Recently, we kicked off our Holiday celebrations with a trip to Meijer Gardens for their Holidays Around the World celebration. There were Christmas Trees decorated to represent cultures around the world, an outdoor light display, and my favorite part was the train garden. Throughout one of the Victorian greenhouse, beautiful, intricate, wooden replicas of Grand Rapids landmarks were put together around a model train track. I really liked the Big Red Lighthouse perched along a river near the base of a waterfall. Also represented were Fifth Third Ballpark, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and replicas of buildings in Grand Rapids’ sister cities: Omihachiman, Japan; Bielsko-Biała, Poland; Perugia, Italy; the Ga District, Ghana; and Zapopan, Mexico.
All in all, Meijer Gardens puts on a beautiful celebration of the holiday season. If you are in the area, Holidays Around the World runs until January 7. I would recommend you go the week before Christmas when they have extended hours to best enjoy the outdoor lights. Be sure to bundle up so that you can check out the sculpture garden in its winter glory!
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This Christmas Season, I was finally able to do something that I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember, attend Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village. Its a staple of the Christmas Season in Metro Detroit and I had never been! Holiday Nights begins at 6:30 and goes until 10:00 and those three and a half hours flew by! We rode a Model T and had a Christmas singalong on a horse drawn carriage. We saw Santa and his reindeer. We listened to carolers, a fife and drum corps, and warmed up around the fire and enjoyed music from Michigan’s Troubadour. Some of the historic homes were open and were cooking period appropriate holiday meals and you can sit fireside and watch dramatic retellings of classic Christmas stories. The restaurants were open and additional tents were around serving holiday treats and warm beverages. They even have ice skating available, but I didn’t think that was the best idea with my camera, so we skipped it. The night ends with a singalong and fireworks. We went on one of the coldest nights we’ve had so far this winter, but between the warm houses and the various fires set up around the village, it didn’t seem that cold. I was truly surprised by how much fun we had. I think Holiday Nights will become part of our Christmas traditions for years to come! If I’ve talked you into checking it, be aware that tickets sell out weeks in advance, especially for Fridays and Saturdays before Christmas, so when they go on sale, I wouldn’t sit on the fence too long or you might not get the day you want.
About the Photo:
Honestly, I didn’t do too much to this photo. The painted look it has came from the fact that my lens was a little fogged up. Apparently when its that cold, putting your gloved hand over your lens (something I tend to do in crowds to protect my lens) fogs it up. Between that and the poor high ISO performance of my entry level camera, it actually gave the photo an interesting look. This was shot in RAW with basic edits done in lightroom.
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, hand held
December 18, 2016
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For more information about Holiday Nights, visit The Henry Ford.
Wesolych Swiat means Merry Christmas in Polish. This is one of my favorite ornaments that hangs every year on my mother’s Christmas tree. As much as I would love to say it came over with my great grandparents from the old country, I’m pretty sure it was bought at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth sometime in the second half of this past century. If you’ve never been to Bronner’s, it really is something to behold. Bronner’s is the largest Christmas store in the U.S. and close to Christmas it can be hard to find a parking spot in their massive lot. They have practically any Christmas decoration you could ever imagine and I’ve always loved the section with the international ornaments. If you’ve never been to Frankenmuth, you should definitely put it on your list of places to visit because there really isn’t anything else like it!
This past weekend was the big parade weekend around the country. I braved the cold and drizzling rain to check out Howell’s Fantasy of Lights parade. This is a nighttime parade and all the floats are aglow with lights! Even the marching bands deck themselves out with lights. Of course, Santa comes to town at the end of the parade, ringing in the Christmas season! I love how the lights on the firetruck combined with all the strands of lights decorating it make this photo so red! I have to agree that this truck really embodies the Spirit of Christmas!
Shooting this parade was really a learning experience for me. I brought my 50mm f/1.8 because its the fastest lens I have, but for a lot of the images, I wasn’t able to freeze the motion like I wanted. I kept my ISO at 1600 so I could’ve upped that to 3200 but I was worried about the noise. I think next time, I might bring a monpod and see if that helps.