Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winterhaven and Local Luminaries

Tonight, as promised, will be devoted to Christmas displays at private houses, in and out of Winterhaven. I'm afraid the text to accompany the photos will be a bit rushed. I just watched twelve episodes of the BBC series Merlin back to back, which ate up rather a lot of time today, along with three episodes of House. Hey, John led me astray! So I'll have to make my rounds of Robins and other folks tomorrow, and keep tonight's entry brief and to the point.

Here, then, are more scenes from the Winterhaven "dress rehearsal" last night:

Another shot of the dreidel house.

Penguins lobby for Santa to move to the other pole.

Complete with Thurl Ravenscroft singing "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."

Looney Tunes and other cartoon characters are all over Winterhaven.

A simple message of the season.

This year's local trend: Christmas saguaros with Santa hats!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

I could show you a few more Winterhaven pictures, but you get the idea. Some rely on lots of lights, some on store-bought figures, and some are highly creative and original. Click on any photo to get to my Picasa album of Christmas images.

Good as Winterhaven is this time of year, it doesn't have a monopoly on Christmas houses. There are a number of good ones in my own neighborhood, which leaves me feeling slightly guilty that we haven't the money and drive to put together something nice ourselves. But the most extreme Christmas house in the neighborhood, possibly in all of Tucson, is about a minute's drive from my house. Here it is:

The Big Tree, 2006
From the Picasa album Christmas

It's almost impossible to capture on a digital camera just how big that tree is, especially at night. For this 2006 shot I lightened the heck out of it to try to reveal the upper branches, but they tend to get lost in the digital noise of the night sky.

The Big Tree, 2008. The structure on the left is a house.

Compare the height of that tree with the one story house on the left side of the photo. You can see the line of the flat roof below the Maypole-style canopy of lights. The top of the tree can be seen from at least a block away.

Part of the display below the Big Tree.

And of course there's lot more to this particular display than the tree. The shot above covers maybe half of the ground-level cacophany of lights and figures.

Another neighbor's house. It gets better every year.

Closer to home is this house, which I've photographed a few times over the years. It's modest compared to the house with the Big Tree, but it's really well designed, I think.

That'll do for tonight!



Wammy said...

All I want to know is who climbs the big tree to put the lights out. Looks almost like they need a cherry picker to do it. Wow!

Martha said...

Wow, that one tree is huge! You did a great job getting out to shoot this series! I signed up to play along, but don't think I'll make it this time around.

splummer said...

Awesome lights!!! I want to know who puts these up every year or do they leave them up all year??


Karen Funk Blocher said...

As best I can tell, people usually leave the lights up all year on any large trees and some rooftops, and put up the other stuff on a seasonal basis. Since it doesn't rain much here, the lights tend to survive pretty well, although I remember a string I left on a saguaro being destroyed during an unusually harsh winter in 1987.

It's raining here today, which doesn't usual happen much in December. Everything looks very different on soggy ground under grey sky.

Anonymous said...

Twelve episodes of Merlin back to back and you survived!

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Alan - hey, the show's not THAT bad! It is a bit of a "magical threat of the week" formula, but it does get a bit better as it goes along. And their version of Merlin reminds me a bit of my character Rani. That said, John thought it was very Smallville, and was hoping the characters would grow up already.