My favorite time to visit Puerto Rico, where I was born and raised, is during Christmas. The temperatures are not as high and humidity is lower than in summer, and hurricane season is past. There are also the Christmas decorations.
During the Holidays, the entire island seems to be covered with Christmas lights and decorations, ranging from the traditional (Christmas trees, Santas, and yes, snowflakes) to the uniquely Caribbean (lights shaped like a roasting pig, maracas, and palm trees). If you visit Puerto Rico during Christmas and do not come back with some great pictures, it simply means you did not push the button.
The picture here features La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, decorated for Christmas. I photographed it straight on, since the building’s sides are blocked by other buildings. Notice that the decorations themselves are very familiar (Christmas trees, lights, and wreaths), but the Spanish Colonial architecture lends it a sense of place. This is not Kansas.
Because of La Fortaleza’s importance, special care is taken to make it look great for the Holidays, but the rest of Old San Juan offers limitless photo ops as well. Check out the Cathedral’s interior as well as the exterior of the Alcaldía, or City Hall, for example. You can thank me later.
Since photographing Christmas lights and decorations will require longer shutter speeds (it is dark), I always use a tripod and a cable release to avoid camera shake. This also allows me to shoot at lower ISO settings, which means my pictures will be less grainy. And of course don’t forget your shorts.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo and Happy Three Kings Day to all!
Now get out and shoot something.