Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Holiday Season

With Christmas Day only a few hours away, my post features images of holidays past. The opening photo brings back memories of a previous Christmas Day. We were with family and friends at their home in rural North Dakota. The sun peeking through the trees and reflecting off the blanket of snow made it seem warmer than it was. But we were surrounded by the warmth of the love of our friends and our family who will be connected with us only by Zoom this holiday season.

This week’s post is in response to Ann-Christine’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge here.

In Albuquerque, the New Mexico BioPark Society features a light display as their annual fundraiser. As you might imagine, that event has been postponed this year due to the pandemic. A post on the City of Albuquerque website features a statement from the executive director of the BioPark. They will be back with a postponed display when the time is right in 2021. The above photo is of a spider web of lights with a blue spider. I experimented with this shot by using a slow shutter speed and zoomed in on the web. Simultaneously with pressing the shutter button, I twisted the lens zoom ring capturing the zoom in streaks of light. It’s one of my favorite holiday images.

In Phoenix, at the zoo, the annual Zoolights program is continuing with a modified program allowing both a walk-thru and a drive-thru experience. Their walk-thru has been modified to limit the number of guests and to encourage social distancing. The drive-thru experience is called Cruise Zoolights and is a new way to visit for 2020. To ensure safety, the two experiences are held on different nights. A gallery at the end of this post features additional images from both River of Lights and Zoolights.

I enjoy taking photos of Christmas ornaments on the tree. Here’s one of my favorites, a reproduction of a Norman Rockwell work. This year is only the second year of wintering in Arizona where we are not back home in Fargo for the holidays. We won’t be having a family gathering due to the pandemic, our son and family will be staying in North Carolina, and our daughter and family will be at home in Fargo. We will plan a Zoom meeting that may or may not happen on Christmas Day, but certainly sometime during the holiday weekend.

In 2017, I’d gotten a Samsung S6 Cellphone. It was the first camera phone I owned that was capable of adjusting the image focus. We have a Christmas village scene that we display in our Fargo home. I thought it would be fun to experiment with that new ability by creating this street scene. Unfortunately, the tree and Christmas village will stay boxed up and put away awaiting a more joyous 2021 Christmas (we hope.)

I conclude this post with a holiday card from my wife, Lynn, and myself. The folks at the Lens-Artists Challenge are taking a well-deserved break next week, so I will have something special for my usual Thursday post on New Year’s Eve. Have a joyous holiday season and stay safe in 2021. I know it will be a better year for us all!






  1. What a beautiful set of memories John and as usual the photos are exquisite. I love the spider light effect you achieved and got a big smile from the zoo lights at the end. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

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