You probably noticed that I put my Christmas header photo up on the blog today. I like this header image partly because of the incredible story that goes with it of how PFRE blog readers solved the mystery of what these lights are.
I shot this near the middle of Lake Union in Dec 2006 aboard the Shubumi, a motor yacht, co-owned by a good friend and agent our office. Every year Fred takes all the agents in the office on a cruise one evening in Dec with the Christmas ship which is a big boating Christmas tradition in Seattle. Shooting on a rocking boat in the dark was a challenge. This shot is one of about 20 frames it took me to get this single least fuzzy shot. I shot it hand-held standing as close to the center of the boat as I could get to minimize port to starboard and fore and aft motion.
In 2007 when I first used this header, Aaron Leitz pointed out that he had a similar shot that he'd taken during the 2005 Christmas season from Gasworks park (just a ways North of where I took my photo) on a tripod with a telephoto lens. The exact same series of lights with the same spacing and color appear in his shots. The enlargement on the top the right shows the lights above the Columbia Tower that I took during Christmas 2006 and the one on the lower right is Aaron's shot from 2005.
Aaron suggested that since neither of us covered up our viewfinder when we took these shots perhaps the lights were reflections coming in the viewfinder. We've discussed several theories on why the same light pattern was present in the same Seattle skyline view taken under different circumstances during Christmas a year apart. Last year at this time I did a post showing this same comparison photo and asked for reader help solving this mystery.
Here's what last years PFRE readers turned up:
So there you have it through the miracle of crowd-sourcing. These lights are undoubtedly light echos from one of the beacon lights on one of the the high-rise buildings in Seattle.
Oh well, I still like the theory that we may be looking at Rudolph and Santa phenomena since Aaron’s shot suggests that this is very slow moving air traffic. Eight reindeer, two on each side with green lights (the 4 green lights on their harnesses) with one red light in front (Rudolph) don't confuse me with science!