Tag Archives: menorah

Reflecting on the Eighth Night

How many menorahs are there?

How many menorahs are there?

Yesterday one of my friends from high school and Sunday School, Calvin Rose, posted a photo on Facebook of his lit menorah. I loved how the eight candles plus the shamash were reflected in the window.

Hey, thought I! I’ve never taken a pic like that in all these years of trying something new every Chanukah. It was time . . . especially with it being the eighth night. Otherwise, I’d have to wait until next year, perish the thought.

So I placed a TV tray by the window in the dining room and moved the menurkey to it. Lit the candles as I chanted the prayer and then picked up my Nikon D700.

Notice something colorful in the background?

Notice something colorful in the background?

After I lamented not having one big, solid window, I snapped and then checked the result. What a surprise! Thanks to my neighbor Tony, his multicolored Christmas lights gave me some sweet accidental bokeh.

Bokeh front and back

Bokeh front and back

Naturally, I thoroughly enjoyed finishing off the holiday with my very own reflective (low) light show.

Focusing on Tony’s lights

Focusing on Tony’s lights

Hope Calvin comes up with another great idea for me to steal try next year!

Bring On the Holidays!

We’ll break out two new menorahs this year . . . if the other one arrives on time.

We’ll break out two new menorahs this year . . . if the other one arrives on time.

Chanukah starts tomorrow night (yep, it’s early), and, believe it or not, I’m just about ready. I even used more-appropriate gift wrap, for a change. Pats on the back for me!

My coy boy

My coy boy

My younger son arrived home yesterday afternoon from SHSU. His older brother still has three classes today at UTSA before he joins us tonight. There will be joy, merriment, and lots of Chanukah candles to light. Plus Thanksgiving!

As always, there’s a lot to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Farewell to Chanukah

Younger helps older keep his candles lit

Younger helps older keep his candles lit

This time of year the days just fly by. As well as the eight nights of Chanukah.

I guess the excitement of my college kid returning home coupled with a steady parade of his friends and a new Wii U accelerated the end of the holiday.

Love this photo of all three of my sons (including Chase in the middle)!

Love this photo of all three of my sons (including Chase in the middle)!

We’re cherishing the wonderful memories.

Sticky stuff abounds on this menorah.

There’s more sticky stuff being deposited.

And, as always, lamenting all that waxy buildup. Some things never leave our hearts . . . or our menorahs!

Chanukah Waxes On

Here we go: Night #2

Here we go: Night #2

When I look at this photo of my younger son lighting his menorah Sunday night, one thing pops out at me: Wax. Lots and lots of the sticky stuff all over the back of the candelabrum. Obviously, we don’t do a good job cleaning them once Chanukah ends. Talk about your waxy buildup!

Nestling the shamash back in place.

Nestling the shamash back in place.

Maybe we’ll do a better job this year.

But probably not.

The kid loves Cookie Monster!

The kid loves Cookie Monster!

I always like when I can surprise my sons with their gifts. My younger boy didn’t have this warm cap on his list, but I knew he’d want it, because he likes anything warm (he hates being cold). Plus he’s a huge Cookie Monster fan!

Yet another videogame for my older son

Yet another videogame for my older son

Of course, a list is the best way to ensure that you’re giving the kids things they want. My collegian put together a collection of desires from videogames for all our current Nintendo systems  to ones for his and his brother’s hoped-for big present: The new Wii U. As well as a watch, books, and gift cards.

Little bro’s list was smaller, but one item stood out very large: A Pedro Martinez jersey. He didn’t really care which team it was from (the three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time all-star played for five of them) . . . but I did! There was no way I was going to allow anything with the words “New York Mets” (aka the sworn enemy of all Cub fans) in my house. No way!

The kid shows his Skyping big bro his gift.

The kid shows his Skyping big bro his gift.

Fortunately, I was able to score a used (but it looks new) Martinez Boston jersey via eBay. Pedro helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series.

He likes it!

He likes it!

The kid is a Red Sox fan, making his third-night gift very special. Pat on the back for mom!

The third-night candles are burning low.

The third-night candles are burning low.

So what will tonight bring? One thing’s for sure: Even more wax on the kid’s menorah!

Chanukah Oh Chanukah!

I’m lighting the candle as I’m snapping the pic. Multitasking!

I’m lighting the candle as I’m snapping the pic. Multitasking!

Welcome to my annual week-long foray into low-light photography. Or, as it’s known by its given name, Chanukah!

My younger son lights his menorah.

My younger son lights his menorah.

Our favorite holiday started Saturday night. So far the kid hasn’t hated any of his gifts. But it’s still early.

This is an unusual way for my older son to wear a yarmulke.

This is an unusual way for my #1 son to wear a yarmulke.

As usual (well, for the last few years), my older son joined us via Skype from UTSA. I could hear him chanting along with the candle-lighting prayer and could watch him open his first-night present.

He likes his new watch!

He likes his new watch!

While I’m glad that technology allows us to be “together” when there are so many miles between us, I’ll be so happy when my collegian is finished with finals (which start Wednesday) and will be home for the last two nights.

Even used videogames cause a smile.

Even used videogames cause a smile.

Being together for at least part of our holiday makes it even better and definitely brighter.

The kid’s menorah is lonely.

The kid’s menorah is lonely.

Plus there will be so many more candles to photograph with the addition of yet another menorah on the seventh and eighth nights!

Sidebar: For previous Chanukah posts, please type “Chanukah” into the search box in the right column.

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!

One-Word Wednesday

My sons smile over last evening’s final night of Chanukah candles.

Finished!

By the way, here’s how my boys looked in 2005. What a difference!