(Click on the photos to enlarge)
Something I have always wanted to do but never managed to fit into the busy Holiday schedule before tonight is to capture the beauty of my city's downtown Christmas lights. Both of these were shot from the same area across the street from Alamo Plaza, using the white lights in the trees to frame some important landmarks.
On our last trip to the beach in July I finally 'got' the night-photography lesson illustrated here: Between 15 and 45 minutes or so after sunset, long exposures benefit from a rich blue sky. This 'perfect' time fades quicker in the winter I think, because it sure went away fast tonight!
The main thing is to plan your shot(s) so that you're in position with a few minutes to spare when everything starts to come together.
I can't explain it as well as this article at The Strobist, which served as a timely reminder that made these photos possible.