a tale of three manger scenes

I set out to photograph at least one manger scene for a Christmas post. My favorite manger scene has always been the one that was in front of [the now former] St. Stanislaus Church on the corner of East 28th Street and Elyria Avenue. It had the words “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” across the top of the manger and the most beautiful angel “floated” alongside. St. Stanislaus closed in September 2009 and the manger scene ended up at [the now former] St. John’s Church [now known as St. Francis Xavier Cabrini] on the corner of State Route 57/Grove Avenue and Homewood Drive. I thought it would be quite the sight to capture at night, but I am not happy with my results. I intentionally cropped this photo to show all the spot and flood lights that lit the scene. I never made it out there again to experiment with/take advantage of the early morning light [the scene faced southeast]. I invite you to offer your suggestions regarding how I could overcome those spot and flood lights for a night shot next year.
gloria in excelsis deo

The next manger scene I tried to photograph is the one that sits in Veterans Park across from City Hall on West Erie Avenue. This manger scene faces north, so I thought my best option would be a night shot. The challenges with this scene turned out to be the chickenwire protecting the inhabitants of the manger and the white-with-a-bluish-cast LED lights that lit the scene. I used my flash and did some editing in an attempt to better light the scene and override the LEDs. I even tried every one of my white balance settings. I thought I tried daytime shots with and without flash and didn’t like the results, but I don’t see any examples in my archives, so that’s what I’ll try next year.
Lorain manger

Last but not least, I got over to St. Anthony’s on East Erie Avenue on a sunny New Year’s Eve around noon to shoot their brand new manger scene. The light was kinda sorta right on because the manger scene faced south. Of the three scenes, this one photographed the easiest and best.
Saint Anthonys manger

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