Sovereign Hill: Winter Wonderlights

8 Jul 2019

Every year Sovereign Hill, a local award-winning museum, puts on a winter festival that is full of the purest winter romance. It’s the museum as you know it but decked out with fairy lights, Christmas decorations, big red bows and incredible colourful lights. It’s an event called Winter Wonderlights.

I love it. Everyone gets rugged up. The costumed staff walking around are draped in glorious winter coats like you might see in fairy tales. There are top hats and lanterns and warm hand muffs. Toffee apples are available from most stores. Snow falls in intervals around the main street, sparkling in the sunlight or catching the night lights like raining gems. There are extra activities throughout the day, back to back pantomimes and performances in the theatre, extra special goods at the bakery. It would take a thousand words to give the full details of everything that goes on. So how do you make a picture worth a thousand words, particularly if I am my own photographer?

I decided to try another composite image project. This one was going to be a little more challenging than the last one, but I’m up for a challenge. And without a challenge, how am I going to grow as a photographer? So I decided I was going to try and capture two separate composites. One showcasing part of the 15km of fairy lights that deck the outdoor museum, and one to capture the lights that brighten up the Main Street.

I started with some pictures of me using a remote shutter and a tripod while it was daylight so my camera could handle the movement. Then I took some pictures of friends standing in costume wandering around. Then I took pictures of the street at the sunset and finally I took pictures of the lights as they lit up the fronts of the building and everything else was black. Then I spent a ridiculous amount of time putting them all together (see the first photos).

Secondly, I took several photos of the fairy lights in the same position I had stood for my daylight shot, with varying levels of focus to get the bokeh and then I blended them all together. I’m not completely happy with either composite picture but I’m very happy with the effort and experimentation that went into putting them together to try and show the magic of the museum without showing just the blackness of night time. 

I’ve spoken before at length about how much I love the museum. You can check it out during Winter Wonderlights between Jun 29 - Jul 21. Book your tickets in advance to get the best experience. You can find out everything you need to know online here.

- L

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