CHRISTMAS. EVERY TIME I think I've finished buying presents, someone springs to mind that had slipped my mind. And unusually, for me, most of my shopping has been done in actual shops rather than online shops. A change in circumstance has led to a change in habits. Specifically, shopping habits which (left unchecked) had spiralled into an endless round of ordering and returning. I was a frequent visitor to our local Post Office with my pile of parcels and free return labels. Embarrassingly so.

Gift shopping this year has been quite different. Walking mile upon mile, I have visited numerous shops, thinking, choosing, checking price, checking budget. It's been a task that at times, shamefully, I've had little enthusiasm for. But soon enough we'll be with our family and friends celebrating the holidays together after several months apart. After all, that's what it should be about. I really feel that this year.

Christmas Lights

For a few days a couple of weeks ago, the fog hovered over the mountain where we live leaving the air cold and the sunlight, pale and thin. At this time of year, twilight falls around 4 pm. An hour later it's dark. The streets around us are awash with festive lights hanging up and around hedges, trees and houses. The front garden of a house down the road is filled with enormous Christmas themed inflatables. Penguins, a teddy bear, Santa in a helicopter, a train, Olaf. At night they glow and smile (a little eerily) with festive spirit.

Canyon Lights

I've always found it difficult to take a decent photograph in very low light levels. The resulting images always look disappointing. Dropped focus, blurring, boring colours. Never the artistic looking image I have in my mind's eye. I could probably improve the situation with spending a good few hours post processing but I have neither the time or passion for that, preferring, to get a good looking picture from the start.

So when we visited Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge I knew not to expect too much and to just go with the flow. Take some pictures. See what happens. Using my iPhone and Canon 60D I took many pictures, like most visitors, of the hundreds of thousands of lights that adorn the trees. But once I looked past the lights, turned my back on them, a little bit of photo magic happened. Well, maybe not magic, but in between the leaves and branches, just enough light shimmers revealing a smudge of canopy shadowed against the sky. Most of the pictures I take are pretty rubbish but there are a few that hold a subdued glow or a brilliant point of light. Here are the ones I think work the best. Happy Christmas!

All photographs © Tanya Clarke 2017 using iPhone 6 & Canon 60D