Christmas at the Vancouver marina

Deck the hulls with twinkling lights! Boat and yacht owners get into the Christmas spirit near Granville Island on False Creek in downtown Vancouver. (Julia Pelish/

Photo by Julia Pelish Visuals Editor

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Every neighbourhood or region has its own holiday decorating traditions. Some of the coolest ideas can be seen after dark down on the dockside. Boats that sit idle when the weather turns chilly come back to life during the Christmas season, illuminating harbours, marinas, and coves with the twinkling lights that deck out their hulls and masts. The  lights silhouette the contours of the boats against the night water, creating a lovely vision for the holidays.

When I first moved to Vancouver I was so surprised to see Christmas boats and I was delighted to find out this tradition is actually celebrated all over the world with boat owners. I took this photo and used it for my Christmas card. To shoot this at night, I put my Nikon D200 camera body with its 50mm fixed lens at aperture f/11 set at ISO 400 for a long exposure on a tripod. The f/11 setting gave the image good depth of field and also created the star effect you see on the boat lights, adding a bit of extra sparkle to the photo.

Hope you all get magical holiday shots. Happy shooting in 2014, too!

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A photographer who has worked in the largest media markets in Canada and the U.S., Julia’s travel photos and videos have been featured prominently in the Toronto Star and been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, New York and Vancouver. Her new line of photo jewelry was inspired by her travels. Even though she is an American, one of her favourite travel experiences was spending Canada Day 2000 on Parliament Hill, joining in a parade with then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien and others. Julia is’s Visuals Editor. See her work at

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