While the holiday season is usually one of joyous times spent with family and friends, it can also serve as a time for remembrance and deeply felt love. This is the case for my neighbours, Uby and Cindy Paul.
The Paul’s daughter Christina was five or six years old when she first became enthralled with the lights and decorations that adorned various homes in our town during the festive season. She and Uby would drive around on Christmas Eve so Christina could absorb all of the wonder and beauty.
At that young age, Christina began helping Uby set up the lights and decorations at the family home. It became one of those very special bonding events…an annual tradition.
Every year they would spend many hours together planning and setting up all of the lights and decorations.
Then, tragically, a car accident claimed Christina at 4:30PM on April 6, 1993. She was only 14 at the time.
Later that year Uby and Cindy were unsure about whether to string the lights or not. The pain was simply overwhelming.
After wrestling with the decision for a couple of weeks Uby decided that he would put up the lights as a way of honouring Christina. So, at 4:30PM on November 28, 1993 he turned on the lights at 85 Debora Drive in Grimsby, Ontario.
The date and time were both of special significance to the Paul family. November 28th celebrated the day that Christina entered the world, and 4:30PM was the time that she tragically left it.
Every year since then Uby has spent countless hours planning out the display, adding new pieces, and retiring old ones.
Most of the month of November is spent assembling everything and putting it in place to make sure it is ready for November 28.
Their annual display now includes special elements like the penguins that recognize the Paul’s son Robert who was only 11 when his sister Christina died.
An RIP monument was added this year in remembrance of Uby’s best friend, Al, who recently passed.
Each year the lights are turned off after Christmas Eve in memory of Uby’s brother Robert who died on December 24, twelve years ago.
I cannot even begin to explain the significance of all of the various decorations and lights that bless the Paul’s home between November 28 and December 24. But Uby and Cindy can – and do – when people drop by to see their annual display.
I do know that the angel on the front lawn reminds them of Christina.
The Paul’s are wonderful, gracious folks who share the loving memory of their daughter every year with Christina’s Lights…bringing joy to all who come to view them.
Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.
I would like to ask…..how do you decide what ISO to use?
when you write 10-100mm? then 10 or 15.2 or something like that is that your Sutter speed?
Nasim uses a plug-in on the site that automatically reads the EXIF data on the image and places that below each photograph. There are four details provided after the description of the lens. The first appears as @xxmm. This is the focal length at which the image was captured – these are the figures you refer to as ’10 or 15.2 or something like that’ in your post. Then the ISO is noted i.e. ISO-xxxx. The shutter speed then follows usually shown as a fraction, 1/60 for example,. The last detail is the aperture used to take the image. This is shown as f/5.6 for example.
As far as the ISO’s used for each of the images in the article they were determined by the camera. I typically shoot my Nikon 1 gear using Manual settings for aperture and shutter and set my ISO to an ‘auto’ setting to achieve proper exposure. In this case I used Auto ISO160-3200 so the camera would not exceed ISO-3200 for any given image. I used the PRIME noise reduction function in OpticsPro 10 Elite to handle noise in the images. Based on past experience I feel quite comfortable shooting with my Nikon 1 gear up to ISO-3200.
Since I shot all of these images in the evening hand-held I didn’t want to go beyond ISO-3200. The camera settings I used did result in some under-exposed images but given the subject matter this did not concern me at all as I could adjust them in post if needed. If you visit my photography blog you will find an article on ISO Sensitivity under the Photography Fundamentals tab that explains things in more detail. There is likely an article on this subject on Photography Life as well.
A truly special Christmas gift in the relating of how Christmas and family memories mix together at this unique time of year. So touching of how this family coped with loss and grief and yet made something truly positive for themselves and their town. So inspirational for all of us. Merry Christmas to you Thomas. Thanks for your articles that I have enjoyed in 2015 and I look forward to more in the coming year.
Thank you for the positive comment Leslie – much appreciated! The best of the season to you and those you love!
Wonderful story and photos Tom. This article reminds me of my uncle who lives in grimsby england
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Wonderful story and marvelous pictures. They go perfectly together.
Thanks for the positive comment Don!
What a poignant photo essay, I felt it in my chest and my moistened eyes. My wife and I have three daughters, the youngest was born the same year as Christina, 36 now with kids of her own. Life is fragile, we cannot what tomorrow will bring or if we will be here. May God bless the Pauls and give them strength. Thanks for using your talents to tell this story Thomas.
Thank you Dan! I’m sure that Uby and Cindy will appreciate your supportive wishes!
Photographs are very often the most powerful way to tell a story. You’ve certainly proved that point here. Inspiring stuff.
Thank you for the kind words, Christobella!
Absolutely Lovely Pictures and Story. Made my day and made me look forward to Christmas Eve with more excitement. Thank You. God Bless The Paul’s. Cheers to You too.
Thank you very much Peter! I’m sure Uby and Cindy will appreciate your blessing.
Awesome photos and very nice reflection of what is truly important at this time of the year. Opportune time to remember those we love and enjoy the time with those still with us.
I hope the ones you love are with you for many years to come Glenn!
A touching story Thomas about the great residents of our hometown! Thank you for sharing this, I’ll be sure to take my kids by and explain the significance of it.
You’re welcome Gavin! Give your kids a special hug this evening.
Terrific photos and story Thomas! Thanks for sharing. Have a Merry Christmas!
All the best to you and those you love Ralph!