We took our annual Christmas photos of the kids two weekends ago, but I've only just put them up on my web gallery. We used the one of both kids to make and send some Christmas cards, a chore we'd neglected in recent years. The background (fallen liquidambar leaves) may look more fall-like than Christmassy, but that's what it's like here.

Then, last weekend, we all went out to the Parade of Lights in Newport Harbor, in which all the boats get decorated with lights and sail past all the fancy houses also decorated with lights. As in past years, we found it worked well to leave home around 4:30 for an early dinner at Ruby's on the Balboa pier, then take the ferry across the bay to catch the 6:30 start of the parade in the channel between Balboa Island and the mainland. I alternated between photos with a wide aperture and a shutter fast enough to freeze the motion of the boats, with much longer exposures that blurred the motion into abstract streaks of light, but I ended up keeping primarily the long exposures. Full gallery here.

Ruby's on the pier Blurred Boats in the Newport Beach Parade of Lights Noel, decorated boat in the Newport Beach Parade of Lights

Camera memory has certainly become much more inexpensive recently — I replaced the old 1Gb compact flash card I had been using with a 2Gb card, for only $40 (the old card will still serve as overflow space). These sets mark the first use of the new card. I almost filled the 2Gb with around 250 boat parade shots (though I ended up editing the list down to only 38 afterwards) so the extra space is definitely helpful.