Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

The holiday season is fast approaching its end, highlighted on New Years Eve by First Night Boston. I know there are other First Night celebrations, but this is mine and I love it. I used to work for First Night Boston, until I was replaced by a platoon of volunteers with digital cameras. Now that's progress!

Anyway, I brought out a couple of old pictures to share with you. Back in the day, I actually did do portraits and concerts and happy people celebrating. There are so many opportunities to try different things at a day-long event like this, it's really fun. First nights are alcohol-free, with family events during the day and cultural events at night.

Boston's New Years Eve celebration has two fireworks launches - one around 7:00 and the second at midnight. For early-birding party-poopers like me, that's terrific. The early "Family fireworks" happen at the Boston Common. You can shoot them with ice sculptures, outdoor entertainment, and the ice skating rink. It's an unusual opportunity to shoot fireworks with a foreground.  The midnight fireworks are launched from Boston Harbor, so you need to be in East Boston to get a good view of fireworks over the city skyline.

This picture shows last night's fireworks over the Frog Pond skating rink and some of the million spectators who cheered them on.

Of course, many New Years Eve events offer opportunities other than fireworks. Like ice sculptures. I am in awe of the artists who carve these short-lived creations.  To take a block of ice, carve it with chainsaws, blow-torches, ice picks, and whatever, and then simply let it melt away would drive me crazy. I would want more permanence. But the ice sculptors work their medium to its best advantage, and the finished product is lovely to photograph. My camera's automatic exposure works quite well on ice sculptures. The ice picks up the colors in the lights around it and shows the textures beautifully. The worst problem is getting close enough to the displays to photograph them!

A couple of years ago, there was snow in the air on New Years Eve. The snow picked up the light and made Boston Common look magical. The lights twinkled, the air was filled with gold, and the fireworks were almost anti-climactic. I don't like crowds, but I love First night.

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