Chicago's Morton Arboretum (located in Lisle, Illinois) introduced Illumination during the 2013 holiday season. This year was my first opportunity to see it. There aren't enough superlatives to describe Tree Lights.
Magical. Captivating. Enchanting!
I went straight from the airport over to Illumination, and decided even before I left the grounds at the end of the evening that I'd be returning again during my week's stay in Chicago. Fortunately, I'd anticipated this possibility when planning my shot list a few weeks prior and kept a slot open for just this purpose. :)
What may not be obvious from the still photos is that these scenes are constantly changing. The color palettes shift. The lights move. It was easy to stand and watch a display for 20 minutes to see how it changed. And since I was there working with my camera, 20 minutes in one spot was a drop in the bucket! The changing hues (sometimes quite rapidly) made it challenging to shoot as the color temperatures varied wildly - but I was up for it, and this was part of the fun.
On the day of my second visit, the nominal snow which had been forecast turned into 6-8 inches. And it was wet. This made the trip to Lisle a little more interesting than I cared for, but some white knuckle driving was a small price to pay for what I was about to witness. Already magnificent when I was there four days earlier, the light dancing off trees now coated with thick snow transformed the place into a true winter wonderland. It continued to snow lightly for the first two hours, which enhanced the spotlights as they lit snowflakes falling from the sky. Consequently, the beams of light shining skyward became an integral part of many compositions.
Illumination continues through January 2nd. If you live in Chicago and haven't seen it yet, or will be in the area over the holidays, I urge you to go!