Festival of Lights

Begun in 1992, the Riverside Festival of Lights draws over 150,000 visitors yearly and is considered by many attendees to be a traditional family event. These digital photographs were made on December 3, 2012.

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Knowing that parking would be difficult to find, even on a Monday night, I rode the motorcycle downtown shortly after sundown and parked at the south edge of the walk-through mall near City Hall. I was carrying my lightweight Manfrotto tripod and the Panasonic Lumix G1 Micro Four Thirds camera. Both are relatively easy to carry around. 

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The south entrance of The Mission Inn. The 2012 version of the Festival featured an estimated 3.6 million lights. 

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The “tree-shaped” strings of lights on a bank building located on the mall.  

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The ice skating rink. The ice surface is fairly well taken care of, except on those days when the afternoon heat approaches 85 degrees F, when the surface melts to a quarter-inch of water. Luckily the temperatures plunge after sundown and the surface ice refreezes. Skating costs $10 per hour plus skate rental. No figure skate rentals are available. Rentals are of hockey skates, so bring your own figure skates, if needed.  

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The southwest corner of The Mission Inn, as seen from across the street. Note the red, white, and purple streaks, The red and white streaks are from automobile lights. The purple streaking is from the lights on a horse-drawn carriage. Most of these photos were made with long exposures produced by an aperture of f/22, in oder to blur out most of the many pedestrians. A few were made using high ISO settings.

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This tree of light balls sits over a large circular water fountain, a favorite of mine. 

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Electric holiday presents at the southern entrance of The Mission Inn. The white streaking is from autos moving through the u-shaped driveway.

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The patio of a downtown restaurant.

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The east side of The Mission Inn. I rented a studio apartment on this side of the Inn during the Fall and Winter of 1971-1972. At that time it had a small balcony, which has since been removed.

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I walked slowly through the mall to the north end where the Inn is located, and made a circuit around the Inn,then back through the mall. The entire circuit took me two hours, since I frequently stopped  to set up the tripod and shoot and I was in no particular hurry.

When I was shooting on the east side of the Inn I began smelling intermittent wafts of air saturated with the scent of funnel cake. Since I hadn’t eaten since noon, it smelled wonderful. I decided to get some when I located the source on the mall, since it would hit the spot just right, particularly if I could get hot chocolate with it. I kept looking for the vendor during the last half of the circuit back to the bike, but I never saw it. I guess I was too distracted by photographic opportunities…

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