This is not typical of me, but sometimes I just don't take my DSLR Nikon D5500 camera with me to fun experiences. I feel like it can be a little daunting knowing I have to keep it around my neck, then come home and transfer all the RAW files to edit in Lightroom. Not that I don't love it, but I need a break from it sometimes. So in comes my new iPhone 8, which I recently had to upgrade to for more storage capabilities, and I decided those pictures would be good enough for this trip. I'm actually really glad I did, because I was pleasantly surprised at the images I captured and then edited directly on my phone with the Fotor app. It was a simple and faster way of getting those images into Facebook and sharing.
We decided to brave the cold on Sunday, December 10th when it was a chilly 35 degrees to get some fun in at Carowind's new Winterfest in Charlotte, NC. We dressed warm and brought those "hot hands" warmers with us, so it wasn't too bad walking around with it being so frigid. Since we are Gold Pass members, Winterfest was included for us, but you can find out more ticket information at www.carowinds.com/play/winterfest. I was amazed and nostalgic as my family and I perused the beautiful display of lights, watched the singing and dancing Christmas entertainment, rode some of the rides that were still running, and visited the BEST SANTA EVER! I asked both my kids (3 and 5 years old) what they liked best. T said he liked the Santa and L said she liked the lights. My personal favorite was that the lights were synchronized with the music throughout parts of the park.
If you weren't sure Winterfest was worth the trip, I would say that it is. However, we went on a Sunday night when it was cold with less crowds. I always appreciate having more space and less crowds to enjoy a fun experience. I suggest trying to go on a Sunday night if possible. If you end up buying a season pass for 2018, then you can get your trip to Winterfest included in the season ticket price. Feel free to share your experience in the comments if you end up going.
Photography Tips: If you are using an iPhone to photograph a night time experience with Christmas lights be sure to use the tap and drag option for exposure. All you have to do is press your finger on the image for a few seconds. A little sun will pop up. Touch the sun and move it up and down for a change in exposure.
If you are bringing your DSLR camera make sure you increase your ISO in darkened situations. Do not use your flash! You should shoot in manual mode to give you full control of your camera. If you do not know how to use manual mode yet you are missing out on all the beautiful images you could create with your camera. If you want to learn how to take full control of your camera in 2 hours take my Introductory Photography Class. I will teach you how to go from auto mode to manual mode and you will be amazed what your camera is capable of when used in manual! Click here if you are interested in getting better photos with your DSLR camera.
Larisa is a natural light photographer and teacher in the Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, NC area.