The 2011 Retrospective: The Chanukah Lights

An end view of the boys’ menorahs on the first night of Chanukah.

My favorite childhood memory of Chanukah was lighting our family’s menorah. All four of us kids had to share those lighting duties, which meant we cherished our chance to kindle those candles twice.

My older son computes on his MacBook Pro illuminated by the second night’s candles.

My sons are lucky, because they have their own menorahs to light. And I’m fortunate, because that makes twice as many candles for me to photograph each Chanukah (well, except for last year when my older son was at college for the entire holiday). A recap of our 2009 Chanukah is here, hereherehere, and here. Last year’s illuminating experience is here, here, and here.

The long view of the third night’s candles.

As always, I tried to document this year’s holiday with unique photos every night. Which can be hard to do when you consider there are only a few variables to manipulate: My two sons, menorahs, and candles.

Interesting how the candles shrink at different paces on night four.

Fortunately for me, the candles burn for a long time and at different rates on both menorahs. That gave me more opportunities to change things up.

I snapped away looking up at the menorah on night five.

Having the menorahs on the dining room table where my older son set up his MacBook Pro made for some interesting photos, too (although I think he got tired of me turning off the overhead light so often).

More candles make the sideshow more interesting on the sixth night.

It also helped that he was home for the entire holiday. The more candles, the better photo ops!

The candles brightly burn very low on the seventh night.

The last two nights of the holiday were the easiest to capture via my Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens.

My #1 son puts the shamash (helper candle) back on night seven.

More candles mean better lighting, although I still often used a +.03 or +.07 exposure compensation.

Both boys light their candles on the eighth night.

The action usually was fast and furious as I snapped away while the boys lit their menorahs.

My younger son makes sure his candles are snug on night eight.

Once you reach the eighth night, there aren’t an opportunities for retakes. You’ve just got to hope you’ve done your best in photographing eight wonderfully illuminating evenings.

Smoke trails off after a wick meets its maker on the last night.

And now it’s over!

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