Our Christmas Eve

My Christmas present this year seems to be my health. Finally, yesterday (Christmas Eve), the cold I've had for the last two weeks or so started to abate. Perhaps it was the drugs that the doc gave me, or maybe it was just time, but I finally felt good enough to at least do some shopping.

Our Christmas Eve began, just like last year and the year before, with the mini free concert at the Kyoto Hotel Okura. This time it was a Mr. Wakata playing Christmas favorites on the pan flute.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/40 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

Anthony had been hoping for horns like last year, so at times was a bit restless, but he showed genuine excitement on his face when he recognized the start of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/10 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Three generations watching the Christmas concert

When it was over, Fumie went to pick up our pre-ordered take-home Christmas meal, and Anthony stood in front of the hotel's huge Christmas tree making silly faces.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/45 sec, f/3.5, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

I had come separately, by bicycle, to get seats, so I left for home while Fumie's mom waited with Anthony for Fumie. Before taking off on my bike, I thought to take some pictures of the well-decorated little plaza outside the hotel, and to my surprised found that Fumie's mom and Anthony had strolled out there as well.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/15 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

I'm pretty proud of this next shot because it's an almost a two-second exposure hand held and it doesn't look too bad. The smudge/blur to the right of the tree's base, between it and the bench, is Anthony running laps. Fumie's mom is less of a blur, on the far left, with her head just below the green bundle of lights.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1.8 sec, f/18, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The Hotel Okura makes really good food for takeout, and this year Fumie ordered roast beef. The slow-cooked hunk of meat we got was the largest I've seen since a barbecue hosted by my brother many years ago. It's extremely expensive, but makes for a relaxing five-star meal at home.

After eating, Fumie's mom brought small gifts for Anthony. Here, he's being excited with a toy car from Fumie's dad (who is still in Malaysia for work).

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/90 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — full exif

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 26mm — 1/40 sec, f/3.5, ISO 640 — full exif

Then it was time for desert, a Christmas Cake from the hotel.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 34mm — 1/40 sec, f/5, ISO 640 — full exif

For whatever reason, the cake came with candles, so we decided to put them in and sing “Happy Birthday” to baby Jesus. This shot is all fuzzy, but shows Anthony's enjoyment better than any of the other shots I got.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 26mm — 1/10 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — full exif

That shot above is fuzzy because I didn't hold the camera still during the tenth-of-a-second exposure. The lens, Nikon's pro-level f/2.8 17-55 zoom, despite being pro is still only f/2.8, which is two stops (four times) slower than the lens I had for Anthony's birthday.

Compare the shot above with the one at right, taken with an f/1.4 Sigma 30mm during Anthony's birthday party.

Anyway, after Anthony went to bed, Daddy changed into Santa and wrapped a bunch of presents. (I wrapped perhaps six presents, and found that there are at least 12 different ways to fold down the end of the package.) I then combined them with gifts received earlier from others, and spread them out on the couch.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/5 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000 — full exif
Santa Visited

I also placed one present in front of the others, unwrapped. I told Anthony that if Santa comes and leaves presents, he shouldn't touch them when he finds them, but if a present is unwrapped, he can have it right away. So, I left one that he could play with right away.

Without a tree for the presents to be under, it all looks fairly lame to my American eyes. We'll have to remedy that next year.

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