London

My Favorite London Christmas Lights Photo| London Photography BnW Photography by Rachel Abrahams

Previously, I shared some of my favorite photos I've taken of the London Christmas Lights but I didn't include this one, even though it is my favorite. Why is it my favorite? Let me count the ways:

  • The classic London buildings lining the edge of the image, feeling like they are leaning into the action
  • The long line of Christmas lights that just don't seem to end as you look waaaaay down the street
  • How the shoppers are blurred with their movement, increasing the feeling like everyone is just scooting along with their shopping

And lastly

  • The one gentleman in the middle who stood long enough to be captured in the image in his lovely red scarf

It's always the details that get me.

I'll admit, I was being a little selfish and didn't share this photo. Mainly because I couldn't decide on whether I preferred it in color or black and white.

So, since I couldn't decide I ask - which way do you like better and why? I promise, there's no right or wrong answer. I just love hearing what appeals to people about the different coloring of the images (kinda like my list up above of my favorite details).

See what I did there? I am letting everyone else make the decision FOR me. Genius, I say.

London Lights Up at Christmas Time | London Photography Christmas Lights Photography by Rachel Abrahams

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I wanted to post these photos before Thanksgiving but figured there'd be a "Thanksgiving hasn't even happened - slow down!" backlash, so I waited. The thing is, London doesn't have a Thanksgiving holiday so the Christmas lights start "switching on" in mid-November. So, to Londoners a post about the Christmas lights in November would be totally normal.

The lights are pretty great to see. Coming from a small area where our biggest decorations typically are Holiday-themed lamp posts and individually decorated houses running up the monthly light bill, these lights are gorgeous and fabulous to see.

Each year, there is a different theme to the London Christmas lights. Typically, they center around a big holiday movie that's being released or a traditional holiday theme. These photos are from 2011 and the theme was the movie "Arthur Christmas". If you haven't seen the movie, it's really cute!

It's wonderful to walk around the different areas that have the Christmas lights set up. There are activities planned around the "switching on" of the lights, in addition to their being located in some very popular streets including Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Regent Street and Southbank Centre. Some of those streets don't use the movie theme and have generalized Christmas lights. It's all beautiful, in my opinion. Especially the stars, because I have a thing for stars.

In addition to the lights, Trafalgar Square has a beautiful (and HUGE) Christmas tree. For multiple nights after the tree is lit, there are caroling groups that perform underneath it. With the National Portrait Museum behind you, the tree, Nelson's monument (including the lions), and the classic Big Ben in the distance, it all makes for a magic and surreal evening. We went to visit the tree and see the carolers back in 2006 and happened to pick the evening where The National Deaf Children’s Society was signing to Christmas songs. Fast forward 5 years to 2011 and the night we pick to see the tree - The National Deaf Children’s Society was there again! We couldn't have planned it if we tried.

As you can see, the lights typically go across the roads and are a wonderful vision above the hustle of traffic and bustle of shoppers. Since it's the city, people move quickly here and several times I had to tuck myself away against a wall or lamp post to ensure I could get the photo and not get trampled in the process. This was also the trip where my husband decided I needed to wear a brightly colored coat because my black one (and my hobbit height) added up to a lot of anxiety for him to keep track of me. Thankfully, he's heads and shoulders taller than the average height so he could typically find me. Our next winter trip to NYC, I bought a red pea coat so I could be a beacon of color for him.

Of the places I've visited for Christmas in my life, I can say my favorites have been London, New York City, and Walt Disney World. I will be visiting California for Christmas and may end up adding some new cities to my list.

Now, I know some folks might disagree with me so I wonder: Where in the world is your favorite place to see Christmas decorations and feel the holiday spirit? I have a feeling your responses may cause me to add some new cities to my bucket list.

P.S. In case you were wondering, my husband is 15 inches taller than me. Yes, he is that tall and I am that short. I love it.

P.P.S. If you'd like to see the lights this year and the activities, check out Visit London's site with all the information.

History Blending with Today | London Photography by Rachel Abrahams

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"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days." - Winston Churchill I felt the contrast of the entrance to the Tower of London (founded in 1066) on the left, it's corresponding souvenir shops and tourists on the right, and the modern "City of London" in the background really called for this quote. That blending of history with the modern day is the #1 reason I fell in love with London and seeing it so strongly in this image is why I chose to give the image a "vintage" sepia influenced coloring.

I love seeing the two people strolling along with their luggage, the others viewing the statue lions protecting the moat area, and many more tourists looking to shop for their souvenirs. If you look closely on the left corner, there is even a glimpse of the Tower Bridge, popularly known as "London Bridge". You can't see it in this image but along the shops on the right, there was also a Starbucks where you could sip your fancy coffee while viewing a monument 1200+ years old. See what I mean about history blending with today? Amazing.

I hope I've managed to help you "escape reality", even if just for a moment.

Counting Down The Hours.... by Rachel Abrahams

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Tomorrow, I am officially on Holiday Break. Physically, I am here but mentally.....I am far far far away. The lights are on but no one is home. And so on and so on. We recently got a new addition to our household, a new black pug puppy named Winston. His puppy energy was exactly what we needed around the house because I had fallen into a bit of a rut (and Otis, the 10yr old pug as well). Winston has kept most of my attention lately and I cannot wait to be home with my husband and our dogs for the next two weeks. Just gotta make it through the streeeetching hours of today.......

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I wanted to post some photos I found tucked away in my "edited photos" file and for some reason had not shared yet. It is my favorite city, London, at St. Paul's Cathedral, an absolutely breathtaking place to visit. If you ever go to see it, you definitely want to go to the top but be forewarned - it is a lot of steps. I mean - A LOT of steps. I was warned and thought it wouldn't be an issue but they also didn't tell me that the steps are not consistently the same size, so for some you barely fit your toes onto the step and you have to be careful. I can't even imagine by husband's size 16 feet making it up those teensy weensy stairs. It is a beautiful view though up there. Now, if you are afraid of heights - you might want to skip it.

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I've posted the image below in both  color and black and white. I am equally attached to both edits so you get to enjoy them both. As I count down my clock until the holidays, I will just keep looking at London photos and dream......

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