Even for heathens, hanging Christmas tree ornaments can be a multi-decade tradition. For this week's Shooting Challenge, I asked you to not only take some photos, but share the stories behind the ornaments that only you're allowed to hang.

WINNER: Babys and Bokeh, The Ultimate Combo

I'm not normally a sentimental holiday guy, but since we had a baby this year, I thought the "Baby's First Christmas" ornament made a good subject for this contest. I had been meaning to play around with background layering in photoshop from a previous challenge, so I killed two birds with this shot. The ornament was hung from the chandelier with our tree in the background, and I used PS to erase the ugly string it was hanging from. Canon T2i, 85mm @f/1.8, ISO 800, 1/80s.
- Christopher Shaw


Sorry Macaroni

My favorite ornament changes its appearance every year. I've got a bunch of amazing old macaroni ornaments my children have made, and I love them. But I'd rather focus on the here and now. Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with a 30 year old Hexanon 35-70mm f/4 lens at 70mm and f/4. 1/250 sec and ISO 5000.
- David Lee

Sci-Fi Keepsakes

When I was younger, Hallmark introduced their first ornaments that plug in, light up, and make sound. And they started doing them with all manner of spacecraft. Given my affinity for space travel, I was hooked. For many years, I have collected many of them. Star Trek, Star Wars, and NASA are all represented on a specific tree made just for them. One thing I enjoy doing is turning on the tree every night and hearing the voices of Spock, John Glenn, and Darth Vader sounding off simultaneously. For this particular photo, I chose to group together my 3 favorite Star Trek ornaments. While not directly from any one scene of a movie, I was going for the ominous setup of Kirk and Picard standing by while a Klingon bird of prey looms over them, having just turned off its cloaking device. After all, what makes for better holiday cheer than a tense situation in the Neutral Zone?? Sony Alpha A77, SAL1650 (16mm-50mm, f2.8), f5.6, 1/10s, ISO 400
- Matt Tipper


Irish Angel

I love Christmas so I wasn't sure which of the multitude of ornaments I would choose. I took many shots but I opted for this "Irish angel" that my mom made 30 or so years ago. We have lots of ornaments on the tree, many store bought or received as gifts but the most special are the ornaments handmade by my family. Merry Christmas. Tech info: Canon EOS REBEL T1i, 1/2 shutter speed, f/5.6, 18-55mm zoom, ISO 800
- Matthew Johnson


Snowflake Bokeh

Not to much of a story behind this one. I was playing with a cutout to make some shaped bokeh and thought this shot turned out pretty nicely. Happy Holidays to all. Nikon D300, 1/40s, f/4.5, ISO 200
- Jeff Gamble


StarBrite Retro

This ornament is part of a set of 9 that look just like it. A couple of years ago it was the first Christmas after my mother had passed unexpectedly and I wasn't particularly in the holiday spirit. I was in a store that had all these StarBrite retro looking ornaments and I became entranced by them as they reminded me of the ones we hung on our tree as children—the sparkly glass, the glitter, the neat oval concave front—and all those memories came flooding back to me of Christmases past. I picked up the box and knew then it would be better to celebrate her memory instead of being maudlin and remember the good times we had as a family during the holiday she loved the most. They are now part of my own treasured collection. Shot with my Nikon D3000, had the ISO set at 800 50mm f/5.6 using my 18-55mm lens.
- B. Austin Wallace


Trains and Charlie Brown

My wife bought the teddy-bear ornament for my son's first birthday 11 years ago in 2001. It's hung on the small charlie-brown trees we had back then and still looks just as new now as it did then thatnks to careful re-wrapping each year. Sony A65v w/50mm F1.4 lens
- Marvin Francois


Qing Dynasty Ornament

Pretty simple shot. I'm sure many will use bokeh, but I didn't have any other ideas, so I did as well. As for the ornament itself, it's not so simple. It is actually hand-painted on the inside through a hole in the top of it. This style originated in China during the Qing Dynasty and no two ornaments are alike. Nikon D7000 – f/1.8 – 1/60 sec. exposure – ISO-1000
- Spencer Lund



This ornament is meant to represent my girlfriend's daughter, my girlfriend and me in snowman form. It was bought for her daughter as a gift and is a special ornament to us.


I shot this with a canon 5dmk2, 50mm f8 ISO 320 1.6 secs with a off camera flash on 1/128th power about 6 feet away off to the right side.
- Nate Cantrell


Christmas Through the Lens

I recently acquired a Nikon F body and am in process of locating original viewfinders for it, one of which is the waist level viewfinder. Although I am still awaiting delivery of this viewfinder I was able to replicate the look by removing the standard viewfinder. The ornament I photographed is a UK phone booth, this is one of my wife and I's favorite ornaments. Nikon D7000, Nikon 60mm F/2,8 Macro, Nikon SB600 (Camera Left), Nikon F w/ viewfinder removed. Nikon 50mm F/2, 1/200sec at ISO 100 at 60mm f/3.2
- Adam Nimmo


Thanks to all the entries this week! With the upcoming holiday, we'll be taking two weeks off Shooting Challenges for you to celebrate in proper fashion. When you return, be ready. You'll have a lot of work to do. Until then, see the full gallery below, and the big shots on flickr.

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