This is definitely an unconventional photograph of ‘stockings’, but it represents a Hurley family Christmas tradition. When I was growing up in London, England, my mother always gave my brother and I an old white pillowcase (sham) each to place at the end of our beds when we went to sleep on Christmas Eve. It really could be any pillowcase she happened to have spare in the airing cupboard, and we didn’t decorate them in any way. It was always so exciting every Christmas morning to find out what Santa had filled them up with. As a parent myself now, I know what a great distraction it must have been in the mornings while we waited for my grandparents to arrive before we could open all our family presents. I knew that I wanted to continue this ritual when I had children, but we added our own little twist to the tradition. Each December I buy three zippered white pillow liners for around $2 each, and then on Christmas Eve the kids decorate them with markers, sign, and then date them. The picture above contains just a few of the special ‘stockings’ that we have accumulated over the years, the oldest one here dating back to 2003. Ella and I collected up those that we could immediately lay our hands on this afternoon, pegged them to some twine, and strung them from the fence in our backyard to display them for this photograph.
I took this image at around 4 o’clock this afternoon, with my 17-55 f/2.8 Canon lens. It was extremely bright and sunny, so my ISO was set at 100, my shutter speed was 1/400, and my aperture was open at f/2.8 so I could take advantage of a shallow depth of field. In Lightroom 4 I increased the exposure, clarity, contrast, and the whites in the picture.
And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care… These are my two children’s first Chrsitmas Stockings. Although they do not hang by the chimney anymore , having eventually been replaced with some very large and long red ones, these are the stockings that hang on their bed posts each Christmas Eve night. And Santa never forgets to fill them with a small Christmas token.
It was evening when I took this picture and I used my 50 mm 1.4 lens. My settings were ISO 1600, F 1.4 and a shutter speed of 1/125. I edited with a custom white balance, increased the exposure and clarity, and sharpened in lightroom