How about I just agree with you and we end the discussion! Sorry to be so blunt. I’m not much of a purist on the whole SOOC thing. I’ve learned on some of Snapdragons other videos on how to edit pics in camera. Given all the things that can be done to photos both during the exposure and afterward I don’t think that SOOC has a whole lot of meaning any more.


And I achieved, in a modest way, something that is almost impossible in a point and shoot. A little bit of bokeh. I know, I said a little bit. Snapdragon has over thirty videos on the camera and I’ve gone through a half dozen of them and will be looking at more. I don’t know if she covers other cameras or not but I bet you that whatever camera you have there are videos for it by somebody. Probably not with her hot English accent but you know, you can’t get everything you want in this world.

What’s next? She has videos on how to install and use “CHKD” on the camera. That stands for “Canon Hack Development Kit” and is something totally not sanctioned by Canon. It is internal software on the camera that enables one to shoot in RAW format and do all sorts of other wonderful things that typically can only be done on the “grown up” cameras. I am taking some time off over the holidays and I’ll be trying to install and use this mode. I just hope that I don’t turn my camera into a fancy paperweight.

So are using the full capabilities of your camera or is there a whole lot in there that mystifies you? I think with my new found skills on the P setting, I’ve gone from using 1% of the camera’s capabilities to about  2%. I still have a long ways to go and about two dozen videos.

Trees of the Season

Christmas Living Room 2013 Edited

Heather has been working on the house both inside and out. Above is our living room. She makes works hard to make a very festive yet welcoming room. You can tell that LJ, the cat on the hearth is pretty happy with the result. He and Chrissy the Christmas cat take turns on the hearth. Or more precisely he gets the hearth until she kicks him off of it. 


Heather also decorated the outside. I put the lights on the eaves and Heather added the lights on the shrubs and wrapped the trees. Plus she put the tree in up the dining room window. I did a lot, I promise. Just because you can’t see what I did doesn’t mean that I didn’t do it. Or something like that.


This is the dining room tree that you could see through the window. It is our “old” Christmas tree recycled.


And this is my Nana,the world’s greatest MIL tree, or more precisely one of her trees. She loves the Gulf Coast so she has a palm Christmas trees complete with a flamingo. Works for me.


Oh, you thought she had just one tree, no, sorry this is sitting room tree in front of a window. 


Two trees you thought, sorry, this is her third tree. I like it best ofher trees. So territorial looking. Notice the stove, it is from one of her forbearers who were Oklahoma pioneers. It’s the real deal, but it is not hooked up to a flue. So no fires in it for now. In her previous house she had it hooked up and used it for heat once in a while when it got frosty.

Do you have a tree up yet? I mean if you celebrate Christmas.

Weekend Reflections – More Christmas Lights from Rhema Bible Church


I’m apologizing up front. Just the other day I posted a bunch of photographs of the lights of Rhema Bible Church in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow.


Sorry, but I like Christmas lights and they do a good job. They also have a pond that winds through their campus and makes for great reflections.


I bet right now that there is ice forming on the pond. It has cooled down into the low 20’s and it is supposed to get down close to zero tonight. Degress F, not C.


So I’m glad I took the pics when I did.


For the first bunch of years that we lived in Tulsa we didn’t go see the lights because we heard the traffic was bad. Well we braved it one night years ago and found out that there wasn’t any traffic. It seems like that happens a lot to me.

(Logan, Heather, and a pomeranian named Rascal.)

Have a great weekend! Get out and go see some lights. Don’t worry about the traffic just go.

Weekend Reflections

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Rhema Bible Church Christmas Light Display


Monday night, Heather, Logan, Me and a dog named Rascal loaded up and drove over to the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow to check out the Rhema Bible Church Christmas Light Display. It has been going on for 30 years and just keeps getting bigger and better all the time.


Being the wimps we generally just drive by with the seat warmers going this time though the temperature was mild so parked and walked around a little bit.


Its best seen on foot where you can get in amongst the lights. It really is magical with the bright bulbs and reflections. There are a lot of people there but it is not packed and everybody is in a good mood.


There are not too many rules and there are no minders barking at people. Mainly just stay on the walkway is the only thing they ask.


There are no fees for anything. They do have drinks and snacks for sale. They just ask that people have a good time. There was no problem with that. Lots of smiles and picture taking was going on.


The most popular decoration was a bridge of lights over a pond. The colors changed constantly to the beat of music.



All I can say is that Logan, Heather, Me, and a dog named Rascal all got our Christmas Spirit going. Kudos to Rhema Bible Church for putting this on. Public Service Company of Oklahoma probably has them on the Christmas card list. I do that for my best customers.

If you are somebody who celebrates Christmas what are doing to get your Christmas Spirit going?

Watery Wednesday II – Oklahoma City Bricktown Canal

I was in downtown Oklahoma City for a conference. I was staying downtown so it was easy during breaks to walk east across the railroad tracks to a funky old commercial industrial area called Bricktown, former home of warehouses, machine shops, and factories and now thoroughly gentrified into restaurants, stores, hotels, and condos.


The City has also built a canal that winds through the area. It is a really nice and peaceful place to walk.


It is not near the scale of San Antonio’s Riverwalk but last time I was in San Antonio it was funny how the locals there felt defensive about the Oklahoma City’s canal. “Well, its not near as nice as ours.” Of course not, Oklahoma City’s version is still great though, and a lot less crowded.


Its a great place to take a camera. Better take some duck food also. They don’t care about cameras.


Especially in the magic hour of the evening in between quitting time and happy hour.


At the far east end near the Bass Pro there is a Centennial Display celebrating the Oklahoma Land Run.


I’m not sure if the horses can jump that canal.


The light is dimming, time to head back,


The Christmas Lights made for a nice walk.

Watery Wednesday II

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Christmas on Automobile Alley

I am in Oklahoma City on business for a day or two. Usually I just buzz down the turnpike and back but not this time. My hotel is in the downtown area so I was looking forward to checking in and doing either some night time geocaching or photography. I got off the freeway exit and turned down Broadway to make my to my hotel when I saw buildings ablaze with light.


It was flat amazing. Each building was decorated with a single color of lights. So xnay on the old geocaching plan, (although I think they do have geocaches). I walked up and down and over across the streets taking pictures.


This section of Broadway north of downtown is called “Automobile Alley” because way back when in the early 20th century that is where most of Oklahoma City’s Automobile Dealers were here. It is not redone and gentrified with cool restaurants and shops.


I remember reading about these lights on my favorite Oklahoma Blog JenX67. She wrote about the lights here and here. I go to Oklahoma City quite often but usually during the day and with somebody. My coworkers are very patient with me but I don’t take them on too many wild photography and geocaching adventures. 


This store is just off Automobile Alley but they have upped the ante.


But nothing like the building right next to it. I’d hate to pay their electric bill. But I love the wild zaniness of the lights.


It was getting kind of late. I spotted this nice wine merchant. I went inside and spotted a nice Oyster Bay Pinot Noir and then I went back across the street to Hideaway Pizza and had their BBQ Chicken. Superb!!

Hideaway Pizza - Automobile Alley - #oklahoma_city

Have you seen any good Christmas lights lately?

Automobile Alley Signs

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