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Georgetown (Not-So-Many) Holiday Lights Walking Tour

December 5, 2011

Last year for Christmas, I gave my mom a Groupon for a Premier Photo Tours guided walk. I thought it might be fun to use together in the spring while the cherry blossoms were blooming or in the fall, when red, orange and gold leaves blanket the city.

Naturally, however, we waited until the last possible moment to use the Groupon and ended up right back in December, signing up for a December Holiday Lights Walk around Georgetown.

Our guide, Stu, was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. I went out of his way to give every member of the 8-person group individual attention, tailoring his instructions for cameras ranging from point-and-shoots to DSLRs. His 25 years of photography experience were evident and it was clear he knew exactly what he was talking about.

But — and you know there was a ‘but’ coming — the tour itself was pretty much a bust. Too be fair, the main drag of Georgetown along M Street wasn’t very Christmas-y yet but rather than spend time photographing the scenic parts of Georgetown, or walking back into the quaint and historic neighborhood, we spent the bulk of a 3-hour tour walking a 2-block radius of Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, near Key Bridge.

While it certainly wasn’t the guide’s fault that the neighborhood wasn’t decorated for the holidays, I fully expected a set walking a route through the charming part of DC’s historic district, not a slow slog that detoured through a gas station parking lot. While I got some decent photos, they weren’t any different than photos I might take myself during the typical Sunday afternoon walk.

One camera feature I was happy to learn more about was the aperture, since I (honestly) stick to the great pre-sets on my camera (alternating them among Portrait, Landscape, Beach, etc. modes).

Too low?

A little better. I love the sweep of car lights.

… and a little better.

Stu also gave some great low-tech solutions for shooting in low light. With just a simple piece of string, even a point-and-shoot amateur photographer can (somewhat) simulate the benefits of having a tripod.

Georgetown is my favorite neighborhood in DC because of its historic, charming buildings. While it may be a good photography lesson to take pictures of shadows and interesting buildings, a tour called ‘December Holiday Lights Walk’ should include more lights from twinkling Christmas trees and fewer from moving cars.

I’ll say this in closing: photo walks have a lot of potential and I’d be open to trying one in the future. Since it was a Groupon and a gift, it was money well-spent. (Plus we went to a fantastic dinner afterward – details coming tomorrow!) But now I’m really in the mood to see some decorated houses in DC. Guess I’ll just have to plan my own photo walk.

Is your neighborhood decorated for the holidays? Have you decked the halls yet?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2011 4:33 pm

    I’m officially inviting myself on your walking tour

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